- Breed Purpose:
- Dual Purpose
- Climate Tolerance:
- Egg Productivity:
- Egg Size:
- Egg Color:
- Light Brown
- Breed Temperament:
- Friendly and Docile
- Breed Colors/Varieties:
- White and Partridge, Buff Widely Bred but not Recognized
- Breed Size:
- Large Fowl and Bantam
- APA/ABA Class:
- Buy URL:
- http://www.chanteclerfanciersinternational.org/ (Look for Breeders Directory)
The Chantecler is a dual purpose Canadian breed that was developed starting around 1908 by Brother Wilfred Chatelain, in the agricultural school associated with, Cistercian Abbey in Oka, Quebec. He set out to create a tough and hardy breed that was well suited to the harsh Canadian winters, as well as being a good layer and good meat bird. The breed was introduced to the public in 1918, and became a useful breed for very cold climates. The Chantecler is notable for having a very small cushion comb and almost no wattles, making it very resistant to frostbite. Its temperament is generally calm and quiet, though young birds can be flighty. They are generally very good foragers. The hens are excellent winter layers of large brown eggs, do go broody fairly often and make good mothers. They are considered an excellent table bird.
The Chantecler is one of only two chicken breeds developed in Canada. The name Chantecler was created from the combination of the French ‘chanter,’ “to sing,” and ‘clair,’ “bright”. The original Chantecler developed by Brother Chatelain was a White bird, later Dr. J. E. Wilkinson of Alberta, Canada developed the Partridge color for a bird more suitable for keeping free range. Buff and Red among other colors have also been developed. Breeds were used in the creation of the Chantecler, including Dark Cornish, Cochins, Leghorns, Plymouth Rocks, Rhode Island Reds and Wyandottes.
Commercial breeds replaced the Chantecler over time, and by 1979 the Chantecler was no longer found in the university or commercial hatcheries and in danger of extinction. A number of small flocks persisted, and it has regained popularity in the last ten years or so, and can again be found available in a number of commercial hatcheries.
The White variety was created by brother Wilfrid, a Trappist monk, at the Oka Agricultural Institute in the Province of Quebec. It was first presented to the public in 1918 after 10 years of effort and refinement, but it was not admitted to the Standard until 1921. Four crosses were used in the production of this variety: a Dark Cornish male over a White Leghorn female and a Rhode Island Red male over a White Wyandotte female. The next season, the pullets from the first class were mated with a cockerel from the second class. Select pullets from their offspring were bred to a White Plymouth Rock male and the subsequent breedings produced the fowl as it is today.
The Partridge variety originated in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Four breeds were used in the production of this variety: Partridge Wyandotte, Partridge Cochin, Dark Cornish, and Rose Comb Brown Leghorn. Some claim Dr. Wilkinson also used Orloffs to create this new bird. It was originally named the Albertan but upon presentation to the APA for recognition they deemed it so close in character to the existing White Chantecler they classified it as another variety of Chantecler.
The Buff variety is a commonly bred and quite spectacular bird that unfortunately has not been recognized as of yet. There are many dedicated people working on it, however, so I expect we will see it in some future edition of the Standard of Perfection.
It was recognized by the APA in 1921 and is on The Livestock Conservancy's Critical list.
For more information on this breed and their owners' and breeders' experiences with them, see our breed discussion here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/chicken-breed-focus-chantecler.1076088/