The Euskal Oiloa - Marraduna Basque is the traditional chicken of the Basque rural economy. Selective breeding of the Euskal Oiloa was begun in 1975 as part of the conservation programme for indigenous chicken breeds of the Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria, the national public agrarian research institute. The decision to seek official breed status for these birds was taken at that time. The breed standard of the Euskal Oiloa was officially approved on 15 March 2001. It is included in the official list of indigenous Spanish breeds in the royal decree of 26 December 2008, which established the national livestock breed conservation programme, where it is listed among the indigenous breeds at risk of extinction. At the end of 2013 a population of 10,872 birds was reported, all from the País Vasco.
The Euskal Oiloa is a medium-heavy breed: cocks weigh about 3.6 kg, hens about 2.5 kg. The comb is single, with five to seven well-defined points. The comb, face, wattles and earlobes are red; the earlobes are narrow and pointed. The beak is curved in the cock, less so in the hen. The legs, feet and skin are yellow.
Five colour varieties are recognized: Beltza (black), Gorria (red), Lepasoila (naked-necked, red-brown), Marraduna (golden cuckoo) and Zilarra (black-tailed white). The Lepasoila, like other naked-necked chickens, has red skin on the neck.
Euskal Oiloa - Marraduna Basque eggs
Euskal Oiloa - Marraduna Basque chick
Euskal Oiloa - Marraduna Basque hen
Euskal Oiloa - Marraduna Basque rooster
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-euskal-oiloa-marraduna-basque.1160391/
Euskal Oiloa - Marraduna Basque
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Chicken Breed Info:
Breed Purpose: Dual purpose
Comb: Single, medium
Climate Tolerance: Broad; many kept in Canada despite single comb; Ventilation/dry air recommended
General Egg Info:
Egg Productivity: 180-220 eggs a year
Egg Size: Large to Extra Large
Egg Color: Brown
Friendly, intelligent, curious; excellent foragers
Breed Colors / Varieties:
Marraduna: Barred reddish brown; most common variety in North America
Lepasoila: Naked-necked reddish-brown
All have yellow beaks and shanks, red earlobes, and an upright stance.
Selected from the Basque region of Spain's country fowl in the 1970s, the Euskal Oiloa, or literally "Basque Hen," was developed to preserve the region's genetic heritage. Basque Hens are charming; these outgoing, friendly, intelligent, and curious birds are distinct from the start. Prolific layers of extra large, shiny, brown eggs, these fantastic foragers hold their own in the barnyard or on the homestead. Dual-purpose, the roosters can weigh up to 9 pounds. Because these chickens are new to North America, they are not yet recognized by the APA but can be shown under "Mediterranean Class, Any Other Variety." A proposed standard is in development, and more information can be found at Basque Hens in North America and under the "Links" tab on this page.
Chicken Breed Photos:
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Recent User Reviews
"Overall Best Homesteading Breed"
Pros - Calm, great foragers, respectful/protective roosters, great mothers- but not overly broody, accepting of newcomers, etc. etc. etc!
Cons - Brave, too brave. (As in, not scared of any dog- no matter how many the dogs kill. And rarely scared of birds of prey)
We have had these birds for around 6 years now and LOVE this breed. We are pretty picky about the breeds we raise, but these chickens are awesome. They handle the heat and humidity of Georgia with little effort and are great, hardy foragers. They come in a variety of colors, even if they aren't all "breed standard". There is a wonderful, small group of people raising them, which makes it all the better to have them. Can't say enough good things about this breed - you're always welcome to email us with specific questions if you have some.
Pros - Cute
Cons - Make weird crying noises, scary, emotionless expression, very agressive
I am babysitting my grandmother's Basque pullet, and she scares me. I love chickens, but this girl is seriously like The Orphan crazy. She is little and cute with a buff color and a black tail (I do not know the names). I do not know if she is crazy because she was always picked on in a tiny, barren run, but I do know I do not trust her at all. She always has a completely blank look on her face, no matter what she is doing or what is going on. She does this continual, monotone crying noise that is nightmare worthy. I have bantams that make very funny noises, but this girl takes the cake for originality. She is afraid of big chickens. When she gets anywhere near a bantam chicken, her eyes glaze over and the crying noise gets higher and buzzier and quieter all at once. She zips out really fast and latches onto an eyelid or a waddle or comb, then rips and pulls in a calculated, jerky manner. This is nothing like a normal pecking order fight. When I pull her off, she looks blankly past me no matter how loud I scream in her face. Even the boys will not touch her. Ever. Even my very active game bantam cockerel moves out of her path. Dogs do not scare her, nor the dark or anything that logic tells you is scary. She is uninterested in treats. She has no friends. When a chicken just looks at her without getting close or knowing her, without her even glancing at them yet, they are already terrified of her. She does not randomly terrorize or chase anyone. It is just if they are sleeping or eating or just standing close that she sneaks up on them. She is adorable, but she acts like she is possessed or is a scary creature in a chicken's body. I am dead serious, you would agree if you just glanced at her. She has an unearthly intelligence and demeanor, like there is a world in her head she resides in all of the time.
If any of the others in this breed are like her, be very afraid. They are pretty, but once she takes this one back, I do not think I will get any.
"Great medium-sized breed. So cute and great..."
Pros - Good forager, middle of the pecking order, nice eggs, excellent camoflage, beautiful.
Cons - Can't think of a single one.
I just love these! The friendliest of mine is Carmen. She is like a little cartoon chicken. These have a slightly shortened skull so retain their sort of baby-like cuteness into adulthood. They are very curious and great chasers of bugs. Can fly but really rarely do, unless to catch a grasshopper flying by in mid-air (hilarious to watch). Fairly brave and yet still cuddly, especially on cool days, she'll ride around in my coat. Super fun addition to any flock.