Basque Hens?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Groundhighchickenguy, Apr 13, 2011.

  1. Groundhighchickenguy

    Groundhighchickenguy Out Of The Brooder

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    Ooltewah
    I'm posting again because I didn't get many responces to why there is no information what so ever on the Basque Hens. Does anybody got any clue to why?
     
  2. Picco

    Picco Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chicken breeds here in the US (sorry for being US-centric) are a big deal, but in the Old World virtually every region, and to some extent, village has its own particular chicken breed/type. People in those areas may remain loyal to a particular local breed but the excitement over rarity just isn't as strong as there is so much chicken diversity. Unless there is a particular person in the breed's homeland that takes an interest in its promotion its likely that there wont be a lot of info on it.

    I used to raise Penedesencas so I know a bit about the obscure Spanish breeds and finding info on them can be difficult, especially in English. Luckily for the Penedesenca there was a sense of urgency in its homeland to preserve the breed and so there is a fare amount of information available online. That may also have to do with the breed being found in the US as well.

    The trouble with finding info on breeds from the autonomous regions of Spain (Pais Vasco, Catalonia...) is that there are all sorts of issues with Spanish nationalism and that some of these breeds have been persecuted much like the people who raise them. If an area proudly boasts how unique its particular breed of poultry is, it can become a symbol of division which can either make it or break it as the saying goes. For the Penedesenca (from Catalonia) its looked at as regional specialty because of its unique color egg. There is actually a movement in Spain for it to get an appelation of origin, much like wine does (or the Bresse hen of France). This has helped preserve the breed. Unfortunately for the Basque hen, it may fall into obscurity as there is a lot of tension in Basque County and anything with a Basque label on it can be looked at by Spaniards as anti-Spanish, and is in danger of becoming extinct as it may not have many supporters. Hopefully it will go the way of the Penedesenca, or the Pata Negra (pig) and become somewhat of a celebrity breed and a source of pride for the country.

    I haven't heard of any Basque hens in the US and with the expense of importing them (and importing enough for genetic diversity) its likely they aren't here or are in very small numbers. If you do hear of any I would love to learn more about them.
     
  3. Buckguy20

    Buckguy20 OKIE MOSES

    Apr 13, 2007
    Choctaw Oklahoma
    Are they listed on Feathersite?
     
  4. Groundhighchickenguy

    Groundhighchickenguy Out Of The Brooder

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    Ooltewah
    Quote:There's only pictures of the Basque Hens on feathersite and that's it. I've really been trying to find out anything I can about the Basque. I guess I like a challenge. But I do think they're nice looking birds too. Ecspecially the Marrduna and Gorria Basque. The Gorria picture on feathersite looks very majestic with its stance and comb placement.
     
  5. Groundhighchickenguy

    Groundhighchickenguy Out Of The Brooder

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    Ooltewah
    Quote:Wow! Seems like you know your stuff. I've yet to have a Penedesenca that laid an egg darker than a Maran. Never had one lay anything darker than a RIR really. I've got some coming that this guy claims lays the darkest eggs ever seen. Will just have to wait and see I guess. I do like variety and preserving breeds is my passion. When you say to have enough for diversity, do you mean to have large numbers or birds from different bloodlines?
     
  6. BaskingBasques

    BaskingBasques New Egg

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  7. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    My Coop
    Hi,
    I was thinking of starting with Basque hens before I decided to go with my lovely Light Sussex. Did a bunch of research and dig up a lot of scientific info on the breed and posted it to the places where Skyline poultry chats. Euskal Oilia was resurrected by the Spanish gvernment in the 1970's from landrace barnyard fowl in the Basque region. Several noted scientists were involved and over the course of their extensive studies of the color genetics of Spanish breeds,, wrote a series of articles which are very helpful in breeding Euskal Oilia, which translates as "the Basque Hen".
    Contact Skyline Poultry (website). He got his birds from the Lavender Farm lady in Canada who got her birds from the now-defunct Canadian firm, Poultry Genetique, who originally imported them from Spain. So it's all one big happy family with a varied enough gene pool to breed at least 3 of the 4-5 colors in the breed. I am not sure of they can breed the Black and know the naked neck gene doesn't exist in the birds that Poultry Genetique imported. But they do have a very wide range of all the red, gold, and white genes in many hues.
    Anyway, there is a enthusiastic group here in the US. Skyline can tell you where they all hang out on the Net as well as here on BYC.
    Best Success,
    Karen in western PA, USA
     
  8. aboverubiesmom

    aboverubiesmom Out Of The Brooder

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    I have one Basque chick I got from a lady in La Mesa, California & I was thinking of more but choosing between them & more Swedish Flower Hens (I also have one of those from her). The Basque chick is pretty vocal & is not so happy to be held & the SWF is very calm & pleasant which is what I am looking for over some other important characteristics (lots of small children interacting with these chickens so that's why its important to me). I know it takes more than experience with one little 3 week old chick to determine whether one favors a certain breed or not, but just posting my initial experience with 2 chicks of two different heritage breeds people are showing interest in.
     
  9. aboverubiesmom

    aboverubiesmom Out Of The Brooder

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    Ooops, meant SFH in last post, not SWF, I better proofread better next time!
     
  10. Sylvester017

    Sylvester017 Overrun With Chickens

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    Very smart thinking to experiment w/ chick breeds to see what will work in ur flock. I think it VERY believable that chicks display temperament very early. We were told Dominiques are a gentle medium LF & got a chick to experiment. By 19 days we were in love w/ not just the gentleness of the breed, but her outgoing unafraid personality. She was more curious than any other chick we had & other Dom owners have expressed the same sentiments & that this trait continues into adulthood. Granted a barred fowl is not the eye candy most people look for but after having a couple nasty tempered "pretty" breeds, I'll take the Dom's qualities any day.

    At this point in my little backyard - flock temperament & smaller LF are what I look for. If I had a choice between SFH & Basque, I too would go w/ SFH. I saw Greenfire Farms youtube video & the SFH are so curious & CALM that it was demonstrated how gentle the birds were as the flock calmly followed the cameraman from one end of their pen to the other as the camera moved. Very sweet gentle birds and demonstrated on video how outgoing & calm they are. Some breeds are naturally skittish or aloof, & hang back in their pens not wanting human involvement but SFH & Doms are the opposite.

    We had to re-home 2 large aggressive hens because of the Silkies. W/ a mixed flock that includes Silkies, I don't want a heavy LF even if it had a known gentle temperament because even a gentle 7-lb LF can be tempted to bully a 2-lb Silkie as we experienced - it's one of the reasons I didn't get a sweet-natured LF Sussex who are also wonderful birds. I personally don't mix a gentle LF heavier than 5-lb in my mixed flock. Owners & breeders are claiming Basques are a friendly breed but they are too heavy for my gentle Silkies, APA Ameraucana, & Buff Leghorn (all 5-lbs & under w/ extremely gentle temperaments).
     

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