Chicken Breed Focus - Penedesenca

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Penedesencas are a rare breed of chicken native to the Spanish region of Catalonia. Originally, it was bred based on local barnyard chickens in the first half of the 20th century. Almost extinct in the 1980s, the original black Penedesenca was revived and other color varieties developed.

Penedesencas produce some of the darkest eggs in the world. Pullets lay dark eggs nearly black in their first year. When Penedesenca hens reach the end of the first season, their eggs turn lighter with a reddish-brown hue. Although they lay a fair amount of eggs (around 140 to 160 eggs per year), they don't generally brood.

A Penedesenca has red earlobes and a carnation comb, which is an unusual comb. The rear of their comb consists of several lobes, which differs from the single comb common to many other species of birds. Dark slate-colored legs are original, but a great variety of brighter colors have been developed since.

Among the standardized color variants of the Penedesenca are black, crele, partridge, and wheaten. The black color is the only one that is used as a dual-purpose chicken, and it is the heaviest. All other color varieties are developed specifically for egg production. A Crele Penedesenca chick's sex can be determined by the color of the chick at one day of age, as they are autosexing birds. Typically, Crele cockerels are gray, while pullets are brown.

Breed Purpose: Layer
Breed Temperament: Flighty
Breed Size: Large
Broodiness: Seldom
Comb: Carnation Comb
Climate Tolerance: All Climates
Egg Color: Dark Brown
Egg Size: Medium
Egg Productivity: Medium
Rarity: Rare

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pic by @ChickenCanoe

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pic by @maldojas

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pic by @ronott1

BYC Breed Reviews:

https://www.backyardchickens.com/reviews/penedesenca.11391/

Do you own Penedesencas? Are you a Penedesenca breeder? If so, please reply to this thread with your thoughts and experiences, including:

· What made you decide to get this breed?
· Do you own them for fun? Breeding? Some other purpose?
· What are your favorite characteristics about this breed?
· Post some pics of your birds; male/female, chicks, eggs, etc!

We have a bunch of other awesome breed-focus threads for you to enjoy. You can see all of them here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/chicken-breed-focus-project.975504/
 
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Thanks for this! Great addition to the list of breeds in focus.
Among the standardized color variants of the Penedesenca are black, crele, green, and wheaten.
A green variety? I don't think I've ever seen a green chicken of any breed, so that must be something really special. There's definitely Partridge variety too, though I don't know if that's standardised as yet.
 
Thanks for this! Great addition to the list of breeds in focus.

A green variety? I don't think I've ever seen a green chicken of any breed, so that must be something really special. There's definitely Partridge variety too, though I don't know if that's standardised as yet.
Thank you @Perris - that must've been an autocorrect error. I've fixed it now! :highfive:
 
I have some Penedesenca chicks, currently 10 weeks old, so have limited experience of them as yet.

I managed to get hold of some by a rather circuitous route: I engaged with one of ChickenCanoe's posts about hatching eggs being available, and somebody this side of the pond spotted it and let me know when she had hatching eggs, and then she hung on till I had a broody on hand. My style of chicken-keeping needs breeds that do well free-ranging from dawn till dusk, so birds that are predator aware (aka flighty) and good foragers, and I also want to help to preserve the genes of rare breeds. The dark eggs will help knowing who's laid what, as most of my current flock lay tinted/ivory/offwhite/white coloured eggs. The eggs were laid and set beginning of June, which is relatively far on in the season, so I expect their eggs, when they begin to lay, to be a bit darker. Two had pink blooms.
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Seven were set under the broody, six hatched (no.5 quit about day 5), and 2.5 months later we still have six chicks, despite the efforts of several birds of prey and at least one fox, so predator awareness and evasion are indeed good from hatch (It must help that they have an excellent broody, who even had a kestrel on its back trying to defend itself, after a misjudged attempt to snatch one of her chicks.) They are also very good foragers from the go; one of the pullets takes hardly any supplied feed, preferring to find her own from the environment. One of the cockerels has been pushy from 3 weeks old, and it remains to be seen whether or not he grows up to fit in here; he has 3 good role models to learn from and there are plenty of mature hens that will discipline him. His brothers are well behaved.

They looked almost identical at hatch, so it seems an auto-sexing trait do
m v f Pennies @5.5 weeks.jpg
esn't exist for the partridge variety. 3 soon developed bigger combs and were obviously slower feathering (this photo was at 5.5. weeks), and now they are almost fully feathered out we can confirm the statistically likely split 50:50 boys and girls.
 
I have one Crele Penedesenca, and we purchased her just for fun. Her name is Winona, and she is a year old. She has gone broody at least twice, but we have not allowed her to hatch any chicks. She can be a bit flighty, but for the most part, she is pretty calm. She lays reddish-brown eggs that, for some reason, always have “scratchy” looking marks on them.

Her at two months:
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Her now:
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Her eggs:
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I have thought about that breed, I am getting a couple more dark egg layers in May. BCM, and Welsummer. I have had a Welsummer that laid a very dark brown, not just spotty. Below is my current welsummer, and a blue copper maran eggs. Plus others... I hatched out some of these with a EE. I look forward to their eggs.
grae.PNG
 
Hello Penedesenca peeps! I was wondering if anyone has pics of their 3-5 week old Pene chicks they'd be willing to show off especially with a note of what sex they turned out to be. I am new to Penes and my little one is giving me pause with its comb development so I'd like to get an idea on what's normal for a pullet or cockerel since they are a larger combed chicken.
 
Hello Penedesenca peeps! I was wondering if anyone has pics of their 3-5 week old Pene chicks they'd be willing to show off especially with a note of what sex they turned out to be. I am new to Penes and my little one is giving me pause with its comb development so I'd like to get an idea on what's normal for a pullet or cockerel since they are a larger combed chicken.
Post 4 above shows one of each at 5 weeks.
 
Hello there! I have had Penedesencas twice. First time around did not enjoy them as they were flighty ladies! Second time around I had a game plan and understood the breed better.
I am Samantha at Cross B Hens N Heifers. I brought Penedesencas into my breeding line up as I am looking to preserve and make a difference for the breed. So many people are interested in dark egg layers and Black Copper Marans are most peoples go to. (Top Egg in Picture) but Penedesencas are a great alternative! First Penedesenca variety I brought in, is the Crele. This allows me to let particular customers in my local city environment to get sexed pullets at hatch, that will lay a dark brown egg. (Penedesenca eggs are the 3 below the top egg). I am excited to bring in Black and Partridge and put a breeding program around them as well.
 

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