Many factors come to play when setting out to raise a flock of backyard chickens successfully. First, you have to be committed. You won’t go as far as you want with raising chickens if all you do is a half-hearted attempt.
Chickens are fragile creatures that need your 100% to produce what you want them to. Asides from commitment, you need the right knowledge. You don’t have to waste time or resources before you get it right.
If you know what to do, every attempt at raising chickens will be successful. Finally, raise breeds you love. This also determines how committed you’ll be to your flock. The Penedesenca Chicken is one of such breeds you’ll love to raise. Below is more information about the Penedes chicken.
This article will cover
- Brief Background Of The Penedesenca Chicken
- Breed Standard And Appearance
- What To Know About The Temperament Of The Penedesenca Chicken
- Are Penedesencas Good At Laying Eggs?
- How Is The Health Of The Penedesenca Chickens?
- 3 Things To Look Out For When Raising Penedesencas
Brief Background Of The Penedesenca Chicken
Penedesenca chickens originated from Catalonia district, Spain. They were local breeds, first discovered in 1921. However, the neighborhood became crowded with foreign chicken breeds such that the Penedesenca chickens started becoming extinct.
Farmers focused on raising the imported chicken breeds instead at the detriment of the local breeds. However, in 1933, the Penedes breed became popular again because chicken breeders had started raising the species again. This wasn’t for long as the breed became extinct again with the advent of the Spanish Civil War.
However, in the 1980s, a Spanish biologist, Antonio Jorda, started working with the government to bring the Penedes chickens into public view again. Before this, he had bought some eggs laid by the Penedes chickens at a local market and was fascinated by what he saw.
He became more intrigued when he saw the chickens. He began to actively raise them until local chicken breeders joined him, and gradually, the breed took over the district.
Soon, the Penedes breed rose to international significance and became imported to other countries such as the United States. The Penedesenca chickens are still a rare breed but have become well-known because of their uniqueness. However, they’ve yet to be recognized by the American Poultry Association.
Penedesenca Chicken Overview
|Egg color||Dark red-brown|
|Egg size||Medium to large|
|Egg production per year||About 200|
|Comb type||Single comb|
|Egg production||About 4 eggs/week|
|Chicken skin color||White|
|Life span||5-8 years|
|Adult weight (hen/rooster)||Hen: 4.5 lbs/Rooster: 5-6 lbs|
Breed Standard And Appearance
One of the reasons for the comeback of the Penedesenca chickens is their unique appearance. For instance, they have single combs, but the combs spread out at the rear, unlike other chickens.
This type of comb is referred to as a king’s comb. Besides, their earlobes are either red or white with red wattles. The Penedes breed has 4 varieties – Crele, Partridge, Wheaten, and Black. They are usually small-sized with dark brown-colored iris and black edges around their eyes.
While all the varieties have these physical features, they also have some differences. For example, the Wheaten variety has light-colored toes and shanks, with dark-colored beaks for the cocks and light-colored beaks for the hens.
The Black type has a dark-colored hornbeak, toes and legs, and the standard plumage. Partridge Penedesencas come with blue toes and shanks as well as dark-colored horn beaks. Sometimes, they have green feathers too. The Crele variety, also known as Gall des Penedes, is a dual-purpose chicken.
However, they aren’t as popular as the other varieties because they were last developed. Generally, the roosters’ weight falls between 5 – 6 pounds, while the hens weigh 4.5 pounds. Therefore, Penedesencas are medium-sized, but the Black variety is usually heavier.
What To Know About The Temperament Of The Penedesenca Chicken
Penedesencas are possibly one of the most flighty birds you can ever raise. As such, they are very active and wary of the company. For instance, they aren’t the type of birds you’ll put on your laps or like to be around untrained people.
The hens run away at the sight of children, but the roosters might try to attack them. As much as possible, they want to be left on their own. However, you can enjoy a somewhat close relationship with them if you’ve been raising them from chicks.
In addition, this chicken breed doesn’t do well with confinement. They get frustrated easily when they feel like they are suffocated in a place. You need to provide them enough space to forage; therefore, your backyard has to be large enough.
They usually get most of their food from foraging if they are allowed. Penedesencas are naturally aggressive, so don’t be surprised if they don’t get along well with other chickens. However, you can reduce their aggression. Ensuring they’re not confined is one of the ways to do this.
As regards predators, they are always on the alert. Their flightiness makes them evade predators easily. Either they need to roost in trees or run as fast as their long legs can carry them, they are ever ready. They aren’t also afraid to fight their predators.
Are Penedesencas Good At Laying Eggs?
The rule of thumb in the poultry world is that birds with white earlobes should only lay white eggs, but the Penedes chicken breed is an exception. The chickens lay medium or large dark red-brown eggs.
The egg color is part of what makes up their uniqueness. Since they lay about 4 eggs per week, you’re likely to get about 200 eggs from each hen. If you want more, bigger eggs, then have more Penedesencas in your flock.
Despite their flighty and aggressive nature, they are broody. You’ll find them sitting on their eggs most times. As such, you should collect the eggs as soon as they start laying. To their chicks, Penedesencas are good mothers. They pay attention to everything the young ones do and protect them at all costs.
To enhance their egg production, ensure you don’t put them in confinement. Penedes chickens are free-range birds, so let them be free. Confinement makes them anxious, which isn’t suitable for egg-laying. It also tends towards cannibalism, you surely don’t want your chickens turning on themselves.
The Black, Wheaten, and Partridge varieties are layer breeds and not suitable for meat as their carcass is usually small-sized. However, you can get the Crele variety, which is specifically developed for meat and eggs.
How Is The Health Of The Penedesenca Chickens?
Under the right conditions, the Penedes chickens live up to 5 – 8 years, and even more sometimes. They don’t have any specific health issues, so you can rest assured you’ll achieve your purpose of raising them.
However, it is crucial to keep an eye on them. Being healthy doesn’t mean they can’t be victims of common poultry diseases like Marek’s diseases, etc. Since they are heat-tolerant birds, they do well in hot seasons but need extra care and attention during winter. For example, their large combs usually get frostbitten.
Preventing Penedesencas from frostbite is very simple. Ensure the temperature of the coop is standard that is, lukewarm. Also, don’t expose your birds for long during winter and put them in a well-ventilated space.
As soon as you see frostbite symptoms, treat your chickens immediately. Frostbite reduces the reproductive abilities of your chickens and mutilates their body parts. In addition, vaccinate your flock when necessary, especially when there’s an outbreak of any poultry disease in your locality.
If you notice anything unusual with your birds, get a professional to check them immediately. Even though they don’t require much attention and do well by themselves, ensure you don’t forsake your flock and give them your 100%.
3 Things To Look Out For When Raising Penedesencas
Since they have no special conditions, raising Penedesencas isn’t difficult. They do well with little resources as they love to forage for their food themselves. Below are some things to consider when growing Penedesencas.
As mentioned earlier, the Penedes chickens are free-range birds who will likely get most of what they eat from foraging in your backyard. As such, your backyard should be big enough to allow them to go as far as they want.
However, their chicks need to be placed on a starter diet to help jumpstart their growth for about 16 weeks. After, you can place them off the regular feed with occasional treats. Penedesencas are naturally small-sized, so don’t expect them to grow as big as other chickens. Their small size doesn’t mean they’re malnourished; instead, it even helps to keep them ventilated.
Even though these chickens are wary of predators and evade them easily, this doesn’t mean you should be careless with their housing. You don’t want them to keep fighting predators until they become prey.
Ensure the environment is safe for them when foraging. Block every outlet that predators might likely pass through. Be on the lookout for possible predators in the environment too. Seek help when matters get beyond your control.
Before you raise any chicken breed, check out the rules of where you stay. If you’re in a residential area that demands absolutely no noise, you might not be able to successfully raise Penedesencas as they’re vocal and can be very loud. You’d hear their voices all over the place at the sight of a bit of disturbance. In short, you might become your neighbor’s enemy if you aren’t careful.
Penedesencas are rare birds, and as such, their products are in demand. Ensure you get the pure breed so that raising your flock can be very profitable. For example, many families love the dark red-brown eggs they lay, which means many potential buyers.
Some Penedesenca chicken Hatcheries
Penedesencas should be in your flock if you’re looking to raise alert, beautiful, and prolific egg-laying birds. Even though their temperament might make it difficult for you to build a close relationship with them at first, they’ll become used to you when you keep paying attention to them.
Also, raising them from chicks helps curb their aggressiveness towards you and other people. However, don’t leave unfamiliar faces in their company, especially kids.
Raising Penedesencas is also an advantage for you as they are scarce. If you know how to market your poultry products, their dark red-brown eggs can become a significant source of profit for you. In addition, you’ll be doing your bit in preserving a rare chicken breed.
Joseph Hudson has been raising chickens for over 15 years. In 2018, he completed the Agriculture & Natural Resources program at Mt. San Antonio College. He currently raises over 1400 chickens on his 7.5-hectare farm. He keeps sharing his experience on raising healthy and happy chickens on Chicken Scratch.