The Penedesenca chicken, a stunning Spanish breed renowned for laying some of the world’s darkest brown eggs, has a remarkable story of survival.
- History of the Penedesenca Chicken
- Physical Characteristics Of A Penedesenca Chicken
- Reasons To Own Penedesenca Chickens
- Caring For Your Penedesenca Chickens
- Penedesenca Chicken FAQs
Penedesenca chickens lay deep, dark reddish-brown eggs, often described as terracotta in color. They are among the darkest brown eggs laid by any chicken breed.
While Penedesenca chickens are primarily known for their unique egg coloration, they can also be raised for meat. However, it’s important to note that they are considered a smaller-sized breed, so their meat yield might be relatively modest compared to specifically bred meat chickens.
Many people choose to keep Penedesenca chickens primarily for their beautiful eggs.
History of the Penedesenca Chicken
Penedesenca were once on the verge of extinction due to the Spanish Civil War and World War II. And these chickens were presumed lost until Antonio Jorda, a Spanish veterinarian, rediscovered them in the early 1980s.
Working diligently to standardize and revive the breed, Jorda successfully increased their population to nearly 300 birds.
In 2001, the first Penedesenca chickens made their way to the United States, adding to the rarity and intrigue surrounding these captivating birds, which remain uncommon even in their native Spain. However, their unique qualities capture the attention and admiration of chicken enthusiasts worldwide.
Notably, Penedesencas lay eggs of an extraordinary depth—deep, dark reddish-brown, reminiscent of terracotta.
This distinguishing feature sets them apart and adds to their allure. It’s no wonder that these Spanish chickens are a source of fascination and joy for those fortunate enough to experience their exceptional eggs.
It’s worth noting that Penedesenca chicks are closely related to Empordanesa chicks, further enhancing this breed’s historical and genetic significance. The shared heritage between these two breeds adds an additional layer of interest for poultry enthusiasts and researchers alike.
The revival of the Penedesenca chicken is a testament to the passion and dedication of those who recognize the value of preserving our agricultural heritage.
With their rich history, captivating appearance, and unparalleled egg coloration, the Penedesenca chickens continue to make a remarkable impact, captivating hearts and captivating those who appreciate their unique qualities.
Physical Characteristics Of A Penedesenca Chicken
Penedesencas are lovely hens. There are many unique things about them- you could say they are a rule breaker!
They aren’t considered long-tailed chicken but have long tail feathers that fan out.
They also have unique combs. Their combs start as a single comb and as it moves back, it breaks into several lobes that look like a crown. This type of comb is called a carnation comb, kings comb or a Clavell comb.
Rooster combs stand up, but hen combs can lay to one side, much like a flower tucked in their ear.
Penedesencas also have white earlobes but don’t lay white eggs. They are the only breed of white earlobed chickens that lays brown eggs.
They have bare, blue legs and four toes. Their body sports an upright body with a long curving back. Their eyes are black. They have large, red pendulous waddles.
Penedesencas were admitted into the Spanish Standard in 1946 in the black variety. They are not accepted as a breed in the American Poultry Association. There are several colors: wheaten, partridge, and crele also accepted in the Spanish Standard. The black variety is a dual purpose bird called Gall del Penedes. Wheaten and Partridge lay the darkest eggs generally.
They live for six years.
Reasons To Own Penedesenca Chickens
The most popular reason people love Penedesenca chickens is because of the lovely dark brown eggs. But, that isn’t the only reason they are raised. They are also loved for their fine table meat.
In Spain, a Penedesenca rooster commands $50 at the market!
Roosters will grow to about 5-6.5 lbs (2.3-3 kgs). Hens grow to 3.7-5 lbs (1.7-2.3 kgs).
Hens lay 3-4 dark brown, medium eggs a week. That’s about 140-160 eggs a year. They stop laying in the winter, but the eggs are very striking when they lay again in the spring. As summer progresses, the eggs will lighten in color.
Mothers are not usually broody.
Caring For Your Penedesenca Chickens
Penedesenca chickens are very active and they need a lot of space. They are wonderful foragers. They will find most of their food foraging and usually only need additional food during winter.
They don’t do very well in the cold weather but excel in the heat. They are possibly the best heat-resistant of all the chicken breeds.
Penedesencas are very predator smart. They aren’t as likely to get picked off by a hawk or other predator. This might be because they are always suspicious of danger.
Even if you have treats, they act as if you are out to harm them. They almost always avoid human contact but can become more mellow with regular contact from a young age. They rarely get very tame.
Penedesencas are not tolerant of confinement.
They are very rare in the U.S. but some breeders sell the breed.
|Hot||Active, Distant||Eggs & Meat||M: 6.5 lbs
F: 5 lbs
- Extremely Heat Hardy
- Dual Purpose Bird
- Extremely Dark Eggs
Penedesenca Chicken FAQs
Do Penedesenca chickens require any specific care or special considerations?
Penedesenca chickens are relatively hardy and low-maintenance. They adapt well to different climates and tolerate heat better than other chicken breeds. Providing them with a suitable coop, regular access to fresh water and quality feed, and adequate protection from predators are the primary requirements for their well-being.
Are Penedesenca chickens good foragers?
Penedesenca chickens have a natural inclination for foraging. They enjoy exploring their surroundings, scratching the ground for insects, and pecking at vegetation. Allowing them access to a spacious and safe outdoor area can enhance their well-being and provide them with opportunities for natural foraging behavior.
Can Penedesenca chickens be kept with other chicken breeds?
Penedesenca chickens can be kept alongside other chicken breeds without any significant issues. They are generally peaceful and get along well with different breeds. However, as with introducing any new chickens to an existing flock, it’s important to gradually introduce them and monitor their interactions to ensure harmony and minimize potential conflicts.
Where can I find Penedesenca chickens for sale?
Finding Penedesenca chickens for sale might require some effort due to their rarity. It’s recommended to contact reputable breeders specializing in rare chicken breeds or poultry associations with connections to breeders or available stock. Online platforms and forums dedicated to poultry enthusiasts may also provide leads on acquiring Penedesenca chickens.
My Favorite Chicken and Duck Supplies
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Manna Pro Oyster Shell keeps eggs strong. Before I gave my chickens oyster shell, I had the oddest eggs, many with weak and irregular shells. Now, I don’t have an issue.
Layer Feed by Manna Pro. I like pellets rather than crumbles as my chickens eat them better and less gets wasted or scavenged by rodents. A good layer feed makes the difference in hens laying many more eggs.
My chickens love this mealworm treat, which gives added protein, something that’s great during molting and winter months.
There are many ways to feed and water your chickens. I like this food and water setup the best because it reduces waste, saves me time feeding and watering, and keeps the food fresh longer. Except, in the winter, I use a heated waterer. The only problem is the heated waterers need to be replaced every few years.
I love this chicken veggie hanger. It makes it easy to give your chickens produce from the garden and keep them occupied in the winter with a fresh head of lettuce.
These chicken toys are a hoot! They will help curb bullying and keep your chickens active, especially in the winter when hens tend to get more lethargic.
Penedesenca chickens are harder to find and you won’t find them at the local farm supply store. But, the extra effort is worth it. They make a delightful addition to any flock. You might also check out the Welsummer Chickens– another great chicken that lays rich brown egg.