The Faverolles hen comes from the eponymous town located in Eure-et-Loir. This town is also proud of it and dedicates a page of its website to this breed of hen with multiple qualities. But what exactly are the strengths of this famous breed? Can it find its place in a breeding project?
Creation of the Faverolles breed
The Faverolles breed of hens comes from the Houdan breed.
Faverolles is a town located about ten kilometers south of Houdan, a town in Yvelines considered to be an important center for poultry farming. Already known under Louis XIII in the 17th century, Houdan experienced its heyday in the 1870s. The whole of Paris was then looking for fatty and plump hens, with very tender flesh: 600,000 Houdan were sold between 1872 and 1873. The “mother” of Faverolles had plenty to seduce with hens weighing up to 5 kg. Not to mention that the proximity to the capital made the supply easier and less expensive than for poultry from Le Mans or Bresse.
It was in the 1860s that breeders created the Faverolles. But very quickly, this large hen experienced multiple crosses to remove its crest, which was considered troublesome: Brahma, Dorking, Cochin and Langshan were used in particular.
The result of these crosses? The Faverolles has the feathered legs of the Brahma, but also the color of its eggs and its robustness. She has 5 fingers like Houdan and Dorking. This hen also had a great Parisian success, alongside the Houdan, in the 1870s, especially since it tolerated confinement better.
The fame of these two hens has even spread internationally for a time.
The Faverolles standard
While the English had already defined a standard for the breed, even though it was not introduced to England until 1886, the French did not work on defining a standard until 1930. Essentially considered a hen farm which was not intended to be presented in competition, there should be no urgency.
Given the food issues in the capital, production criteria have also long predominated over aesthetic criteria. However, when it comes to fixing things, it’s aesthetics who won: the Faverolles is the hen with the “owl head”, a name inspired by his beard and his well-supplied sideburns, the latter covering his mumps. Its crest remains simple.
The Faverolles is a beautiful large hen, with a powerful and majestic silhouette. The wings are tight to the body and carried horizontally. Its tail, with short sickles, is carried in a bouquet. Its neck is of medium length.
Roosters do not have the same colors as hens and you have to be a specialist to identify that it is the same breed. The chicks can be easily sexed around the first 10-15 days thanks to a black line that appears on the wing tips of the males.
There are 3 types of Faverolles hens: the French, the English and the German which are distinguished by the color of their plumage. The English tail, however, is higher than those of the other two varieties.
La Faverolles: its many qualities and its few flaws
She is a versatile hen, hence her success!
The growth of Faverolles is rapid and its flesh is fine. She gives beautiful chickens for consumption.
These hens are also good layers, which can even lay eggs in winter. In total, you can expect 200 eggs per year. But you have to adjust the weight of the hen and her ability to lay. The more a Faverolles weighs, the less abundant it will lay. It produces large-caliber eggs, weighing about 60 g each, that are cream to light brown in color.
She is also a good mother who carefully raises her chicks.
When they are young, they are very active hens which move tirelessly over the entire surface at their disposal, in small groups generally corresponding to the brood from which they come. But this activity suddenly stops when they reach a more mature age, around 6 months, becoming unrecognizable “grannies”.
They are hens with a gentle and docile character, animals that are easily tamed. You even have to push them gently when you want to move around because they will not move quickly. This does not mean that they should be deprived of space where they can peck, scratch or eat grass as they please. An animal is always happier in freedom. In addition, a wire mesh 80 cm high will suffice because it does not fly.
Its beautiful plumage makes it an ornamental hen. But the aesthetic qualities are counterbalanced by drawbacks: these hens fear high temperatures, but also fatty soils. Indeed, because of the feathers present on the legs, the mud can more easily stick to it, which can cause the appearance of frostbite and fungi.
The plumage provided by this hen also favors the presence of parasites. However, against parasites, nothing like a sand or ash bath! We must therefore think about giving them the opportunity to roll in these subjects.
Finally, Faverolles can see their vision really reduced by their beards and barbels to the point of not eating properly. It is therefore necessary to monitor their diet closely.
It will cost you a maximum of thirty euros to acquire this hen with multiple qualities. Always compare prices and ascertain the origins of the hen before making a purchase.