Why Ayam Cemani Chickens Are So Rare

Why Ayam Cemani Chickens Are So Rare

The Ayam Cemani chicken is the “Lamborghini” of the backyard poultry world. Like the car, the Ayam Cemani (“Ayam” translates into “chicken” in Indonesian. “Cemani” is both the name of the village it is from and “completely black” in Sanskrit) is sleek, shiny, and financially out of reach for most buyers. So, what is it about the Ayam Cemani that makes it such a rare and expensive commodity? 

What Do Ayam Cemani Look Like?

These chickens are a black chicken breed. Black feathers, black beak, black legs, black tongue, black eyes, black comb. But it doesn’t stop there. This “hyperpigmentation” continues to their bones, organs, skin, and internal workings – they’re also black. Some people have incorrectly claimed that their blood is also black. It isn’t – it’s just as red as a normal chicken’s blood. 

But rather than exist as a dull or matte black, their feathers have a greenish sheen that really sparkles in sunlight. As a result, these birds are remarkably beautiful because of their coloration. They stand tall and proud, like they are always alert. With the sheen of their feathering, they are a very regal-looking bird. 

ayam cemani rooster

How did Ayam Cemani Become Black?

Ayam Cemani’s coloration comes from a pigment mutation called fibromelanosis. It is a mutation that is present in more than 25 avian breeds. It is touted as being a “complex rearrangement in the genome”, and is directly responsible for the totality of black pigmentation in the bird’s body. Essentially, fibromelanosis is the opposite of albinism; instead of the pure white resulting from a total lack of pigmentation that is albinism, Ayam Cemani become pitch black from an overabundance of pigmentation.

Where Do Ayam Cemani Come From?

Ayam Cemani are a breed of chicken that has been around for a relatively short amount of time. They are believed to be an offshoot of the Ayam Kedu breed where darker coloration was the focus. Ayam Cemani got their start on the Indonesian island of Java. 

Their peculiar coloration marked them as targets of legend, lore, and mysticism. Seldom were they eaten, or their eggs used for the dining tables. Instead, they were used in ceremonies (and still are in some areas). Their blood was considered to possess healing qualities when rubbed over the face or arms, or in conjunction with mystical recitations. With the advent of Islam as the dominant religion in Indonesia, much of this practice has fallen to the wayside, yet there are still individuals and social minorities who use these birds for mystical means. 

How Did Ayam Cemani Chickens Spread Around The World?

Were it not for Dutch chicken breeder Jan Steyerink, this remarkable bird might never have left its native Indonesia. He first imported these birds to the Netherlands in 1998. Since then, Ayam Cemani have found homes in Germany, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and the USA. They continue to be one of the rarest breeds of chicken on the planet, with a population counting only an estimated 3500. However, with more dedicated breeders devoting themselves to this unique bird, those numbers should increase in years to come. 

How Big Are Ayam Cemani? How Long Do Ayam Cemani Live?

These are medium-sized chickens. Roosters weigh about 5 to 6 pounds. Hens usually weigh between 4 and 5 pounds. The average lifespan is 6 to 8 years. 

ayam cemani chicken hen

What is the Ayam Cemani Temperament?

These are docile chickens that might start out skittish or untrusting of humans, but with enough interaction and attention, they can be very trusting. Roosters are also friendly and can even become more involved with the raising of chicks than many other roosters tend to be. Your Ayam Cemani might get bored easily, and could do with some distractions in the pen, or by making the pen large enough to give them room to explore. The hens tend to become broody, and are excellent mothers. 

Are Ayam Cemani Weather Hardy?

Coming from Indonesia, which is a very hot archipelago in the South Pacific, Ayam Cemani might be expected to be poor in colder climes. Oddly, though, they are as excellent at adapting to colder weather as they are to scorching temperatures. Part of this is because they naturally absorb sunlight and heat because of their black feathers. Another possible reason is the tightness of their feathering, which acts as a natural barrier from cold temperatures

Are Ayam Cemani Good Egg Layers?

They are alright with this job, and are capable of laying about two to three medium-sized eggs a week. They sometimes need breaks from laying, which can reduce the number of eggs you can expect from them. On average, you can expect about 80 eggs per year, though some sources claim that they might lay up to 140 eggs per year. Strangely, their pigmentation does not carry on into their eggshells, which are white, or white with a slight tint of coloring. 

Are There Any Problems That Ayam Cemani Breeders Should Be Aware Of?

impure ayam cemani

This rooster has specks of cream in his feathers and his comb isn’t pure black. He’s probably a mixed breed Ayam Cemani.

The black pigmentation is not absolute. It could be diluted through the appearance of other colors in their offspring, or through an appearance of two recessive genes (the black is dominant, and should breed true with careful attention). If, for example, one of the offspring should have a tongue that is not completely black, this bird should be removed from the breeding pool. Such potential abnormalities in a breed that mostly breeds true is a possible bother in keeping these birds. You should breed Ayam Cemani carefully so you produce the best possible – and blackest – versions.

Until now, the Ayam Cemani has not been approved by the American Poultry Association – probably in part because of the strong standard of perfection, and in part because of the relative difficulty in breeding these birds. The Ayam Cemani Breeders Association is an official breeding group founded in 2015 that is dedicated to the promotion of this bird. They are a good resource of Ayam Cemani enthusiasts that can help you raise and breed this unique chicken. 

ayam cemani chicken baby

Where To Buy Ayam Cemani?

This is perhaps the biggest challenge with regard to these striking birds. Their rarity and coloring make this one of the most challenging birds to get ahold of (at least purebred chickens – you can find diluted genes anywhere). While this breed is advertised in the locations below, stock is incredibly limited. Even worse, they carry a hefty price tag outside Indonesia. On Java, they are comparatively expensive, with a rooster costing between $45 and $70. However, this is nothing compared to the $2500 price tag initially applied to the first Ayam Cemani in the USA. Since then, the rates have declined quite substantially (this will depend on where you get them and how much you can trust whether the chickens are purebred), but they are still considered a very expensive fowl. 

When looking into these birds, you will find that availability is very limited. As a result, you might have to come back to the sites below at various times of the year. You should also check each website for its most current pricing.

  • Greenfire Farms (one of the original importers, and a trustworthy source) in Florida offers unsexed Ayam Cemani for $199.00. 
  • Cackle Hatchery in Missouri offers unsexed Ayam Cemani for $99.00.
  • Northwoods Poultry in Wisconsin offer day-olds for $45.00. 
  • Buchanan’s Barnyard in Tennessee offer one dozen Ayam Cemani eggs for $100.00

Why Buy Ayam Cemani?

This is a big question. Pound for pound, the Ayam Cemani is probably one of the most expensive chickens on Earth. This distinction alone could put off potential owners from owning one. They are not the biggest chickens on the planet, so they might not be ideal for dining purposes. They possess an average egg production, but this will not set any records. 

On the positive side, they are very docile birds that can endure and thrive in nearly any weather. Without a doubt, they will be an excellent addition to your home flocks. The real reason to splurge on one lays in the aesthetic value of the Ayam Cemani chicken. These birds are striking to behold, and will add a tremendous prestige to your flock. 

Heated Chicken Waterers

Heated Chicken Waterers

Heard heated chicken waterers can make life easier, but aren’t sure which to buy? Not even sure they’re safe? In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know!

For people like us, who raise animals out of the comforts of a heated home, cold is a serious problem. If the temperature drops too far, water freezes. While some animals can break ice – with breath and a hot tongue, or a beak – there are limits to what these resources can do. And when temperatures plummet, dehydration can be a major problem for your fur or feather babies. 

One solution – heated chicken waterers – are a simple method of providing water to your flock. Today we’ll look at the kinds of heated waterers available for our chickens. 

Our Favorite Heated Chicken Waterers On Amazon:

Do Chickens Need to Drink Water?

Oh yes, chickens absolutely drink water. It might be funny to watch them – they fill their mouths and then tip their heads back – but water is an absolutely necessary part of their daily diet. Actually, an adult chicken will drink a few cups of water per day. Get a group of 20 chickens together, and they’ll likely go through as much water per day as a cow. 

Are Heated Chicken Waterers Safe?

Mostly, yes. You need to watch out for how hot they get, and how much electricity they draw. It’s best to look at your user manual and reviews online for the specific unit you’re considering.

Are There Different Types Of Heated Chicken Waterers?

Not including home-made, there are three different types of heated chicken waterers:

Automatic Waterers 

These waterers contain a basin that has one or more openings at the base that open only when chickens use them. These are generally clean, neat, and very hygienic. Depending on the valve, these waterers also avoid dripping water and frozen puddles beneath them. However, some parts are more prone to freezing.

Gravity-Type Waterers 

These operate under the same principle as the automatic waterers, save for one major difference: the distribution method. These jugs generally are attached to an open pan (also known as a “drinker”) that your chickens will drink from. Because they are open, you run the risk of your birds contaminating the pan. The drinkers are also pretty easy to break off. 

Open Pans Or Dish-type Waterers 

These are often a pan set out over a heated base. They run the same risk of contamination as the gravity waterers, which will require more scrubbing than, say, the automatic waterers. Elevating them off the ground in the heated base will help to reduce the muddying of waters. 

What Makes The “Ideal” Heated Chicken Waterer?

This is a complicated question. There are several key elements to consider:

  • How cold does it get in your area?
  • How many chickens are in your coop?
  • What material works best for you?
  • Should it rest on the floor or be elevated? 
  • Is it durable enough or will it freeze? 

Affordability is another concern. Some options – like batteries – can cost a lot over time. Some heated chicken waterers (especially the do-it-yourself variety) could put unnecessary stress on your wallet. 

How many chickens have you got? The answer to this will determine the size of your waterer, as you don’t want to be slogging out into the cold every couple of hours to refill the water of your birds. 

In other words, the ideal waterer will completely depend on your flock. Just make sure it’s durable so in the event that the water does freeze, the container won’t rupture or break. 

Let’s further explore these questions below.

How Big Should It Be?

As previously mentioned, a flock of 20 birds will drink about as much as a cow – that’s a whole lot of water to provide. If your flock consists of fewer than 5 birds, a single 2-gallon waterer should suffice. Most single waterers range in size from about a gallon to 3 gallons. The heaters in heated chicken waterers are very adept at cooling off smaller areas, but anything larger than that could run into problems with the law thermal equilibrium, which states that temperatures will seek a balance. 

In extremely cold weather, some heaters might prove insufficient in warming large quantities of water. 

With the addition of more birds, you will probably need more heated chicken waterers. Some sources recommend having on three-gallon waterer for every 10 to 12 chickens. 

What Kinds Of Automatic Valves Are There For My Heated Chicken Waterers?

Nipples are a type of automatic valve that is fast becoming a preferred method of watering chickens on cold winter days. These are designed to not release water until your chicken pokes it with their beaks. 

Floating valves are small cups of water. When your chickens dip their beaks into the cup, they press on a floating valve that releases fresh water into the cup. This provides a constant set amount of water in this hanging waterer.

Should I Use Plastic Or Metal For My Heated Chicken Waterers?

Ultimately, that is your call. Both materials are excellent in cold weather. Plastic waterers are durable and do not break easily. Galvanized metal also holds up very well in extreme cold BUT freezes faster than plastic. Both can be found with internal or external heaters, though plastic heaters usually have the heating element in the base. 

Should I Hang My Heated Chicken Waterers Or Lay Them On The Ground?

This is an important question, that depends, in part, on what you have available in your coop or in your pen. One clear benefit of hanging waterers is you can raise it off the ground, and your chickens are less likely to roost on them (which means less poop). Elevating the water from the ground reduces the chances your flock will poop in it. 

Ground-based waterers don’t have to be messy, however. A waterer set upon a heating pad can still get that required height and also remain equally clean to hanging heated chicken waterers. 

How Often Should I Refill My Heated Chicken Waterer?

The easy answer is “Whenever they need filling.” Since most waterers can hold upwards of a couple of gallons, they have a bit of staying power. Still, you should be checking your waterers at least once every day. That way, you can top off the containers when you see they need it, and you can see if they need to be cleaned. Your chickens might have made a mess of the waterers, and you’ll want to clean them up as soon as possible. 

Are There Heated Chicken Waterers Without Electricity Needed?

Some heated chicken waterers don’t require electricity, such as solar powered heated waterers. Others include battery-powered heaters. You can read this article here for an excellent how-to that breaks down a number of means of keeping your chickens hydrated – and all without electricity!

What About Solar Heated Chicken Waterers?

The simplest solution would be to have a large black tub that is not too tall for your chickens to reach. Place this into the sunniest part of the coop, and over the course of the day, the heat from the sun might prove to be enough to keep your flock hydrated. In colder climates, however, this might not work as well, and alternative heating might be required. 

Are There Do-it-Yourself Heated Chicken Waterers?

There are a number of sources out there across the internet that offer solutions for homemade water heaters. Here’s 2 that we like:

Where to Find Heated Chicken Waterers?

You can usually find them at farm stores, like Tractor Supply. You can also find them on Amazon here:

We hope this information about heated chicken waterers helps you keep your chickens hydrated and healthy, even through the bitter chills have arrived! Stay warm!

Automatic Coop Door Install: Omlet Universal Automatic Chicken Coop Door Review

Automatic Coop Door Install: Omlet Universal Automatic Chicken Coop Door Review

For this review, we were sent a free Omlet Universal Automatic Chicken Coop Door to test. All opinions are our own and represent our own experience with this product.

 

In this article, we’ll show how we installed the Omlet Universal Automatic Chicken Coop Door in a coop we built ourselves.

 

(We reviewed the automatic coop door when it’s installed in an Omlet chicken coop here.)

 

Below are our results, how we installed it, and overall recommendations! 

 

What it is

The Omlet Universal Automatic Coop Door is a heavy-duty plastic automatic coop door, frame, motor, and programming panel unit. You can install it in your Eglu Cube or on your own chicken coop (we show you below how to install it on your own coop). If your chickens free range, you can also install the door to hardware cloth and other wire so your chickens can easily access your lawn.

 

omlet automatic chicken coop door grey

Manufacturer’s image

 

Omlet’s Universal Automatic Chicken Coop Door comes with all the necessary hardware to install it – all you’ll need is a screwdriver. The programming panel requires AA batteries.

 

The panel can be set to open and close at a specific hour, or you can use the light setting to close at dusk and open at dawn. This setting will naturally follow the seasons – no additional programming necessary. You will still need to replace batteries regularly.

 

This product retails on the Omlet website for $189.99, with free shipping.

 

Where to Buy Omlet’s Universal Automatic Chicken Coop Door

You can purchase this door on Omlet’s website here (and shipping is free – always a good thing!).

 

What the company claims

Quoted directly from the Omlet website:

  • Powered by battery
  • Can be installed in any coop
  • Easy to install, no maintenance required
  • Operated by light sensor or timer
  • Built-in safety sensors
  • Reliable in all weather conditions
  • Improves coop security and insulation

 

Installing the Omlet’s Universal Automatic Chicken Coop Door Into Our DIY Coop

We built this duck coop a while back, and were super excited to receive the Omlet’s Universal Automatic Chicken Coop Door to test! Ducks tend to have a harder time getting in and out of our coops (they can’t jump a well as chickens, and don’t have quite the same leg strength). So, we needed a safe and easy way for them to get in and out of their new home.

 

Coop security is also a big concern – while our existing coop is predator proof, we need our new coop to also protect our ducks. Unlike chickens, ducks can’t roost or fly away from predators. At the same time, especially during the summer, they can’t be locked up in their coop for hours after sunup – it’s too hot!

 

So, the Omlet Universal Automatic Coop Door is a great solution to several problems on our farm. We can program it to open and close at specific times, and our ducks can have access to their run – long before we’re awake!

 To install the Omlet’s Universal Automatic Chicken Coop Door, we used:

 

  • The door kit Omlet sent us
  • An electric screwdriver
  • A sawzall to create a door opening

 

automatic coop door

Unwrapping the door from its box

Creating a door opening

To install the door kit, you’ll first need to create a door opening (this is where your ducks will actually exit the coop). To make this super easy, just trace the door opening in the Universal Automatic Chicken Coop Door.

automatic coop door install

We used a marker to trace the size of the door

 

Then, use the sawzall to make the opening.

automatic coop door

The finished door opening:

automatic coop door

Naturally, my daughter had to “help out”

Installing the Universal Automatic Chicken Coop Door kit

The kit comes with all the hardware you’ll need. For this part, we followed the directions in the instruction manual that accompanied the door kit. They  were easy to follow – so installation only took a few minutes. 

Programming the Universal Automatic Chicken Coop Door

While the sunlight feature is a nice option, because our ducks need to be herded into the coop every night, we programmed the door to open and close at specific times so we could better plan our day. (For more information about the daylight setting, please consult Omlet’s website here).The keypad took a bit of reading the instructions and getting used to the different buttons, but once we figured it out, programming the door was a snap. 

 

automatic coop door programming panel

The programming panel. It’s weather-proof!

 

The finished install:

automatic coop door

We did it!

Does Omlet’s Automatic Coop Door live up to its claims?

Yes! This door is very easy to install in any coop, and the door operates as expected. Our ducks figured out how to use it, and we’re happy to know our ducks are safe and sound at night.

 

What we like

Door frame means easy installation with better security

We love how easy this was to install and that’s because it comes “pre-hung” with a door frame. It’s also an added safety feature: without a frame, it’s easier for predators and scavengers to maneuver around the door and enter your coop.

 

Better predator control

The door can’t easily be moved by predators. In some systems, predators like raccoons can easily lift the door. We’ve also had doors that don’t close all the way due to dirt build up. That does not seem to be the case with the Omlet Automatic Coop Door. 

 

Competitively priced

While we received this product for free to test, I would have bought it anyway. The price of $189.99 is very reasonable, and less expensive than other similar products on the market. As far as DIY coop doors go, it’s well worth the investment for some peace of mind!

 

What don’t we like

There’s nothing we really don’t like about this system. But there are some things to watch out for (read below).

 

Is it useful for chicken owners? 

Yes! Your flock will love this automatic coop door. We recommend Omlet’s Automatic Coop Door for flocks of all sizes and ages (just know that you’ll have to teach young chicks and ducklings to go into the coop before the door closes). The best part is that it automates opening and closing the coop, so you can sleep soundly at night and not worry about predators!

 

What to watch out for:

Be sure to install it on thicker wood, or have metal cutters handy

We noticed that some of the screws are very long – about 4” long. After installing the automatic door, the end of the screws were visible on the outside of the coop, which can be dangerous. To remedy this, we had to remove the extra bit.

 

Door might be a bit small for some ducks, or a mass exodus

The door opening is quite small – it’s definitely large enough for a single chicken or duck to use. Our ducks like to leave their coop in a mass exodus (meaning, all at once, preferably with lots of arguing about who will go first). It’s impossible for more than one duck to use the door at the same time. So, if your ducks are similar, be prepared for some loud, angry quacking. 

 

Do night check for stragglers

Because the door automatically closes, you’ll have to check for stragglers. Another option is to have the door close well after dark (say, 30 minutes). In areas with a lot of predators, this isn’t ideal, however, so my recommendation is to just do a night check and herd in any latecomers.

 

Summary

The Omlet Universal Automatic Coop Door is a great addition to any coop, and your flock will love it!

Can Chickens Fly? Yes….And No.

Can Chickens Fly? Yes….And No.

Wondering “can chickens fly?” Well, like most things with chickens: it depends.

 

Some chicken breeds can fly and some can’t. And even within a specific breed, some individual chickens can fly, and some cannot.

 

In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at the question “can chickens fly!”

 

What Is A Flightless Bird, Really?

Flightless birds are comparatively rare – there are only about 60 species of flightless birds on Earth. One of the most iconic of flightless birds, the ostrich, is the largest bird and can run at speeds upwards of 40 mph (64.37 kph). 

 

These massive runners live in Africa, and use their 2-inch diameter eyes to spy out threats like lions, leopards, and packs of hyenas. While it might not be clear when these incredible birds lost their ability to fly, there is evolutionary precedent for this: ostriches are ratite, which is “any bird whose sternum (breastbone) is smooth, or raftlike, because it lacks a keel to which flight muscles could be anchored. All species of ratites are thus unable to fly.” Other ratites are the emu, cassowary, rhea, and kiwi.

 

Right up there with the ostrich as the most iconic of flightless birds is the tuxedo-sporting critter: the penguin. Unlike ostriches, penguins are not ratites. They possess the keel on their sternum to which their wings attach. 

 

Whereas volant birds use their wings for flight, penguins have adapted to underwater explorations, and instead use their wings as fins that allow them to effectively navigate in the waters where their food lives. In a way, because of this adaptation, penguins might be considered volant birds that just happen to fly through a vastly different environment than most other volant birds. 

 

So where does this leave us with pet chickens?

 

Are Chickens Actually Flightless?

So, what does all this say about chickens? Your chickens have all of the right tools for flight. They (generally) have the feathers and the keel on their sternum which their wings attach to, and they certainly have the muscles for it. With all of these details, the question remains: Can chickens fly?

 

Yes, kind of. And it depends on the breed. 

 

All chickens have strong muscles, and flight is one of the few ways this species can keep safe from predators. Most breeds are capable of “burst flights”, which are quick and can carry chickens to safety within moments. At night, as you probably know, they like to fly up to their roosts, which gives them a good vantage point to see if any raccoons, dogs, etc are coming their way.

 

Since they’ve been domesticated, they’ve largely lost this ability. Why is that? 

 

Chickens are most commonly bred for two things: eggs and meat. White meat is muscle, and it’s white meat that our ancestors favored. Selective breeding for meat has maximized the size of our chickens’ chest muscles. In theory, this should make chickens fantastic fliers. In reality, however, this is counterproductive. In order to fly, birds need light bodies with muscles strong enough to carry their own weight. 

 

The ideal flier will have a lean – almost sinewy – body: one that is strong enough to propel itself off the ground and light enough to stay aloft. Sustained flight also requires endurance. Human-bred chickens seldom are bred for strength, leanness, and endurance. 

 

Unlike ostriches and penguins, modern flightless chickens are not tied to the Earth because they don’t have the muscles to fly, but because it’s been bred out of them. In other words: We have bred our birds to be too large to support much of a flying ability. The average chicken can fly for about 10 feet, and about as high off the ground.

 

Being similar in flight skills to game birds, chickens were never the greatest fliers, and lack the skills for sustained flight, but they have been known to fly for as long as 13 seconds and a distance of 301.5 feet. It might be a short flight, but it likely is plenty enough to do its job: to get the chickens away from danger. 


Which Chickens Can Fly?

Larger chicken breeds are far less likely to even hover, as the energy required for even minimal flight can be preventative, but there are a number of breeds that are more inclined to flight:

 

 

are the most commonly known fliers. 

 

They have leaner bodies, and this is better suited for the short flights attainable by chickens. Our own Leghorns love flying into trees. 

 

At night, Araucanas occasionally roost up in the trees. Originally from Switzerland, the Spitzhaubens are a flighty bird that sometimes takes that adjective literally. Thanks to their smaller size, some bantam hens can achieve high heights for roosting purposes or when spooked. 

 

Which Chickens Can’t Fly?

There are some breeds that, no matter what, simply won’t get liftoff. Either they lack the feathers, or are just too dang heavy.

 

Some breeds, such as Silkies, can’t fly at all – they simply don’t have flight feathers on their wings. To keep them safe, you have to give them a place to climb up to. Ours can get lift off of maybe 12 inches, and that’s pretty much a big jump for a silkie.

 

Our Mille Fleur bantams and Cochin bantams can’t fly either – although they have wing feathers, their wings are too small. 

 

Other chickens, such as Orpingtons or Brahmas, have been bred to be so large, they simply are too heavy to fly.  

 

How Can I Stop My Chickens from Flying?

 

A few times a week, a person in my Facebook group asks how they can stop their flock from pooping all over the neighbor’s yard. There’s some easy ways to keep your chickens from making unwanted visits.

Build a Fence

The easiest way to prevent your chickens from flying away is to build a sizable fence around your chicken coop. This will stop most birds from flying out of their homes. 

 

For the heaviest breeds, you will not need anything taller than a 4-foot fence. For the slightly less heavy – the Mediterranean breeds, for example – you might need to build a 12-foot fence. 

 

Clip Their Wings

If you want to stop a bird from flying, one more adage comes to mind: “clip their wings,” which really means to trim their feathers. 

 

When done correctly, trimming feathers is painless. Once clipped, your chicken’s feathers can’t provide the lift needed for flight.

 

Do you still wonder “can chickens fly?” How far have your own chickens flown? Leave a comment below!

 

Salmon Faverolles Chickens Owner’s Guide

Salmon Faverolles Chickens Owner’s Guide

Salmon Faverolles chickens are stunningly cute – just as much in body as in personality. Friendly, cuddly, and fluffy, they are great with children, too. 

 

Faverolles chickens come in a wide color palette, from Mahogany, Black, Buff, Blue, Blue Salmon, Cuckoo, Ermine, Laced Blue, to Splash. But only two colors are actually recognized by the American Poultry Association: White and Salmon. 

 

Any and all of these color variations possess the unique traits of the Faverolles, but it is in the Salmon that their colors really shine best. If you want to know more about the other types of Faverolles, you can click here. This article covers everything you need to know about Salmon Faverolles.

 

What are Faverolles?

Faverolles are a French chicken breed. They take their name from the French village that they were first bred in, Faverolles, which is about 50 miles northeast of Paris. There are no records of the creation of this breed, so no one knows who actually created this chicken breed, but Houdon, Brahma, Crêve-Cour, Dorking, CouCoo and Cochin have all been connected to their origins. 

 

Faverolles were first bred for the dual purpose of eggs and meat. 

 

At the time of their introduction to the markets of France, they took to close confinement better than other breeds, like the Houdan. This quickly brought them to the forefront of the poultry market, and by 1886 or 1894 (depending on your source), they found their way across the English Channel. The Faverolles were quickly developed to exhibition standards in England. 

 

They came to the USA in the first few years of the 20th Century, and settled in Glens Falls, NY, not far from the state capital of Albany. Since then, this docile breed has served Americans in three distinct ways: as food, for their eggs, and as a show breed.

 

This delightful breed are rare chickens, despite their ability to lay about 200 eggs per year and the fact that roosters can grow to 8 pounds and hens can grow to 6 pounds. 

salmon faverolles hen on white

5 Amazing Faverolles Chicken Facts

  • They have super soft and downy feathers.
  • They are a truly all-purpose breed, serving as excellent layers and lovely show chickens.
  • They are super-cuddly, sociable, and love attention and kisses. 
  • Roosters and hens are two distinct colors: with the males being a greater color mix than the two-toned females.
  • The word “Faverolles” is French. As a result of this, the tail “s” is silent, so the pronunciation of the singular and plural is both “fa-ver-ell” or “fa-ver-oll,” though an Anglicized “fa-ver-olz” isn’t unexpected. The spelling of both singular and plural is both “Faverolles”, however. 

 

What Do Salmon Faverolles Chickens Look Like?

Physically, Faverolles are quite unique. The first major difference is their toes. Most chicken breeds have 4 toes, but like Silkies, Faverolles have five toes. 

 

Faverolles also possess a beard under their beaks that adds a lovely layer of fluff to their appearance. Their wattles are tiny to non-existent, and they have feathers on their legs. 

 

What is the Color of a Salmon Faverolles Hen?

Salmon Faverolles hens have white to light caramel breasts and underbellies, but sport a splash of rich color on the hackle, back, and wing. The colors of their backs are a light pink salmon through a darker bronze. The spread of color could stretch further down the wing, or along the flank, but regardless of distribution, the two-toned quality of their coloring is always present in Salmon Faverolles hens.

 

What is the Color of a Salmon Faverolles Rooster?

Male Salmon Faverolles are almost as unique as their tufted ears and fluffy beards. Unlike the females, who possess the exquisite caramel topping on a large vanilla sundae, the males have a secret weapon: black chocolate feathers. 

 

The average Salmon Faverolles rooster has a thick black beard, breast and undercarriage. Occasionally, one might have a white beard to match his white (or cream) neck and head. The black coloring usually fills out his breast and legs, and may be separated by more white or it may just continue on through his tail. 

 

Splashes of straw or dark straw stretch across his upper wings, and spot his hackles, back and saddle. White compliments his colors; in addition to it serving as a mane around his neck, it sometimes gives a spotty reappearance along his back. Then, in a very cool touch, white serves as a peculiar triangular accent at the triangular tips of his wings. 

 

What is the Color of a Salmon Faverolles Chick?

Chicks start off as downy fluffs of yellow, but once their feathers start coming in, you’ll see the salmon coloring replacing their yellow. 

baby salmon faverolles chicken

What Other Colors Appear on a Salmon Faverolles Chicken?

Their faces, comb, and what little wattle that they have are red. If their coloring reaches their eyes, that is also red. Their single comb is medium in size with five point.

 

Faverolles have bay-colored eyes. Their skin and legs are white.  

 

How Else are Salmon Faverolles Different from Other Faverolles?

Beyond color, not very. Faverolles are famous for their curious and family-oriented personalities. These are the kinds of chickens you want to bring home to mom and are just as cuddly for children as they are for adults. Roosters are also extremely friendly, but I would still recommend keeping children either separate or very well-supervised. 

 

As Faverolles were originally bred for meat and eggs, Salmon Faverolles are an excellent source for meals. Their eggs are cream-colored and medium-sized like the eggs of other color varieties. 

 

Salmon Faverolles are amazing birds that will bring you great humor, laughter, and pleasure. They are a medium-sized bird that does have some minor health worries, but these are easily managed with frequent checks.

 

By being the most popular Faverolles chicken breed in the USA, finding them isn’t too extreme a chore. 

 

Can I Buy Salmon Faverolles Chicks? Where are Salmon Faverolles Chicks for Sale?

  • Purely Poultry, out of Fremont, WI, offers a supply of female, male, and non-sexed Salmon Faverolles. 
  • From Rudd, IA, day-old males, females, and unsexed Salmon Faverolles are available at various times of the year. 
  • There are also periodic supplies of Salmon Faverolles at My Pet Chicken in Monroe, CT. 

 

Where Can I Buy Salmon Faverolles Chickens?

  • Seasonally, from February to July, you can find Salmon Faverolles at Cackle Hatchery in Lebanon, MO. 
  • Meyer Hatchery in Folk, Ohio, also has seasonal supplies of Faverolles. 

 

Do you own any Salmon Faverolles chickens? Leave a comment below!

The Best Herbs For Chickens To Eat? These Are Them (Plus One For First Aid!) [Podcast]

The Best Herbs For Chickens To Eat? These Are Them (Plus One For First Aid!) [Podcast]

While a lot of herbs are great for chickens, there’s a few that I feel are the best herbs for chickens to eat.

There’s also a couple on my list that are perfect for other uses, such as first aid and as natural cleaners (make sure you grab my free reference sheet).

 

In this episode of What The Cluck?! we look at my favorite herbs for chickens to eat, as well as how to actually incorporate these herbs into your daily life with your flock. 

 

 

You’ll learn:

 

  • Which are the best herbs for chickens to eat
  • Why I recommend avoiding cinnamon
  • My favorite way to clean a chicken coop

 

Where to Buy:

herbs for hens

Chicken Farms Try Oregano As Antibiotic Substitute

Boy In Kentucky Dies From Cinnamon Inhalation

 

what herbs can chickens eat content upgrade-min

Transcript:

 

So, first let’s talk about the whys, meaning why bother being concerned about the best herbs for chickens to eat, as well as using herbs in the first place, and there’s some good reasons, as well as scientific reasons, why herbs are a good idea.

 

When it comes to chickens and their eggs, withdrawal times is a big deal, more so than with dogs and cats, for example.

 

And this is for obvious reasons, we eat eggs and we eat chicken, and many modern medicines will come out in their eggs and meat, we know this for a fact, so unless you want a mouthful of antibiotics, which I don’t think any doctor out there would recommend unless you’re sick, then withdrawal times play a really important role when making decisions for your flock.

 

Herbs, on the other hand, don’t have withdrawal times, so the advantage in certain situations is pretty clear.

 

As an aside, if you end up raising goats for their milk, for example, you can avoid wasting milk if you’re able to treat them with herbal remedies since medicines can come out in their milk.

 

But getting back to chickens, you can also use herbs to promote better laying and to get your hens to lay in their nests, if they don’t already do that. I do get questions frequently from readers and listeners whose hens won’t lay in nests, and there herbs I do recommend for that.

 

So, lets get into the best herbs for chickens to eat and how to use them!


Hens love nesting herbs!

nesting box herbs

Yes, I want to SPOIL my hens with nesting herbs!


Oregano

So we’re going to start off with my favorite herb to use in my coop, and that’s oregano. Oregano is one of the best herbs for chickens to eat and there’s a couple reasons for that.

 

Oregano is well-known for its antibacterial properties, and it’s becoming the darling of the egg industry because studies are showing that it’s more potent than antibiotics for keeping chickens healthy.

 

And these are large farms with hundreds of thousands of chickens, so disease tends to run rampant at those places just because of living conditions and overpopulation.

 

But these farms in New York State found that when they fed oregano, that their death rates and illness rates declined quite extensively.

 

And I’ll put a link in the show notes where you can read an article from the New York Times about it.

 

So, the way I like to offer oregano is dried or fresh in bunches, and the nice thing about this is that the chickens can peck at it, and it keeps them busy and not forming negative behaviors in addition to keeping them healthy.

 

Another great thing to do with oregano is to use it in their nesting boxes, and you can do this by just putting fresh leaves into the boxes themselves.

 

The hens will love the scent and it will help deter pathogens. Another nice thing is it will help keep the eggs clean because your hens will have a clean place to nest, and the scent will give them a boost and stimulate egg laying.

 

At the end of the day, happy hens lay better and if they have healthy food in their systems, like oregano, their eggs will be healthier, so offering them a nesting box with oregano leaves will help them lay better eggs.

 

So, like I said, oregano is really one of the best herbs for chickens to eat.

herbs for hens lavender

Lavender

While lavender has some antibacterial properties, and it is one of the best herbs for chickens to eat, it’s better known and better used as a calming agent.

 

So, lavender is well known to be a way to calm people and animals, and that means chickens too.

 

I like to use lavender in nesting boxes to help create a peaceful environment for chickens to lay in.

 

While it doesn’t outright promote laying, meaning you can’t feed a hen lavender and out pops an egg, you can create an environment that promotes calmness that will help your hen feel secure enough to lay.

 

Laying eggs is one of the most vulnerable times for a hen because she needs to stay still, and since hens are a prey animal, in the wild, not moving could mean death.

 

So, a hen that’s stressed or worried is not likely to lay, or at the minimum, she won’t lay a good, healthy egg.

 

So offering an environment that lets her feel safe is a great way to encourage her to lay, and if she feels secure, she’ll lay better eggs, assuming you’re also feeding her an adequate diet.

 

You can incorporate it into their feed as well, either fresh or dry, and like I said, it is one of the best herbs for chickens to eat because it does have antibacterial properties, so your hens will derive some benefit from it that way too.

 

You can also add lavender to cleaners to give them a calming scent your hens will appreciate.

 

Now when it comes to using herbs in your chicken’s nesting boxes, be sure to change them frequently so they don’t mold or breed other pathogens, especially if you use fresh herbs. Switching them out every other day or so will work well.

 

The other thing about lavender is it repels insects, and I’ve found it useful against flies, so including it in your nesting box will help repel flies, which of course, spread disease.

 

Mint

Mint is extraordinarily useful for many things when it comes to your chickens and I always keep a ton of it around the homestead. I like to use peppermint for a lot of things, and so that’s what I mostly grow, and it’s one of best herbs for chickens to eat.

 

Mint is great to put in nesting boxes along with lavender to stimulate laying, and it will create a fresh, good smelling environment for your chickens.

 

But what I really like using mint for is as a repellent. On our farm, because we have so many animals, we have a lot of flies, and I can tell you that mint is great for repelling flies.

 

I have a natural fly repellent I made here on the farm, and it works great.

 

You can read the exact recipe to make it on the blog, but to recap, you boil the herbs, I like to use both mint and lavender since both repel flies, and allow them to steep in the boiling water, just as if you were making a tea.

 

You then mix it with witch hazel to formulate your fly repellent.

 

The witch hazel does have a bit of a scent, but because water is absorbed really quickly into things while witch hazel isn’t, it works better for ensuring the lavender and mint stick around longer.

 

Once you make the repellent, you’ll have herbs left over, and you can feed them to your chickens for an additional immune booster.

herbs for hens calendula

Calendula

So next on our list of the best herbs for chickens to eat is calendula, and there’s a good reason for that.

 

Calendula have long been known to repel insects in gardens, and they’re considered to be one of the best companion plants out there.

 

So, using them in your chicken coop, in nesting boxes, for example, will help repel bugs and keep them out of your nesting boxes.

 

Calendula is also edible for both people and chickens, and they’re said to make your chicken’s egg yolks more orange, so if you want, you can offer the petals to your chickens in their feed.

 

 

Grow herbs in herb boxes

Now, if you want to do something fun and entertaining, you can grow the best herbs for chickens to eat in a grow box, which is a raised bed, 4 to 6 inches high is a good height, that also has a top made of hardware cloth.

 

So, as the herbs grow, they reach the top of the hardware cloth.

 

Chickens can peck the herbs above the hardware cloth or a little below it, but they can’t get to the roots of the herbs, so once the tops of the plant is gone, it has the ability to grow back.

 

It’s a great way to offer herbs to your chickens in a way that’s also interesting to them.

 

You can either grow the herbs straight in the ground or make the grow box like a container garden for them.

 

Now, if you’re interested in giving your hens herbs and want a handy reference sheet, you can grab my free tip sheet on the blog at TheFrugalChicken.com/chickenherbs.

 


Hens Love Nesting Herbs!

nesting box herbs

YES, I WANT TO SPOIL MY HENS WITH NESTING HERBS!