The Brabanter Chicken is a very old breed of fowls that originated in the Netherlands. Known for their strikingly beautiful looks, they are mostly bred for egg production and ornamental purposes. The Brabanter is a very rare breed even in its own habitat, and in the US, it is only the gold and the cream varieties that are commonly available. These chickens have two main distinguishing characteristics – a small tuft of feathers on the head, and a beard. They make a good choice for those who are looking to raise backyard flocks.
|Other Names||Streicher, Streicherente|
|Characteristics||Males are brighter than females; they have wide nostrils, without any chin wattles, but has small white ear lobes; the eyes are orange to light brown|
|Colours||Seven colors have been recognized by the Dutch Standard: chamois, cuckoo, gold spangled, laced blue, silver spangled, self black, and self white|
|Crest||The Dutch Standards defined that the horns of Standard cocks must not exceed 1.75 cm, and for hens it is 1.0 cm. For the Bantams, the maximum length allowed is 1.0 cm.|
|Personality Traits||Intelligent, peaceful, adaptable|
|Purposes||Egg, meat, ornamental purposes|
|Eggs||Around 180 per year|
|Weight||Adult Cock: Standard – 1.9 – 2.5 kg; Bantam – 0.6 – 1.0 kg
Adult Hen: Standard – 1.5 – 2.0 kg; Bantam – 0.5 – 0.8 kg
|Diet||General chicken diet|
|Country of Origin||The Netherlands|
History and Development
The Brabanter is a very old breed with evidence of existence dating as far back as the early 1500’s. However, with their increasing rarity, these fowls were declared extinct by around 1900. Bred in the Netherlands, particularly in the historic Brabant region, this breed spread very rapidly outside their region of origin.
In 1854, at Görlitz in Saxony, the cuckoo and the black Brabanters were exhibited for the first in the German poultry show.
In 1920, the breed was recreated in by crossing between other bearded and crested birds. Though the new brabanter was not as large as the original version, but retained the attractive features of the old lot.
These are calm and intelligent birds that can well survive in confinements. They are also known to have a submissive behavior. They are child-friendly, and are non aggressive. These birds are very hardy, and are also good foragers.
Egg and Meat Production
The females do not frequently go broody and hence would produce an average number of eggs round the year. However, they are good winter layers. The eggs are large by size and are white.
These fowls have a fairly built structure, and can make a decent table-bird. Their meat is tasty, and an individual can produce about 1 to 2 kg of meat.
- These chickens can withstand low temperatures and live in cold areas since their wattles and smaller comb are less vulnerable to frostbite.
- The Brabanter fowls have also been depicted in art, with the oldest known painting dating back to 1676 by Dutch animal artist Melchior d’Hondecoeter.
- The Brabanter Bantam (shorter version) was developed in the early 1930s by crossing Bearded Polish Bantams with the large Brabanter, and was officially recognized by the Dutch Standards in 1934.
- These birds have a propensity to get fat easily.