Bresse chicken foraging

Animals foraging together

Establishing a Bresse Breeding Program

We initially started raising chickens with a dozen laying hens (6 Black Sex Links and 6 Red Sex Links). We enjoyed raising these birds for their egg production. And as we expected, they were superior egg layers.

Allan is always thinking of new ways to improve on what we’re doing.  He thought that with the same effort and space, we could raise birds for meat production. So he began researching suitable birds. He stumbled across the Swedish Homestead YouTube channel. The Swedish Homestead raved about the Bresse chicken. Allan was persuaded because they are dual purpose (eggs and meat) and reputed to be the tastiest chicken in the world!

Excited about the Bresse, we researched American hatcheries shipping Bresse chickens. To our surprise, lots of the hatcheries were sold out of the Bresse! So we had to start our flock ordering from a few different hatcheries. We ordered roughly 30 chicks. Unfortunately, we lost about 8 chicks at the outset. Once the roosters started to get unruly (3 roosters fighting over 8 hens), we decided to thin the flock to just the hens and 2 roosters.

Breeding for Success

As we waited for this family to mature, we started studying breeding programs to improve the quality and performance of our Bresse chickens. We found a mentor who taught us that the goal of breeding is to breed for balance and stability. That means having birds with a complete package of Form, Function, and Beauty. We also studied from many websites hosted by French agricultural authorities and breeding clubs.  We learned about the so-called “standards of perfection”

Once we had a game plan for our breeding program, we began the process of growing the numbers of our flock. Our mentor suggested we aim for 100 birds to create a spiral mating system. Because we have such a small starting family, we won’t be able to reach 100, but we hop to end up with at least 60-70.

In the photos you see we have the hens and roosters separated from each other. When they are big enough, we’ll let them out during the day to free range.

Contact us if you’re interested in buying hatching eggs.