Araucanas originated in Chile. It is speculated that this breed was developed prior to Old World contact, which would make them the only breed of chicken native to the Americas.
Araucanas are very rare in the United States. They are rumpless, meaning they have no tail feathers, and have ear tufts. They do not have beards or muffs. Their rarity is likely due to the fact that the gene for ear tufts is a lethal gene. Offspring with 2 copies of the gene will not survive to hatch. When breeding Araucanas, 50% of chicks will have one copy of the gene (and ear tufts), 25% will have zero copies (and no tufts), and 25% will have two copies of the gene (and not survive).
“Le Poule de Gournay,” or the Gournay chicken, is from the upper Normandy region of France. It has ancient ancestry that may date back to the age of Vikings.
These birds weigh 4 to 7 pounds and have a round body and small head. Their feathers are evenly mottled black and white. They have orange eyes and a thick beak, and a well-developed breast with delicate and flavorful meat.
Hens are sweet but will go broody. They lay around 3 white, extra-large eggs per week. The Gournay is easy to tame and handles confinement well, making them a rare but excellent choice for backyard chicken keeping.
The Gournay, like many traditional European breeds, suffered during World War I and II. They nearly went extinct, but with the help of local enthusiasts in the early 2000s, there are now around 15,000 of these birds in France.
Minorcas are a Mediterranean breed of domestic chicken, and are in fact the largest fowl from this region. They have a greenish-black glossy plumage, and very large, bright red combs and wattles. These help with dissipating heat. They also have very large, almond shaped, white earlobes, common to other Mediterranean fowl.
Minorcas are not broody, but excellent layers of large, white eggs. They are very hardy and rugged, taking well to free range conditions.
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