So, should you consider adding the American Bresse chicken breed to your backyard flock, you have come to the right place.
The American Bresse chicken breed is one of the most sought-after meat chickens in the poultry world.
The breed originated in France and is said to be the chicken of the Bresse region and territory, a former French region.
The breed’s unique genetics and specialized breeding methods result in meat with distinctive fat and growth pattern and a unique bone-to-meat ratio not found in traditional breeds.
These birds metabolize food differently from other breeds. Besides, their bones are delicate and thin, adding to their unique characteristics.
A Bresse Chicken that has been exported outside of the Bresse, France area is called by the name of its new location. In the USA, they are referred to as the American Bresse chickens.
This article will discuss everything you need about this unique chicken breed. Keep reading to learn more.
American Bresse History and Background
The Bresse chicken originated in the Bresse region of France in the 1500s. The Bresse region (province) has since been renamed, but it was near the French Alps and the Rhone River.
Amazingly, this unique chicken was formed by a cross of local French fowl. Breeders did not have a specific goal but were mixing their local fowl.
Cross-breeding led to the development of the Bresse chicken. Not so much is known about the fowl used in the breeding process.
The breed became so popular because, for many years, it was considered by many chicken keepers as the best-tasting chicken meat.
The French continued specific breed selection for decades to create the unique Bresse chicken we know today.
Unlike other chicken breeds, you can not cross the Bresse chicken with other breeds and maintain its original taste.
Bresse chickens are fairly new to the USA. They were first imported to America in 2011. Because of some restrictions, all Bresse chickens imported to the USA must be called American Bresse chickens.
Breed Standard of American Bresse Chickens
There are four main varieties of American Bresse chickens. The varieties include White, Gray, Black, and Blue.
The White American Bresse chicken is the most popular variety because it is representative of the red, white, and blue France national flag.
Generally, all four Bresse chicken varieties have large bright red combs. Their legs tend to have a steel blue tint.
The color of their feathers differs by variety. These large-sized chickens are listed under the type of chicken, capon, or chicken.
White Bresse chickens are the largest of the four varieties. They weigh between 6 and 9 pounds when fully grown.
The other varieties are typically smaller, weighing around five pounds when fully grown. These chickens tend to have very thin skin and unusually light bones.
That is why their meat is considered one of a kind. They produce succulent meat full of an intense flavor.
Personality and Temperament
American Bresse chickens are curious and independent birds. They are good foragers that can cover a large area daily, depending on where the boundaries are set.
These unique chickens love to free-range and may not do well in confinement. Therefore, if you have a large backyard, you should allow them to roam freely.
While they can find food independently, they will appreciate a daily ration of scraps or chicken scratches.
The American Bresse chickens are social birds. They are often seen foraging together in large flocks. However, they do not like a lot of human interaction.
They have an even temperament and are less aggressive. Therefore, it is important to keep them alongside other friendly chickens.
They can be victims of bullying if raised in a flock comprising aggressive chickens.
Their personality can be altered if they are kept in a confined environment for more than the recommended period.
Since these birds are bred for meat and egg production, little is known about their personality and temperament as they are not observed in such a way.
Some backyard chicken keepers have described them as independent, gentle, and fun to watch.
However, it is important to note that each chicken is unique. Some American Bresse chickens may be aggressive to other birds in the flock.
The American Bresse chicken is good for egg production. If you want a chicken to give you plenty of eggs yearly, this is one of the breeds to consider.
They are early egg layers and will start laying eggs a month or two before other egg-laying chicken breeds. They tend to mature early compared to most other breeds.
A Bresse hen can lay 4 to 6 eggs per week with good care and proper nutrition. This translates to around 250 eggs per year. They usually lay medium to large-sized cream-colored eggs.
The American Bresse chicken is a trendy chicken breed thanks to its quality meat. Their meat has been sought-after by many people for many years.
The flavor of this breed is said to be far removed from the typical commercial chicken taste. In fact, they come at a hefty price because of their high-quality meat.
The American Bresse is a healthy and robust chicken. They are also hardy birds that can tolerate both hot and cold climates.
These robust birds do not have any specific health issues that are connected only to them.
While they are born healthy birds without hereditary health issues, that does not mean they are not susceptible to various health issues.
Your Bresse chicken can be susceptible to various health issues common to other chicken breeds.
Here are the common Bresse chicken health issues.
Infectious Bronchitis is a common health condition in all chicken breeds and can be fatal, wiping out the entire flock.
The common symptoms of the condition are sneezing, coughing, and snoring. The condition affects the upper respiratory tract.
Since it is highly infectious, you should separate birds with the condition and place them in a warm, dry place.
Botulism is a serious health condition that can infect your birds by paralyzing their neck and limbs. All backyard chickens are at risk of getting the disease.
If the condition is not managed in time, it can cause the sudden death of the chicken. Fortunately, there are anti-toxins available to treat the disease.
Infectious Coryza is a severe bacterial disease affecting a chicken’s respiratory system. The condition often shows up as inflammation under the eye.
Other common symptoms of Infectious Coryza are nasal discharge and sneezing. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine to prevent Infectious Coryza.
If your American Bresse chicken contacts it, you will want to isolate them so the condition does not spread to the rest of your backyard flock.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Special About Bresse Chicken?
Bresse chickens have a genetic lineage that enables them to metabolize food uniquely. This helps create a different flavor, fat, meat, and growth pattern.
Besides, their meat-to-bone ratio differs from other chicken breeds because their bones are quite thin.
Do Bresse Chickens Lay Eggs?
Yes, Bresse chickens lay eggs. While they are widely known for their meat, they are also good at egg production.
A Bresse hen can lay up to 6 eggs per week. This translates to about 250 eggs per year. Like any other chicken breed, they need good care and proper nutrition to live a longer, more productive life.
How Long Does it Take for a Bresse Chicken to Grow?
Compared to most chicken breeds raised for meat production, the Bresse chicken is a slow grower. They reach maturity at 16 weeks old.
While they are not a fast-growing breed, they are well worth the wait, considering their high-quality meat.
The American Bresse is a renowned chicken breed that has been around for centuries. The breed has always held a high-quality reputation since its early days in the Bresse region of France.
These birds are known for their tasty meat. They are good egg producers and can significantly add to any backyard flock.