JFA PROFILE BREED: EUSKAL OILOA~~BASQUE HENS
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Euskal Oiloa, pronounced OOh Skahl oy lo ah; or fondly nicknamed "Euskies" and often referred to as EO's. The Basque hens are an extremely rare, heritage Spanish fowl, that are dual purpose, fast growing birds, with great meat and above average egg laying attributes. They are extraordinary foragers, surpassing most breeds with their free ranging skills, friendly, fearless, assertive, curious, intelligent birds, making them ideal for the backyard or barnyard and for self-sufficiency. We here at Just Fowling Around were fortunate enough to be among the few chicken breeders to get in on the ground floor with this rare strain of birds purchased from Canada. And a very generous, enthusiastic breeder here in Washington State shared her bird's genetics with us that were purchased from other sources to help diversify the genetics.
The Marranduna strain has unique coloring, with a light cream to buff and rust-buff hens and light cream to buff and rust-buff, gray to black barred feathering in the roos. The chicks are brown striped or yellow with a touch of red. The Chicks can be sexed within 2 weeks of hatch. The males comb will grow larger than the female, and the feathering in the yellow will be lighter and have a hint of the red/rust coloring in the males. By 4 weeks, they are easily distinguished from one another.
The hens start laying Extra large shiny brown eggs, at about 4 months of age, producing from 180-220 annually. The hens rarely go broody, though there are reported exceptions to that rule. The feed to egg and meat ratio is good in spite of the fast growth and great egg production. Though they are good foragers, they will do well in a smaller coop, so they do bare confinement well as long as they are able to observe you and the backyard or barnyard activities. The round, tight feathering of these birds makes them a hardy vigorous breed. The roosters weigh up to 8 pounds, while an adult hen will weigh up to 5 1/2 pounds.
In the early 1970s an effort was made in the Basque region of Spain to preserve this breed and perfect it. By the 1990s, there were standards introduced. The breed was not introduced into the United States until 2011, though the breed became available to Canadians as early as 2008. Through diligence of breeders the popularity is spreading across North America. There are five varieties of the Euskal Oiloa, all differing in color and looks. The Beltza, Gorria, Zilarra, Marraduna and a naked neck variety called Leposoila, which is another version of the Gorria. The barring gene of the Marraduna is only found on the Cantabrian coast of Spain. In addition they have the Columbian black restrictive genes, that provide the special effects of the color in the plumage. The breed is distinguished genetically, with a single comb, yellow skin, four toes that are yellow with redder legs, feathered or naked neck, black or wheaten, with or without the columbian restictive black, silver or gold, black or splash, with recessive white and barred or unbarred. By standards set, the earlobe should not be white, should not have white feathers in the wings or tail, though this is most serious in the black variety. A single comb should be straight, not fall over. The beak of the Marraduna should not have a black top on it. Crooked toes appear in some, and will affect the show quality, but does not affect reproduction, though most breeders cull those out and do not breed them in the event it is a genetic defect. The toes should be yellow, and if not this is considered a serious defect in the standard. Some of the Basque hen offspring may have blue legs, and tend to have Penedesenca tendencies, since in Spain the two breeds do range together, but these traits do not meet standards set for the Euskal Oiloa breed. With a larger gene pool from a few top breeders, these traits are being bred out of the birds.
Most information concerning the Basque Hens is in Spanish, but a few devoted enthusiasts have diligently translated as much as possible, but since the Basque dialect differs from common Spanish terms, some of that information has not been completely translated.
$45.00 Per dozen + $17.90 Shipping.
We do pro-rate for less than one dozen, for those with small incubators. Email us at: Justfowlingaround@live.com. Please put breed name in the subject line and quantity in the body of the email. You will need a current Paypal account (easy and quick to set up). Please add us to your address book so our mail does not go to your spam folder. Thank You for your interest in JFA fertile hatching eggs.
There are several links below for more information that you may find interesting.
Euskal Oiloa and Rare Heritage Breed Chicken Links
Euskal Oiloa-Basque Hens in North America Website & Forum
A group of Euskal Oiloa Lovers with information on this breed in Canada. Since 2008, Canadians have had the chance to own this extremely rare and unusual heritage chicken breed. With a recent entry into the US in early 2011, the population is increasing across North America!
Euskal Oiloa Chicken Forum
A friendly forum of enthusiasts to find out more and share what you know about this rare poultry breed
Basque Hens on Feathersite.
Wikipedia entry on Euskal Oiloa
Eoalak-Breeders Association of the Basque Association of Chickens
Great information on this site, this page lists overall breed standards.
Chicks of the Rare Marraduna Euskal Oiloak Chicken Breed
If you have been reading about the elusive heritage chicken breed, the Basque Hen on the poultry forums and want to know more about these extremely rare chicks, read on! Pictures provided.
Scratch Cradle Blog - Euskal Oiloa - Basque Hens
An excellent and accurate blog about the history of the Basque region, the Euskal Oiloa chickens, their development and standards with references and translations.
Alberta Chicken etc Large thread On Euskal Oiloas
Canadian forum thread with resources, links and discussion of Euskal Oiloas by owners of the breed and those seeking them.
The Friendliest Rare Heritage Chicken Breeds!
This is for anyone who wants chickens to be pets.
BackYardChickens Forum / Euskal Oiloa ( Basque Thread)
thread with of pictures and more info on this breed!
Spanish Blog about Euskal Oiloa
Has the Spanish standard, translated by one of our forum members
Ibarrola Bekoa Farm Website
A breeders site in Spain showing pictures
Raza aviar - Euskal Oiloa Beltza, Gorria, Marraduna y Zilarra
Spanish site with specific breed information and a short history of the development.
Barracuda - Euskal-Oiloa Spanish Blog
pictures of the Marraduna and brief history
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