Other common names: Gauloise; Blue-footed Chicken; Poulet de Bresse
The Bresse Chicken originates from the Bresse area of the Rhône-Alpes region of France. The birds are highly valued for their rich, gamey flavor, yet with fine, tender flesh and delicious fat. Roughly 1.2 million are raised annually, but such is the demand inside France that few birds make it out of the country. As a premium product, they sell at a premium price: Poulet de Bresse command around 15 euro ($21) per kilo at fine food markets.
The Bresse Chicken was imported to England in 1895. An American variety, the Blue Foot, was developed from French stock in the 1980s and is raised along similar lines. It has become equally highly prized in the USA, commanding many times the price per kilo of an equivalent free range chicken from lesser stock.
Varieties (Single Comb): Black, Grey, White
Uses: Eggs, Meat
Weight: 5 - 7.5 lbs
Personality: Nervous and flighty
Preferred climate: Moderate
Handles confinement: Yes
Egg production: Good (3/week)
Egg color: White
Egg size: Large
What else you should know:
The traditional diet for the Bresse is very unique, and is used in France for Bresse chickens that are breed for slaughter. Chicks are sold to small farmers whom let them free-range as soon as they come of age. While ranging, the Bresse is feed a low protein diet, to encourage them to hunt for bugs. Males are canonized (castrated) to help them stay tender. Pullets at four months, and cockerels at eight months are then put in wooden cages in a shaded barn. Here they are feed grains and milk. This diet lets fat marbel the meat. After, a few weeks they are ready for slaughter.
Our Bresse Chickens
I lived in the South of France for about 5 years. During this time we owned a large number of chickens which roamed around our property. Because we lived in a small village, our property had a large back garden which allowed us to keep so many chickens, as well as other outdoor pets.
We mainly used the chickens for the eggs that they produced. While not amazing, the eggs were good looking and were always tasty. We never used our chickens for meat, we saw them as pets rather than livestock.
They were extremely easy to look after as they were good foragers, but did require food and water to be put out on a regular basis. We gave our chickens away when we moved from France, but during the time we had them, we were happy, and I would definitely own some more if I ever had enough space again..
From HayleyCovell Apr 9 2014 11:00AM