Other common names: Basque Hen; Euskal Oiloa Basque Hen; Marraduna Euskal Oiloa; Marraduna Basque
The Basque Hen ("Euskal Oiloa" in the Basque language), is a dual purpose, local farmhouse chicken breed which was developed in the Basque Country region of Spain.
According to the Euskal Oiloa-Basque Hens In North America, "The Basque Chicken breeds come from a relatively recent selection process on typical Basque farmyard chickens. In the 1970's these dwindling populations of local chickens were located, studied and preserved. Birds were selected that exhibited different colors to get different varieties. The study and selection continued into the eighties. A plan was made for selection and improvement of the breed in the Agricultural Research Unit under the Department of Agriculture of the Basque Government. In the early nineties the breeding program ended with the introduction of four main varieties and a fifth naked neck version of the Gorria. In May 2000, an Euskal Oiloa breed standard was drafted."
Varieties (Single Comb): Beltza (Black), Gorria (Red), Zilarra (Silver), Marraduna (Brown Stripped), Leposoila
Uses: Eggs, Meat
Weight: 6. 5 - 8 lbs
Personality: Calm, sweet and social.
Preferred climate: Any
Handles confinement: Yes
Egg production: Very good (4/week)
Egg color: Brown
Egg size: Extra Large
unique beautiful appearance, vigorous friendly chickens, friendliest chickens, good dual purpose
A highly recommended breed for the backyard poultry keeper
This breed of chicken is vigorous, friendly, and productive breed of chicken. I have the marraduna color and they really are a beautiful breed! The hens are friendly and good egg producers. My favorite rooster is an EO, he loves people, but I have also seen aggressive roosters of this breed. We processed the extra roosters and they make a very nice meal. This breed is not yet recognized by the APA so may not be an easy choice for those interested in showing. I would definately recommend them for the backyard poultry keeper looking for a good dual purpose breed with lots of personality..
From Poplar girl Nov 17 2011 7:49PM
Euskal Oiloa are beautiful, productive, vigorous friendly chickens!
I have had Euskal Oiloak since May 2007 and was struck by
how friendly and curious the chicks were. They would hop up onto the side
of the brooder to be near you. I have adult roosters that still want to
get on to my knee for attention. They do like attention and most seem to
be drawn to people. They will peck at shiny things, toenails, jewellery
and eyes and teeth if you get close enough! So watch them with little
These basque chickens lay an XL egg, mine are pale brown ranging to mid brown
and they are supposed to be a touch darker than that. Even my three year
old hen, Blondie, lays well. They definitely lay better with light in the
winter. In the breeding pen last Jan - Mar with pullets in their first
year we were getting 2-3 eggs a week from 4 pullets and one 3 year old hen with
no light and 4-5 eggs a day with light even at -15*C and no heat.
They are smart chickens, and recognize feed scoops, bread bags and buckets and
come galloping over for food and attention hen they see you. They are
excellent foragers and out on poor weather days (rain) when other breeds stay
in. The hens can lay secret nests sometimes so lookout for that.
That's why they got a 4/5 on the efficiency under minimal management.
Roos are generally gentle, Speckled Jim is 3.5 years old and polite attentive,
have never dropped his wing at me or chased me away from his hens. They seem to
like to be held tight and will lay their head on your arm. The Euskal
Oiloas are high in the pecking order in mixed pure breed coops and boys fight
very seldom, they see to just command authority from the other chickens, the
energetic black penedesencas are the only ones that try to challenge them
here. Fertility has been excellent even when one of the roosters got a
frostbite in an outdoor coop at -20*C. Roos are attentive when free
ranging, give out warnings but are not overly panicky. Even the young (10
week old+) cockerals roost in the coops doorways until the door is closed.
Overall these have everything you want, unique beautiful appearance, strong
productive birds, vigorous, healthy, and friendly is their defining
characteristic. We haven't eaten any roos yet but plan to
later this winter. Others say they are tasty and a good meal, and they
are a recognized breed in the slow food ark of taste.
From skeffling Nov 16 2011 4:32PM
These where one of the friendliest batches of chicks we raised. They ran right to the coop door and would push each other to get to the front, where they could be pet. They were rather docile in their efforts for attention, and would never bite for attention. In fact, they would rarely even bite one another.
As the chicks aged, some showed symptoms of CRD (a bacterial disease) and had to be culled. None of the other chick breeds in the brooder suffered from this ailment. Though some didn't show symptoms of CRD, it became apparent that they didn't have the hardiest constitution, and we lost more to random illness and injuries.
When they where older, their personalities started to change. The roosters became highly aggressive with the hens and humans, so we couldn't keep any. The hens remained rather tame, but weren't any nicer then our other dual-purpose breeds.
In terms of production, we found them to be okay layers of medium to large brown eggs. They where a bit small, and matured a little slowly to make nice meat fowl.
I see people raising this bred in Canada, but our's hated the cold. They got on great in the summer..
From RhodeRunner Jan 10 2013 3:11PM