When we decided to focus more on our heritage and rare breeds, we already knew that our main focus was going to be on our all time favorite breed named the Chantecler. This breed is listed under "Critical" of extinction by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. Out of all the rare breeds we raise, I would be most upset to lose this breed. This breed has one of the most calm, laid back personalities of all our chickens. But don't let that fool you! They are hard workers, especially the gals, and do great foraging. Unlike the lighter breeds, they do not wander as far making them great for backyards. They are considered a fine dual-purpose breed, again making them great for small flocks, and have exemplary meat qualities. Our flock has especially good, well-fleshed breasts(probably because I don't like dark meat!) but still retaining their good laying abilities of brown eggs.
The Chantecler originated in the Quebec Province of Canada. Brother Wilfred Chatelain was the first to come up with the idea of creating a breed from Canada, after he realized the chickens that were being used at that time were from Europe and America. His goals were to breed for cold hardy chickens that could survive the harsh climates of Canada, but still being productive in egg and meat. The Chantecler is the first Canadian breed of chicken. Under the supervision of Brother Chatelain, the monks of the Cistercian Abbey in Oka, Quebec, sought to create, “a fowl of vigorous and rustic temperament that could resist the climatic conditions of Canada, a general purpose fowl.” They did just so. After 10 years of hard work perfecting the breed, they were introduced to the public in 1918 and then were quickly admitted to the American Poultry Association in 1921.
"The Chantecler was created by first crossing a Dark Cornish male with a
White Leghorn female, and a Rhode Island Red male with a White Wyandotte
female. The following season pullets from the first cross were mated to a cockerel from the second cross. Then selected pullets from this last mating were mated to a White Plymouth Rock male, thus producing the fowl as seen today. Although this produced a pure White Chantecler, Dr. J. E. Wilkinson of Alberta, Canada, decided to create a similar chicken with a color pattern more suited to range conditions, one whose color pattern would blend with its background. He crossed the Partridge Wyandotte, Partridge Cochin, Dark Cornish, and the Rose Comb Brown Leghorn, to create the Partridge Chantecler. The Partridge Chantecler was admitted into
Standard in 1935.
The breed is noted for having nearly no wattles and a small cushion comb
– the comb appearing much like a small round button sitting low on the
head. The small comb and wattles allow this breed to withstand the cold
Canadian winters without worry of frostbite. Not surprisingly, the breed
is noted for being very hardy, is an excellent layer of brown eggs with
a reputation as a good winter layer, and has a well-fleshed
The Chantecler can still be found in both of its original
colors, White and Partridge; both having yellow flesh and legs. It is an
excellent choice for anyone wanting a productive fowl that will excel in
a wintry climate. The breed is noted for being calm, gentle, and