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The History of Andalusian Chickens From Castile to the World

Andalusian chicken with blue plumage and large single comb

Table of Contents

Andalusian chickens are a unique and beautiful breed that have a rich history and a distinctive appearance. Originating in the Mediterranean area, these birds are known for their graceful carriage, elegant plumage, and hardy nature. In this article, we will delve into the history, appearance, breed standard, and genetics of Andalusian chickens, as well as provide tips on care and breeding.

The Story of Andalusian Chickens

The true origins of Andalusian chickens are shrouded in mystery, but it is believed that they are a result of the breeding of landrace chickens (known as Black Castilians) with other local breeds in Castile, Spain. The breed was mentioned by Roman agricultural writer Lucius Columella in his writings De Re Rustica, and it was later imported to England in the 1840s. English breeders worked to enhance the blue color of the birds, and Andalusians eventually made their way to the United States in the mid-19th century.

What Andalusian Chickens Look Like

Andalusian chickens are known for their striking appearance, with their blue plumage, large single combs, and white earlobes. They are a light, smallish breed, with roosters weighing around 7lbs and hens weighing 5lbs. There is also a bantam variety that was created in the 1880s, with roosters weighing 28oz and hens weighing 24oz. The birds have clean, slate blue legs with four toes per foot, and reddish bay colored eyes with a horn-colored beak that has a slight downward curve. 

While the ideal plumage for Andalusians is slate blue with delicate black lacing, the color and lacing of the feathers can vary depending on the quality of the bird’s lineage. As Mediterranean birds, Andalusians do not tolerate cold well, but they can still lay eggs through the winter months. They prefer warmer temperatures and will need access to shade in hot or humid conditions.

Andalusian chicken family with chicks and parents

The Rules for Andalusian Chickens

Andalusian chickens were initially not accepted into the Poultry Club of Great Britain, but were later accepted as a rare, soft feather, and light breed. In the United States, they were accepted into the American Poultry Association in 1874, where they are classified as a Mediterranean breed. 

The bantam variety was accepted into the American Bantam Association shortly after its creation in the 1880s, and is classified as a single comb, clean leg breed. One unusual aspect of the breed standard for Andalusians is that the only recognized variety is blue. While the blue color is the result of genetics involving black, splash, and white birds, only the blue variety is recognized.

The Blue Color in Andalusian Chickens

The Andalusian blue gene is a diluting gene that is an incomplete dominant trait. If neither parent has the diluting gene, all offspring will be black. If one parent has the gene, half of the offspring will be blue and the other half will be black. If both parents have the gene, a quarter of the offspring will be black, a quarter will be splash (a mixture of black and white), and half will be blue. The blue color of Andalusian chickens is not a true blue, but rather a washed-out, muted shade.

How to Take Care of Andalusian Chickens and Make Baby Chickens

Andalusian chickens are generally easy to care for and can adapt to a variety of environments. They are active birds that enjoy their freedom, so they will need plenty of space to roam. They are good foragers and can find a significant portion of their food from scavenging, but they should still be provided with a balanced diet of grains, greens, and protein supplements. Andalusians are known for their hardy nature and can withstand harsh conditions, but they should still be protected from extreme cold and heat.

Andalusian chickens are generally good egg layers, producing around 180 medium to large white eggs per year. They are also known for being good mothers and will often go broody, making them suitable for breeding. When breeding Andalusians, it is important to pay attention to the genetics and select birds with good color and conformation to produce high-quality offspring.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, Andalusian chickens are a unique and beautiful breed with a rich history and distinctive appearance. They are hardy birds that are well-suited to a variety of environments and are good egg layers and mothers. With proper care and attention to genetics, Andalusians can make a valuable addition to any poultry flock.

What is the origin of Andalusian chickens?

The true origin of Andalusian chickens is unknown, but it is believed that they are a result of the breeding of landrace chickens in Castile, Spain.

How did Andalusian chickens get to the United States?

Andalusian chickens were imported to England in the 1840s and made their way to the United States between 1850 and 1855.

What is the breed standard for Andalusian chickens?

Andalusian chickens are classified as a rare, soft feather, and light breed in the Poultry Club of Great Britain, and as a Mediterranean breed in the American Poultry Association. The bantam variety is classified as a single comb, clean leg breed in the American Bantam Association.

What is the blue gene in Andalusian chickens?

The Andalusian blue gene is a diluting gene that is an incomplete dominant trait. It results in the washed-out blue color of Andalusian chickens.

Are Andalusian chickens good egg layers?

Yes, Andalusian chickens are generally good egg layers, producing around 180 medium to large white eggs per year.

Are Andalusian chickens good mothers?

Andalusian chickens are known for being good mothers and will often go broody, making them suitable for breeding.

What is the ideal environment for Andalusian chickens?

Andalusian chickens are hardy birds that can adapt to a variety of environments. They prefer warmer temperatures and will need access to shade in hot or humid conditions, but they are not tolerant of extreme cold.

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