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How To Raise And Care For Bresse Chicken

Homesteading has recently become an extremely popular topic on social media. And while homesteading has been around for as long as people, it has lost its popularity in recent years. The good news is that more and more people are trying to become self-sufficient, and one of the easiest ways to do that is to raise chickens.

Chicken farm

While raising chickens is typically not hard, you will need to narrow down which breed you want to keep. One option, for example, is Bresse chickens. This breed originated from France, specifically the Bresse region, and is often considered the best tasting chicken breed. It is a dual-purpose breed that can be raised for its meat and its eggs. Keep reading to learn how to raise and care for Bresse chicken.

Bresse chickens need plenty of room to roam and forage and do require a diet that is a bit different than most of the chicken breeds. They are also susceptible to a few health problems, but are fairly easy to care for. They are a docile birds that have delicious meat and lay several eggs a week.

How Big Does A Bresse Chicken Grow?

The Bresse is a medium-sized chicken with a muscular frame whose legs have a bluish-tint to them. Despite being muscular, they are not an overly large bread. 

The Bresse breed is not a fast growing chicken, and it can take 16 weeks before they reach their mature weight. Males average between 6 and 7 pounds, while the females can weigh as much as 5 pounds.

What Is The Average Weight Of A Bresse Chicken?

White chicken

Weight is another factor that should be considered when deciding which breed of chicken to raise. This is especially true if you plan on butchering the bird for its meat. 

Fully grown Bresse chickens can weigh between 4 and 7 pounds, depending on the sex of the bird. Roosters typically stay between 6 and 7 pounds, while the hens are a little smaller, weighing 4 to 5. Some hens can even weigh closer to 6 pounds, though this isn’t as common.

When Will A Bresse Chicken Start Laying Eggs?

Since eggs are the main draw for people to start raising chickens, you should be aware of the average timeline for when you can expect a certain breed of hen to start laying eggs.

Bresse hens will usually start laying eggs around 4 ½ months old. Although the exact time frame can vary within a few weeks. Some hens can start laying as early as 4 months, while others won’t lay their first egg until closer to 5 months.

Will Bresse Chickens Lay White Or Brown Eggs?

Brown chicken eggs in nest

Despite having nearly the same taste and nutritional value, some people are still concerned about the color of the eggs a chicken will lay. Some people prefer eggs that look closer to what they get in the store, while others associate brown shells with farm fresh eggs.

Bresse chickens are dual-purpose birds that lay brown eggs that range from pale brown to light brown in color. These eggs are typically medium to large in size, and the hens of this breed can lay about 250 of these eggs a year.

If you have tasted both white store-bought eggs and brown eggs from your farmers market, you have probably noticed a difference in the taste. The truth is, the taste difference has more to do with how fresh the egg is than the color of its shell. If you purchase both white and brown eggs from the store, you will see they taste the same or extremely similar. 

Do You Need A Same Breed Rooster To Get Bresse Chicken To Lay Eggs?

While roosters are useful to have in your flock, not everyone wants them. They can be noisy and even a bit aggressive. But are they really necessary if you want the Bresse chickens to start laying eggs?

Roosters of the same breed are not a requirement to get Bresse chickens to lay eggs. In fact, you don’t need any roosters for hens to produce eggs. Hens will lay eggs even when there isn’t a rooster in their flock. A rooster is, however, required if you want your eggs fertilized.

Any rooster breed will work to fertilize eggs, and it is extremely common in backyard flocks to have one rooster mate with all the hens, no matter their breed. The chicks that hatch will be a combination of the hen’s breed and the rooster’s breed. Keep in mind that you will need a Bresse rooster if you want to have chicks that are 100-percent Bresse chickens. If this isn’t important to you, then you can have any rooster in your flock.

What Is The Lifespan Of A Bresse Chicken?

White chicken

The lifespan of the Bresse chicken is rather impressive, especially when you compare it to the average lifespan of chickens. 

The Bresse chicken has a rather long lifespan when compared to some other breeds, and can live for up to 12 years. How well the bird is maintained goes a long way to determining its actual lifespan. Not properly protecting the birds from predators, for example, will greatly shorten their lifespan.

Are Bresse Chickens Friendly?

Whether or not a chicken breed is friendly is often overlooked, especially for people new to the whole raising chickens game. The truth is, the temperament of your chickens can have a direct effect on how well you care for them, and whether or not you are successful. After all, do you really want to tend to chickens who are mean, aggressive, and try to peck you every chance they get? 

The Bresse chicken bread is a friendly bird that has a rather docile nature that can successfully coexist with you and your family. The Bresse rooster, however, can be a little aggressive, although this is a possibility for any rooster, no matter what the breed.

Bresse chickens are not the ideal breed if you’re looking for a pet, but that doesn’t mean they don’t make a wonderful addition to backyard flocks. In fact, Bresse chickens can be petted and have a calm temperament. They do prefer living in a flock, which is why they don’t make the best pets. 

How Many Eggs Can A Bresse Chicken Lay A Day?

Mother chicken sitting in nest

One of the things that make the Bresse chicken a good choice is the amount of eggs they can lay. 

Bresse chickens lay 3 to 4 eggs a week, and you should expect to collect these eggs at least once a day. The best course of action is to check for eggs in the morning and then again in the evening. This will let you gather any eggs before they become broken or damaged.

To help keep the eggs as safe as possible until you can collect them, you should have at least one nesting box for every 3 to 4 birds you have. If you don’t have enough nesting boxes, the hens can start to lay eggs in other areas. This means they are more likely to get broken or stolen, and makes it even harder for you since you have to hunt for the eggs. 

When Will A Bresse Chicken Stop Laying Eggs?

Even though the Bresse chicken can live for up to 12 years, they typically won’t continue to lay an abundance of eggs for the entire time. 

No matter what the breed, hens typically reduce the amount of eggs they lay as they get older. However, Bresse hens are seasonal layers and will not lay eggs during the winter. Because of this, you shouldn’t expect this breed to produce eggs from December to February.

At What Age Is A Bresse Chicken The Most Delicious?

Cooked chicken plated on white dish

Because the Bresse chicken is a dual-purpose breed, you can raise them for both their egg production and their meat. In fact, the Bresse chicken breed is often regarded as the best tasting meat of all the chicken breeds. But at what age is the the meat the most delicious? 

The Bresse chickens are the most delicious when they are harvested between 4 months and 6 months of age. At this time, the meat is tender and tasty. Harvesting older birds typically means tougher meat, but that doesn’t mean you cannot butcher birds older than a year.

This article was first published on May 27, 2023 by Pentagon-Pets.

Older birds are better cooked slowly with moisture, such as in a crockpot. Some people even use tougher chicken meat in soups and stews to help tenderize the meat and make it taste better. 

Best Housing Setup For A Bresse Chicken 

The vast array of different types of housing setups for chickens can quickly become confusing and frustrating, especially when you’re not sure what is the best housing setup for a Bresse chicken. 

Bresse chickens thrive in open space, so free range is best when possible. Their coop space should be at least 4 square feet of floor space per bird. Additionally, they will need 12×12 nesting boxes, about 1 box per 4 hens, to help ensure your girls have a safe place to lay their eggs.

Bresse chickens do well in coops made out of just about anything, as long as the coop is well protected from land and sky predators, as well as from the elements. The coop will also need to be well ventilated with good airflow, and the floor of the coop will need to be lined with several layers of litter. 

Typical Health Problems Of A Bresse Chicken

Chicken farm

The original breed didn’t have any health problems that it was susceptible to. However, as the breed has now been imported, it has become more likely to develop certain health issues.

The health problems that the Bresse chicken is susceptible to include infectious bronchitis, botulism, and infectious coryza. With that said, however, these three diseases can also infect any chicken breed, but are more commonly seen in breeds that are imported.

Infectious bronchitis is a potentially deadly disease that can kill off entire flocks. The most common symptoms of this disease include snoring, sneezing, and coughing. It attacks the upper respiratory tract of the infected bird. Because this disease is so dangerous, it’s best to quarantine any bird with symptoms of infectious bronchitis in a dry and warm location.

Botulism is a common disease that can infect any domesticated chicken breed. The disease paralyzes the neck and limbs of the infected bird and can quickly kill them. The good news is that there are anti-toxins that can treat this disease.

Infectious coryza is a bacterial disease that attacks the chicken’s respiratory system. It often appears as an inflammation under the chicken’s eye, and infected birds can have nasal discharge and sneezing. Experts recommend euthanizing any birds infected with infectious coryza to help stop the spread of the disease to other birds in your flock. There is no vaccine for infectious coryza, nor is there an effective treatment.

Typical Problems Raising Bresse Chickens

One of the benefits of raising Bresse chickens is that they don’t have many problems that you will need to be concerned with.

Pentagon Pet is the owner of this article that was first published on May 27, 2023.

The main problem with raising Bresse chickens comes from the fact that this breed needs space, which means they are not the best choice for backyards with limited space. If possible, allow this breed to free range or provide them with an abundance of run space.

What Type Of Food Is Best For Bresse Chickens

Feeding chicken

Most chicken breeds are fed a diet filled with commercial chicken feed, vegetables, and fruit. Bresse chickens, however, are a little different than most other breeds and will require something a little different. 

Bresse chickens are often fed a mixture of wheat, corn, and desiccated milk, which is an unsweetened milk concentrate. Since these birds love to forage, their diet will be supplemented by the grains, seeds, insects, and grubs they find.

Some chicken keepers have found that planting strawberry plants, clover, sunflowers, and alfalfa work well to provide their Bresse chickens with a diverse diet. Just remember that you will still need to feed them a mixture of wheat, corn, and desiccated milk even when allowing them to forage and free range.

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This article and its contents are owned by Pentagon Pets and was first published on May 27, 2023.

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