The ancient and rugged Andalusian chicken has an unknown past; though it’s likely rooted in the Castilian chicken breed. In type, it resembles the Spanish chicken, but weighs a pound less. Like other Mediterranean breeds, it has white earlobes and lays a large number of white eggs.
Andalusian chickens were first imported into England by Leonard Barber from 1846 to ’47. These birds came from Andalusia, about 25 miles from Cadiz, from Xeres de la Frontera. In 1851, Mr. Coles of Farnham and John Taylor of Shepherd’s Bush also imported more. Andalusian chickens were widely distributed around Cornwall and Devon. The breed was first exhibited at the Baker Street Show, in London, in January of 1853. Somewhere between 1850 and 1855 Andalusian chickens arrived in America.
Andalusian chickens stand high in productivity. It’s one of the best layers of eggs, an excellent winter egg producer, has white flesh with plenty of breast meat – though the carcass isn’t very plump, it’s an active forager, and is rugged and hardy. Chicks feather and mature quickly, with cockerels crowing at seven weeks old. The body type – more coarse than a Leghorn – is easy to produce and maintain.
The chief distinction for Andalusian chickens is the blue color of their plumage. Each feather should be a clear bluish slate, distinctly laced with a dark blue or black. Blue-colored fowls are produced as a result of crossing black fowls with white fowls. When two Blue Andalusians chickens are mated together 25% of the chicks will come black in plumage, 50% blue, and the remaining 25% white or splash (white with blue or black splashes).
The best colored Blue Andalusian pullets are produced by mating a dark blue male to a properly colored hen. The best colored Blue Andalusian cockerels are produced by using slightly dark parents of both sexes. There is a tendency for the color to become too light as generations go by. The periodic use of black offspring will repair this defect. The blue ground color should extend down to the fluff.
Andalusian chickens are wonderfully designed for foraging on the range. The breed’s rugged nature makes it hardy, even in cold climates. However, it doesn’t stand confinement well and is predisposed to feather eating. An excellent traditional cross is an Andalusian male over Langshans females. This produces a hardy brown egg layer that matures early.
The Blue Andalusian chicken was recognized by the American Poultry Association as a standard breed in 1874. Males weigh 7 pounds and females weigh 5.5 pounds.
Did you know:
The Livestock Conservancy is America’s leading organization working to save over 150 heritage breeds from extinction. We rely on the support of our members, grants, and donations from the public to raise the $700,000 a year needed to maintain our conservation work with rare breeds of farm animals. Click here to learn how you can help.