Chicken Breeds: Andalusian Blue

Creative Commons-licensed image courtesy of Flickr user Barbol
Creative Commons-licensed image courtesy of Flickr user Barbol

The Andalusian is a beautiful chicken, which has lent its genetic heritage to a number of other chicken breeds. This lovely breed, which is popular as a show bird, is the original blue chicken.

Gregor Mendel studied the Andalusian breed when he was developing his theory of genetics. One interesting feature of the Andalusian is that the blue birds do not breed true. If you breed a pair of blue birds together, you will get 50% blue chicks, 25% white chicks, and 25% black chicks. The difficulty in breeding more blue birds is part of the reason why this breed is relatively rare in North America today, except among chicken fanciers.

This Mediterranean chicken originated in the Andalucia region of Spain, and is therefore very tolerant of heat. It is not as tolerant of cold temperatures, and its combs and wattles are susceptible to frostbite. Like other Mediterranean birds, Andalusians are “closely feathered,” meaning that their feathers lie close to their body, rather than fluffing out like those of breeds from colder climates like the Buff Orpington.

Andalusians lay white eggs, but they are not prolific layers. Wikipedia cites them at 160 eggs per year per hen.

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