Table of Contents
The Campine is a rare uniquely beautiful chicken with a very upright stance, they have tightly knit feathers that make them appear smaller than they are.
These birds are excellent fliers and can be a bit skittish and flighty. They are very inquisitive birds and although they do not like to be handled they are very friendly. They will follow a person around the garden and chatter away. They are not what is call a sitter and very rarely will go broody so if you are looking to breed Campines you may need a brood hen to sit on their eggs.
These active chickens require quite a bit of space to roam about and forage around in.
|Country of Origin:||Belgium|
|American Poultry Association:||Recognized as a breed of chicken in the United States|
|Chicken Category:||Large Breed|
|Bantam Variety Available?||Yes – Single Comb Clean Legged Bantam Classification|
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|Good Starter Chicken?||They are a low maintenance chicken making them a good starter bird.|
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Eggs: They are fairly good egg layers.
They lay medium white eggs from 150 – 160 per year
They will lay consistently throughout the year
They start to lay eggs from around 16 – 20 weeks old.
Meat: They have a white skin and not usually used as a table bird although they can be used as such.
Breeding: As they are on the “critical” poultry conservations list this may be a breed a person can help recover. It is best to check with the registered breeders or poultry conservation for advice and information on breeding the Campine chicken. There is thought to be fewer than 5 breeding flocks of not more than about 60 plus birds in the USA. More breeders are needed to keep these beauties alive.
Foraging: They love to scratch and forage about. They do not like being confined and will become quite difficult if they are.
Show Bird: Their shiny mahogany plumage makes them excellent show birds.
Pets: They do not like to be handled but they still make good pets as they do not mind human company.
Other: These inquisitive ladies make an excellent addition to any back garden or small flock. They are really beautiful showpieces.
|Flyers?||They are quite good flyers.|
|Noisy Birds?||They can be quite noisy at times|
|Interaction with other chickens:||They get along well with other breeds. As with any flock if you are introducing new birds it is best to slowly socialize them with the flock.|
|Good with kids?||These birds are not too good around younger children as they can be skittish and do not like being handled.|
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The Campine was originally bred as an egg layer chicken. They are not too weather hardy but to do originated from a region of Belgium where the soil was not too good. They have been around for hundreds of years and it is reported that Caesar himself took a few of these birds’ home with him from the Northern regions of Belgium.
The Campine was originally associated with a breed called the Braekel as a smaller variety of the breed. In 1884 a discussion was entered up in that it was determined that the two breeds should be separated. The Campine became a breed of its own and gained its own breed standard in 1904.
After further debate and deliberation, the two breeds were once again united as a single breed and named Kempisch-Braekel.
The Campine type of the breed was thought to have disappeared by 1962 and the breed still thriving was renamed Brakelhoen.
However, in 1899 the Campine had been imported to England and bred as a completely different breed of chicken. This bird has what is known as hen feathering in the cocks, there is no real distinction between the hens and roosters’ feathers. The rooster displays the same female type plumage but displays all the characteristics of a rooster.
The chicken is named for the Campine region of north-east Belgium where the birds are known as Kempisch Hoen.
Campines were exported from England to the USA in the early 1900’s with one of the Campine cocks winning first prize in a show at Madison Square Gardens, in New York and again in Boston in 1913.
The Campines were admitted to the Standards of Perfection by the American Poultry Association in 1914.
Appearance/Body: Campines are tightly feathered, with a red face, red wattles and white earlobes. They have slate blue eyes and clean slate blue legs. They have tight upright tail feathers and hold their bodies tall and proud.
Color(s) There are two recognized color variations these being Silver and Gold. Both roosters and hens have the exact same feathering and color patterns.
Comb: They have a single comb
Ave. Weight: Pullets/Hens 3.5 – 4 lbs.
Cockerel/Roosters 5 – 6 lbs.
|Life Expectancy:||The average lifespan is 6 + years|
|Health:||No known health issues and but are not really partial to the cold.|
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|Temperament:||Active, friendly, inquisitive birds that can be a bit skittish and flighty when touched. They do not take to being handled or confined.|
|Socialize Behavior?||They are both curious and wary of other domestic animals and tend to shy away from other chicken breeds.|
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|Known predators:||Most domestic animals leave them alone but it is always best to keep an eye on dogs and cats. They are not very big chickens so may be easy prey for most predators that can snatch a small chicken.
If hawks and or foxes are in your area it is always best to take precautions. Although they are not an easy target for most feathery predators.
Check with local animal shelters, zoos, vets, animal control and or pet stores about common predators in your area.
|Conservation Status:||These birds conservation status is recorded as “critical”. It is best to check on any special license or instructions that may be set up for owning these birds. This can be checked with your local or national conservation centers.|
|Garden Size:||They do not take to confinement well and prefer a medium to a large garden where they can forage about as they are excellent foragers.|
|Ideal Climate:||They prefer warmer climates and do not do well in the extreme cold.|
|Ideal Coop:||The rule of thumb for any coop is 50 cm x 50 cm per hen/rooster in the coop.
Ensure there is a good space for the nesting boxes and nightly roosting rails at least 1.5 inches wide.
Good ventilation for air but not too drafty especially in winter.
It is always a good idea to raise the coop off the ground to give the birds a dry place to roost and lay especially in wet weather.
|Ideal Coop Run:||They are good strong flyers making it best to fully enclose the coop run to keep the birds in a safe secure environment.|
|Ideal Flock Size:||They are happiest in a medium to smaller size flock as long as they a few companions to roost or chatter with.|
|Special Instructions:||They do not have any special requirements but are on the critical conservation list.|
|Accessories:||The following accessories are ideal for your coop:
Straw for the boxes and roosting area
Animal carrier for transport purposes
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WHERE TO FIND THESE BIRDS TO ADD TO YOUR FLOCK
The Campine is a very rare bird on the critical conservation list so it is best to find a registered breeder through outlets such as the Livestock Conservancy, American Poultry Association and Society for the Preservation of Poultry Antiquities. There is also a club in the UK called the Rare Poultry Society that has listed breeders from all over the world, lots of helpful information and advice about the Campine. Try and avoid buying this rare ancient breed from poultry outlets and farms as there are not that many Campines in America. Registered breeders will also be able to help with any special requirements, attention or care they may need. If you plan on breeding your chickens, you will want to make sure that they are from a good bloodline.
CARING FOR THE BIRD(S)
Please click here for our full guide to “Taking care of chickens”. This is a comprehensive guide to owning chickens. It covers where to start from choosing your ideal flock, the coop that would best suit your garden, your bird and you to buying and bringing your bird(s) home.
An exceptionally rare beauty that will be a treasure and centrepiece of any flock with their unique plumage and coloring.
One or two well positioned and looked after dust baths will go a long way in keeping Campines pest and oil free. There are various supplements that can be added to the soil to ensure their plumes stay perfectly pretty. It may be quite the task as these chickens will skitter away from being picked up but they will have to be checked at least once a week for mites, lice and various other parasites. Always get your birds de-wormed on a regular basis especially if they are around other animals or interacting with kids.
DIET AND NUTRITION
Make sure they get their regular meal of chicken pellets, grains, chicken mash or grain mix from 8 weeks old and older first thing in the morning. This must be fed to them before they go out to forage each day in order to ensure they are well nourished.
For baby chickens, the best is always Chick Starter when they are under 8 weeks old.
Laying hens should get extra protein and calcium in their diets to ensure the quality of their eggs and to keep them in tip-top health.
Vegetable and fruit table scraps are always welcomed by these busy birds and can go a long way in getting them to comply for their weekly pest checkup.
Feeding your chickens correctly will give your organic garden a lot of nutritious fertilizer to make your vegetables or flowers grow.
Please see our comprehensive guide to “Feeding your chickens” for more information of the different types of chicken feed for chicks, hens, laying hens, roosters, etc. and where to buy the feed and approximate cost of the feed.
SOCIALIZING THE BIRD(S)
Campines tend to shy away from other breeds and it takes them quite a while to trust newcomers. They may be a flighty skittish bird but they are not an overly aggressive chicken, so it is best to get chickens that have a calmer nature to mix with Campines. They are not at all broody hens so if breeding is intended it may be wise to look into getting brood hens to add to the flock.
Always check on how well a breed will get on with your current flock before buying them as you do not want to upset your coop or stress your current flock.
As with any newcomer to the roost, you will have to quarantine the bird for 7 – 31 days to ensure it does not have any unwanted critters or disease that could spread to your current flock.
NOTES / SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS
As they are registered as a “Critical” conservation status they may need an extra license to own or keep in your garden. For advice on what the bird’s conservation status and orders are please check with your local conservation department.
For breeders, it is imperative that you always check your bird’s bloodlines and ensure you are buying your birds from a reputed breeder/farm. In order to sell birds of such stature, they have to be recorded and documented, always check with local animal breeding organizations for these records.
These legitimate documents are also required should you wish to show your bird(s) in various poultry shows/competition showings.
For information and advice on adopting rescued animals, you can visit or contact your local animal welfare center.
- Caring for your Chicken
- Socializing your Chicken
- Breeding Chicken
- Raising Chickens A-Z
- Hatching Eggs
- What is Molting
- Animal Shelter (ASPCA)
- American Veterinary Medical Association
- American Poultry Association
- American Animal Welfare Society
- American Animal Control
- American Animal Husbandry Society