Table of Contents
These aristocratic birds have been around for generations they are one of the oldest breeds in Spain. Their stately bearing makes them look regal almost snobbish in a way. They do not have a very strong disposition and must be kept under constant watch in extreme cold or when around children. Once prized for their great large white eggs they are now an endangered breed that is mainly bred for ornamental or show purposes. Their white faces and bright red wattles and comb have had them called clown chickens.
|Country of Origin:||Spain|
|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|
|Good Starter Chicken?||They are not a good starter chicken|
Eggs: They are quite good egg layers.
They lay large white eggs from 150 – 170 per year
They will lay consistently throughout the year
They start to lay eggs from around 20 weeks old.
Meat: They have white meat not known to be a table bird
Breeding: They can be bred and they hens do not get broody they are not sitters.
If you are breeding the Spanish for show choosing the correct hens and rooster bloodline is crucial. As they are on the conservation critical list they are not recommended for the novice breeder.
Foraging: They love to scratch and forage about. They do not mind confinement but would rather not be.
Show Bird: They have been known to be great show birds.
Pets: Not the best pets as they do not like human contact much and can be quite flighty
Other: They do like to forage and roam about
|Flyers?||They are very flighty birds and fly well|
|Noisy Birds?||They are a very noisy breed|
|Interaction with other chickens:||They are not the most social of birds and prefer to stay with those they know rather than newcomers. As with any flock if you are introducing new birds it is best to slowly socialize them with the flock.|
|Good with kids?||Not good with kids as they are quite wild.|
The White-Faced Black Spanish are the true aristocrats of poultry. They way they calmly walk about with their straight stately carriage, heads held high and one foot forward at a time.
If there was a Spanish Don of Chickens these would be them. This is one of the most ancient breeds of chickens with its heritage and origins unknown.
Spanish chickens were held in high regard for their high number of large white eggs these birds laid. In England, these birds had gained recognition for their unusual looks, glossy black plumage and prolific egg laying before 1816.
The Spanish chickens arrived in America in the mid to late 1880’s. They came from Holland and were one of the most well-known poultry breeds. Very popular in New Jersey, Pennsylvania to as far as Ohio. Farmers who were known for selling eggs kept large numbers of these birds right up until the late 1890’s.
hese unique birds were shown in poultry shows in America in 1845 by Mr J.P. Childs from Woonsocket, Rhode Island at the New York State Poultry Society show.
he White-faced Black Spanish breed was admitted to the Standard of Perfection by the American Poultry Association in 1874.
As much as they were valued for their abundance of large white eggs, breeders started to try and develop the breeds white face. The breed was not very hardy and had a rather delicate nature with a lot of chicks not surviving the cold and various other health issues. With breeders trying to increase the breeds white face the bird became even more susceptible to environmental changes. As such the birds soon, lost popularity and were replaced by the new hardier breeds being developed.
This breed no longer has the numbers it used to and is listed as critical by the Livestock Conservancy.
Appearance/Body: It is a large breed of chicken with an upright carriage sporting soft tight-knit glossy black feathers. Its most outstanding feature is its white face and long white earlobes. Its comb and wattles are red.
Color(s) White-Faced Black
Comb: The have a single comb
Ave. Weight: Pullet/Hen 5 – 6 lbs.
Cockerel/Rooster 6 – 7 lbs.
|Life Expectancy:||The average lifespan is 8 years|
|Health:||They are not very hardy birds and stand the heat better than the cold. They will need to get checked for frostbite in colder weather.|
|Temperament:||Calm bearing but wild and flighty if approached|
|Socialize Behavior?||They shy away from or avoid most contact with other animals|
|Known predators:||Most domestic animals leave them alone, but it is always best to keep an eye on dogs and cats.
If hawks and or foxes are in your area it is always best to take precautions.
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 adapt well to most sized gardens and will tolerate confinement usually noisily. They do like to free range and forage about.|
|Ideal Climate:||They prefer the heat and will have to be watched during cold winter months|
|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:|
|Ideal Flock Size:||They do not mind a medium to a large, sized flock.|
|Special Instructions:||Other than their conservancy listing they do not require any special attention.|
|Accessories:||The following accessories are ideal for your coop:
Straw for the boxes and roosting area
Animal carrier for transport purposes
|You may Also Like:||45 FREE DIY CHICKEN COOP PLANS, TUTORIALS AND DESIGNS|
WHERE TO FIND THESE BIRDS TO ADD TO YOUR FLOCK
These birds are quite rare in America although they may be found at some live poultry outlets and farms, or internet dealers such as Purely Poultry it is best to check with American Poultry Association for breeders. Breeders clubs and the Livestock Conservancy will be able to help you find registered breeders with prime stock. They 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.
They are not very hardy birds and are extremely susceptible to the cold, especially the males. Their chicken-run should be sheltered from the wind and direct sunlight.
Their wattles and comb may need to have a bit of Vaseline smeared over in the winter to stop potential frostbite in bitterly cold climates.
These chickens do love their dust bath and will love some added herbal essences mixed into the loose sand to help with pests and excess feather oils. They are flighty birds that do not like to be touched or held much so doing their regular checks for mites, lice and various other parasites may be a bit tricky. Checking for these pests in their feathers should be done at least once a week to your chickens healthy. Always get your birds de-wormed on a regular basis especially if they are around other animals or interacting with kids.
DIET AND NUTRITION
Spanish chickens need a balanced diet of chicken pellets, grains, chicken mash or grain mix from 8 weeks old and older. This should be fed to them first thing in the morning before they are let out to roam about to ensure they are getting all their nutrients.
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.
Although they will not take it from your hand Spanish chickens still love to treated with table scraps in the form of vegetables and fruit. They find these scraps even better if they are served as ice-cubes on very hot days.
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)
The Black-Faced White Spanish are not big on socializing and can be quite a loud flighty bird that can be a bit disruptive in 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.
It is advisable to socialize newcomers to a flock of Spanish slowly and determine when it is right to allow to allow the newcomer to become a permanent part of the 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