Last week my Egyptian Fayoumi hen fell prey to the neighbor’s dogs that have formed a pack and started tormenting my flock.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget that chicken because of her unique disposition. Once she left the brooder, I never laid another hand on her. Despite the fact she eventually got cornered by 5 dogs, she was so wily and evaded predator attacks countless times before she met her demise.
The flighty personalities of Fayoumi chickens are strangely entertaining as they flit about the farm untouched by their keepers.
About Egyptian Fayoumi Chickens
These chickens have descended from jungle fowl that is believed to have been around for 3,000 years. Though Fayoumi chickens have been in North America since 1940, they have yet to be accepted into the Standard of Perfection with the American Poultry Association.
Egyptian Fayoumis were imported by the Dean of Agriculture with the Iowa State University. Ever since the breed was imported, they have become a reasonably popular breed in the United States.
Egyptian Fayoumi Characteristics
1. Size and Weight
True to their jungle fowl ancestry, Fayoumis are small birds. These are very gangly looking birds with very little meat on their bones. The full grown weight of an Egyptian Fayoumi hen is approximately 3.5 pounds. Fayoumi roosters generally don’t top 5 pounds.
As you might have gathered, Egyptian Fayoumis are not the friendliest birds around. Generally flighty and antisocial, these aren’t in the top 10 birds you would keep for pets.
However, their skittishness can have its advantages in free ranging. Most predators such as hawks have a hard time catching these birds as they dart about and are very alert of their surroundings.
3. Egg Production
Fayoumi chickens are well known for reaching maturity earlier than many breeds and typically start laying eggs around four months of age. These hens will produce about 150 small white eggs per year on an average.
4. Meat Production
A quick glance at these scrawny looking birds and it will become fairly obvious they aren’t ideal for meat production. For one interested in meat production birds, you can look into dual-purpose chickens or meat breeds.
Taking Care of Egyptian Fayoumis
1. Feeding and Nutrition
This is a breed of chicken that is incredibly feed-efficient if you leave them to their own devices. If allowed to forage during the summer, the primary feed consumption will only be during the winter months when they can’t find what they want by foraging. However, always provide food to make sure your birds are getting the nutrients they need.
When your Fayoumis are chicks, provide them with chick starter until 12-14 weeks. Once your birds are between 12 and 14 weeks of age, you’ll need to transition them to a good quality laying feed. The transition from chick starter to laying feed is a little earlier than most birds because Egyptian Fayoumis will lay a bit earlier than most chickens.
2. Housing and Fencing
One thing that set my Fayoumi apart from the rest of the flock was the fact she was never in the run with the flock.
Keeping your Egyptian Fayoumis contained in any run without a top is a futile effort. If you choose to keep your Fayoumis in a run, a minimum of 10 sq feet per bird is ideal to provide enough room for everyone. In the coop, provide 3-4 sq feet per chicken to make sure it’s roomy enough for your birds.
3. Health Issues and Care
Egyptian Fayoumi chickens are generally healthy and robust birds with few issues. It’s important to maintain a healthy flock by keeping clean living quarters and closely supervising your birds for anything amiss. Provide plenty of dust bathing areas to let your birds combat external parasites.
Breeding Fayoumi chickens is a fun and exciting project that can be challenging at times. When looking for support and advice in breeding this bird, consider joining an online forum such as backyardchickens.com and looking at the threads for this breed.
Silver Campines strongly resemble Egyptian Fayoumis, but Golden Campines do look a bit different with their beautiful orange hued feathers.
Campines are also active and flighty chickens with the same egg and meat production qualities as Fayoumis.
Hamburg chickens are small and stunning birds with about the same body weight as Fayoumis. These charming and spangled chickens produce a fair amount of small and pearly white eggs.
Hamburgs are a bit more docile than the Egyptian Fayoumi and can make good pets if handled well as chicks.
Fun Facts about Egyptian Fayoumis
You knew that Egyptian Fayoumis mature early, but did you know that Fayoumi roosters can crow as early as five weeks old? With as crazy as a 4-month-old rooster sounds, imagine how a 5-week old cockerel sounds! Better be ready for some early mornings once your little boys learn how to use their vocal cords.
Egyptian Fayoumis might not be for every flock, but they are certainly fun to have around if you have the space to accommodate their free-ranging tendencies. Adding a ton of spunk and liveliness to any flock, these chickens are wonderful additions to any coop.