Despite being an incredible breed for both meat and egg production, La Flèche chickens are, unfortunately critically endangered. This breed has a unique appearance, proudly sporting a very interesting looking V-shaped comb.
About La Flèche Chickens
Despite the fact that these chickens look Spanish, La Flèche chickens originally came from a village just east from Paris. Many french chickens are bred for meat production, but the La Flèche may be the best bred french bird for meat production.
In 1874, these birds were accepted into the American Poultry Association in the black variety. Up to this point, Black La Flèches are the only color variety has been accepted into the American Poultry Association.
La Flèche Characteristics
1. Size and Weight
La Flèches can come off looking a bit slim due to their tight feathers, but they are actually some hefty chickens. Male chickens weigh approximately 8 pounds at full-grown weight. Hens weigh in a tad smaller at 6.5 pounds when fully grown.
If you are looking for a pet chicken, La Flèches will not be at the top of your list. These chickens are wild and flighty, not ones for much cuddling and lap sitting. Being active and wild do come in handy if you’re planning on free-ranging your birds, they’ll do well in such an environment.
3. Egg Production
Egg production from these lovely hens is fairly decent for a larger, dual-purpose bird. You can expect about 180 eggs from a single hen in a year. Average weight of an egg from a La Flèche hen is approximately 60 grams.
4. Meat Production
La Flèches are highly regarded for their excellent meat with many fantastic qualities that make them very desirable. These birds have very nice looking carcasses with thin, white skin that looks great on a dinner table. La Fleches also have tender and juicy meat that makes them especially sought after for tasty dishes.
Caring for La Flèches
1. Feeding and Nutrition
Young birds require a good quality chick starter for a strong start in life and healthy growth. La Flèches are slower growing birds and it’s a good idea to keep them on chick starter for the first 16 weeks of their life. Around 16 weeks of age, transition your growing birds to a complete diet for laying hens.
If you are planning on eating your chickens, giving them a free-range diet and plenty of healthy scraps will make for more flavorful meat.
Sometimes hens will need a bit of supplemental calcium to keep strong and healthy eggshells. This can be provided in the form of oyster shells or crushed up eggshells. If you do crush your hen’s eggshells, be sure to remove the membrane on the inside of the shell first so the pieces don’t lump together. Any supplemental calcium is best served in a separate dish than the laying rations.
2. Housing and Fencing
La Flèches will tolerate confinement or free-ranging depending on your preferences, but if you are confining them, provide them with as much space as possible.
Inside the coop, a minimum of 3-4 square feet is important to make sure everyone isn’t all up in everyone else’s business. For the run, 10+ square feet of space per chicken to range is ideal so your chickens have plenty of room to stretch and lounge.
3. Health Issues and Care
All chickens are certainly at risk of catching a number of minor and serious ailments. However, La Flèches don’t harbor any special susceptibility to sickness. Keep a close eye on the behavior of your flock to catch anything amiss before it gets out of hand.
Internal and external parasites are incredibly frustrating but are a common issue among poultry that needs to be dealt with when discovered. Lice and mites are external parasites that need to be rid of through a thorough coop cleaning and bird dusting. Worms are generally easier to rid yourself of with water treatment.
Many breeding programs have been established for the La Flèches in the past few years as an attempt to raise the breed’s numbers. La Flèches is still listed as critically endangered by the Livestock Conservancy. New breeders passionate about preserving this chicken’s heritage are crucial to the survival of the La Flèche.
You can connect with other groups of La Flèche Breeders online to find good stock and breeding resources.
La Flèche Breed Alternatives
Marans are another french breed with similar qualities and attributes. Black Copper Marans, in particular, resemble La Flèches with feathered feet and a gorgeous feather sheen. Marans are well known for the dark, chocolate brown egg they lay making them desirable to many fowl fanciers.
Did You Know?
The name “La Flèche” means “the arrow” in French. While many speculate this name was derived from the V shape of the comb, this name came from the geographical origin of this chicken.
La Flèche chickens is a french meat bird chicken, that also provides a fair amount of eggs. Known for their V-shaped comb, they are critically endangered.
If you are seeking a break from the bleak meat of grocery stores, the La Flèche is a fantastic option. You will appreciate the tasty meat and eggs that are produced by this dual-purpose breed.