Have you ever wanted a fluffy chicken with a comical personality to match? If so, the Salmon Faverolles might be for you!
These medium-sized chickens are unique in appearance, consistently lay eggs, and are also quite friendly, making them an excellent choice for the backyard.
Now that you know a little bit about this dual purpose chicken, I hope I’ve piqued your interest in choosing a Faverolle chicken for your coop.
In the following guide, we’ll take a closer look at their egg laying, temperament, and general care requirements.
Let’s start by learning about the history of the breed!
The World’s Most Popular French Chicken
The Salmon Faverolles are believed to originate from a quaint French village by the name Faverolles (makes sense!) in Lower Normandy.
A common theory is that their heritage relates to breeds such as the Brahma, Dorking, Flemish Cuckoo, French Rennes, and Malines, but other local chicken breeds could be a part of their origin story too.
An important part of the breed’s history dates back to the Parisian markets, where people preferred the Houdan breed of chicken to supply fresh eggs and meat.
The problem with the Houdan chicken, though, was that it struggled in confinement and farmers found their behavior in the cages difficult to manage.
Breeding The Faverolles
French farmers wanted a hardy breed that could handle confinement while also being a good meat bird and egg layer, so they turned their attention to the Faverolles. By 1886 when the Salmon Faverolles reached the UK, breeders successfully refined the color and plumage of this dual purpose chicken.
UK poultry enthusiasts were so impressed by these birds that a UK breed standard was established around 1894.
Then, in the early 1900s a man known as Dr. Phelps from Glen Falls, New York, decided to ship the breed to the States where the bearded chickens were met with much enthusiasm.
Today the Salmon Faverolles continue to steadily grow in popularity among many backyard chicken keepers.
Are Salmon Faverolle Chickens Rare?
When first kept by farmers in France, the Salmon Faverolles was bred for cold hardiness and to lay eggs in winter.
Today, the Livestock Conservancy lists these chickens as rare, partly because they’ve been replaced by faster maturing breeds and are only now becoming a popular novelty bird for urban and backyard chicken enthusiasts.
What are the Distinct Features of the Salmon Faverolles?
The Salmon Faverolles have a red single comb with 5 points and very small wattles in both the hens and roosters. Their eyes are a shade of reddish bay, while the beak has a pink tinge or horn color.
The Salmon Faverolles chicken has a trapezoid body shape with a broad back and deep breast. They have five toes, feathered legs, beards, and short tufts along with fluffy feathers that create the appearance of a full-bodied chicken.
Their leg feathers keep them warm during the cold winter weather (and add to their comical appearance).
The Salmon Faverolle is also known as a soft feather bird with wings, back, and head consisting of honeyed salmon coloring.
These chickens have white skin and leg color with five toes which are said to come from the genes of other chicken breeds such as the Dorking.
Owing to their abundance of fluffy feathers, Salmon Faverolles appear much larger than they really are.
Since the Salmon Faverolle chickens were originally bred as meat birds despite also being good egg layers, the result is a medium-sized bird that is wide across the chest and back – this is where mass is most desirable.
Poultry Association Breed Size and Standard
The Poultry Associations of America and Europe recognize the standard and the bantam Faverolles. The bantam variety was established in 1925 but is not as sought after as the standard size Salmon Faverolles.
According to the American Poultry Association (APA), the weight standard for the American variety is 8 lbs for the Salmon Faverolles Rooster and 6.5 lbs for the Salmon Faverolles Hen.
In bantams, males weigh 30 oz and the females 26 oz.
Despite the Faverolles chicken including a variety of colors, The American Poultry Association recognizes only salmon and white colors.
What are the Salmon Faverolles colors? The white variety was produced in 1905, but only accepted into the breed standard in 1981 while the salmon variety was approved by the APA much earlier in 1914. Today, you can also find Blue and Black Faverolle chickens.
DID YOU KNOW
The Faverolle is the only chicken breed in the world with the salmon color and pattern.
You can recognize Salmon Faverolles by their signature white breast with salmon speckles. Plus, there is a significant difference in feather color between the hens and the roosters.
Female Salmon Faverolles are considered light wheaten with a light gray underbelly, while the roosters have a pitch-black beard, black breast, and underbelly.
Roosters also have tail colors that are beetle green, with plumage known as golden duck wing – this is quite uncommon in other breeds!
How to Sex Salmon Faverolle Chicks
In Salmon Faverolles baby chicks as young as 2 weeks, the cockerel (male) will have a black color on the wings, while the pullets (female) display a light brown coloring on the wings.
By 20 to 21 days of age, there is a clear difference between the wing color of the males and females.
Are Salmon Faverolles Good Layers?
They can be considered as good egg layers, because when it comes to egg production, Faverolles can produce between 150-180 eggs per year with some chickens laying up to 240 eggs yearly.
You can expect at least 4 eggs each week, which is excellent for a meat chicken!
Salmon Faverolles Eggs
Salmon Faverolles hens will start laying eggs at around 20 weeks of age. The egg size will typically be medium size to large size, and will reach its full size when your hens mature.
Faverolles tend to lay in winter months, but if you want consistent egg production during the very dark days of the cold season, you’ll need to add a light to the coop.
Salmon Faverolles chickens aren’t known to go broody, but you may come across some broody hens that would make good sitters.
Salmon Faverolle Egg Color
These chickens lay tinted eggs. It could be brown or pink eggs, however, you may come across one or two eggs with a cream tint or pale color.
These meat birds are large in weight and can provide high-quality table fare for a family of four.
In France, the Salmon Faverolle is the only chicken incorporated into a special dish known as ‘Petit Possin,’ which translates to ‘small-breasted.’
What is the Salmon Faverolles Personality?
Many Faverolle fanciers have described their birds as gentle and very sociable, making them great for a mixed flock. No wonder this docile breed is ever-growing in popularity!
The Faverolle personality is calm, friendly, and very curious.
They always tend to check new things out, especially if you make changes to their coop or pot around the garden.
Fun To Watch
Salmon Faverolles are also entertaining to watch, as they tend to get up to mischief when left to their own devices.
You’ll even catch a few of them energetically running around the coop or participating in a little game I like to call “yard bumping.”
While they are robust in size, they are gentle at heart and tend to be at the bottom of the pecking order. So be careful when keeping them with aggressive breeds as they might get bullied.
You’ll have to look out for bullying from other chickens that are more assertive in temperament, especially concerning food and territory.
Salmon Faverolles Rooster Temperament
The roosters tend to be gentler than other breeds and are protective and respectful of their hens.
The sound is interesting when Salmon Faverolles roosters crow. It’s expressed in the lower register and can be quite loud, so think twice before you add a roo to your backyard chicken coop!
Happy Go Lucky Chickens
From what we know about the Salmon Faverolles, if you want a happy-go-lucky chicken that has a lot of love to give and gets on well with pretty much all the chickens in your coop, then this feather legged bird will be a great addition.
Salmon Faverolles Coop Size and Care
Your Salmon Faverolles chicken needs a minimum of 4 feet of coop space. While this breed of chicken was meant to do well in confinement, they do need their space and comfort to allow their personalities to shine through.
Faverolles do well in cold climates because of their feathered legs and dense plumage, but this can be disadvantageous in warmer weather.
Faverolle chickens enjoy stretching out to cool down in summer, so you should give them enough space to avoid them getting trampled by other chickens – and so they get sufficient shade to prevent heat stress.
The feathered legs on the Salmon Faverolles keep them warm in cold and freezing conditions.
However, their densely feathered legs and feet can also suffer from chill and frostbite, so they should always have a clean, dry coop in which they can find shelter when they need it.
Because of the size of the single comb, look out for frost-bitten tips when hens and roosters free range in the snow.
As an urban backyard keeper, your Salmon Faverolles should also have time to free range. They are such animated characters and enjoy foraging and running around the yard, which is the best time to catch them getting up to their silly antics!
Housing for Laying Hens
You should have at least one nesting box for every four hens that is also spacious and secure.
You’ll still have to look out for other chickens that may bully your Salmon Faverolle hen right out of the box while laying. A hen that is unable to peacefully lay her eggs will easily become stressed.
Hen House Size
One hen should be comfortable in a nest box of 12 inches wide by 12 inches deep. She should be able to stand and move around with ease.
The nesting area should also be well-ventilated, particularly in summer when these heavily feathered birds can overheat during egg laying.
Roosts for Salmon Faverolles
Another important consideration when housing Salmon Faverolles chickens is the dimensions and positioning of the roost.
Faverolles chickens aren’t tall, but they are broad and heavy so a secure roost is a must.
The roost should be just under two inches wide and not positioned too high off the ground – this will make it so they can easily jump on and off without injuring themselves.
You may be wondering why I’m paying so much attention to the roost for this particular breed.
In short, it’s because their leg and foot feathers tend to soak up moisture in wet and cold conditions. The wet feathers chill their legs very quickly, which increases their risk of stress and frostbite.
By correctly spacing the roosts, these chickens can easily hunker down at night and cover their legs and feet with their bodies.
This way, they keep their legs warm by using their upper body heat. Faverolles also enjoy huddling together during winter like penguins, so be sure to create a sheltered space where your birds can provide one another with warmth and comfort!
How to Raise a Salmon Faverolles Chicken
Salmon Faverolles are not fussy chickens, and when their basic needs are met they should give you many years of entertainment and beautiful eggs.
To raise them comfortably, their coop size should provide four square feet of space per bird, and runs must include ten square feet for each chicken.
Prevent Coop Stress
Despite the Faverolles being able to tolerate confinement, when cramped in a mixed flock, pecking order and stress-related issues can occur. This sweet bird is more likely to become the target of bullying, often suffering feather loss and skittishness.
The diet of a Faverolle chicken should consist of a quality feed supplemented by bugs, grasses, and edible weeds they can find by foraging in the yard.
If your chickens don’t have access to small bits of stone in a natural environment, you can provide a fine-grit as free choice to keep their crops healthy.
Common Health Issues
Salmon Faverolles are generally healthy birds, but their dense feathering makes them prone to lice and mite infestations. So make sure to do regular checking to avoid infestations.
Salmon Faverolles Pest Prevention
You can prevent pests from irritating your chickens by providing them a soft sand patch to give themselves a dust bath.
If you do happen to find parasites on your birds, you can dust them manually with fowl-friendly powder.
When dusting, cover their heads to prevent your chickens from inhaling the powder, because this can cause respiratory issues.
How Long Do Salmon Faverolles Live?
Salmon Faverolles are strong and healthy when provided the right environment, good food, care, and attention. They can live up to 7 years and some describe them as the ultimate pet chickens.
If you’re looking for a hen that is fluffy, cuddly, and acts more like your pet dog than chicken, then the Salmon Faverolles could be great pets for you!
They get along with kids, and even the roosters are friendly and gentle.
Because they tolerate confinement and they can’t really fly, they are perfect for backyard chicken keepers. Allow them to forage in fair weather conditions, and you’ll watch their personalities flourish. Some time outdoors also helps them naturally supplement their diet.
The Salmon Faverolle comes from a small village in France and is also the only chicken breed in the world to don that salmon pattern and color. So if you’re looking for a unique or exotic bird to add to your coop, the Salmon Faverolles are a perfect choice.
Aside from their adorable fluffy faces, they are considered as good luck chickens, Faverolles are also excellent in their egg laying and their demeanor with other chickens.
Feel Free To Share!
I can tell you firsthand! Now that you know all about the Salmon Faverolle chicken, I truly hope that you’ll share this with your fellow chicken enthusiasts or anyone else interested in adding this French chicken to their urban coop.
Chapter 2 Breed Appearance: Deutsches Lachshuhn By Marcus Pötschke-Schneider – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0