Photo Credit: Photo by Terry Wild
Use: The Catalana chicken is a dual-purpose breed. Hens are non-broody layers of 150 plus medium to large, white- to light-tinted eggs yearly. Photo by Terry Wild
History: Developed in Catalonia, an autonomous region of Spain with Barcelona as its capital, the Catalana chicken is thought to have been developed over a lengthy period using Castillian chickens and Asian stock, possibly Cochins. It was first introduced at the 1902 World’s Fair in Madrid. Despite being well-received, the breed only garnered a small following in the United States. However, Catalanas saw great commercial success in Latin American countries and are still popular there today. In 1998, an Argentine farmer brought some of his Catalana hatching eggs to a show of 10,000 birds in Columbus, Ohio, where they were purchased by several fanciers. The Catalana chicken breed was admitted into the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection in 1949.
Conformation: Catalana chickens are rich buff colored with black tails. The breed has a large red comb with six points. The comb lies down after the first point in hens and stands upright in roosters. The chicken breed’s earlobes are white, and its shanks and toes are blue slate. Catalana cocks weigh 8 pounds and hens weigh 6 pounds; bantam cocks weigh 32 ounces and bantam hens weigh 28 ounces.
Special Considerations/Notes: The Catalana chicken breed is the only Mediterranean breed raised for both for meat and eggs. Urban farmers, in particular, should keep in mind the Catalana’s tendency to fly and intolerance of confinement when designing coops and enclosures. If given free range, a Catalana chicken will forage eagerly and find high places to roost. The breed is not known for being especially friendly and will avoid contact with humans if possible. It is hardy and very tolerant of hot climates. The Catalana chicken breed is listed in the Watch category of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy’s Conservation Priority List.