Use: This chicken’s unique v-shaped comb qualifies it as an ornamental breed, though it has great dual-purpose qualities as well. The rarely broody hens lay well and produce large, white eggs into winter months.
History: The La Fleche chicken breed supposedly first appeared during the 5th century in Le Mans, France, according to the American Livestock Breeds Association. It was then taken to Mizeray before finally arriving in its namesake, La Fleche, which translates to “the arrow” in French. The name is also quite fitting for the breed’s arrow-shaped comb. The American Poultry Association’s American Standard of Perfection first recognized the La Fleche in 1874.
Conformation: Close-fitting, black plumage has a slenderizing effect on the somewhat large La Fleche. Its body sits high atop dark-slate shanks. The earlobes are white, and the red wattles are uniform, long and well-rounded on males and smaller on females. The comb, consisting of two round horns located parallel to each other, is bright red. These horns lend to the La Fleche’s nickname, “devil bird.” Standard La Fleche cocks weigh 8 pounds and hens weigh 6½ pounds; bantam cocks weigh 30 ounces and bantam hens weigh 26 ounces.
Special Considerations/Notes: The La Fleche chicken breed is an active forager and prefers to free-range, but it will adapt to confinement if necessary. If given the chance, the La Fleche will roost in trees, so enclosures with tall fences are necessary in keeping this chicken breed contained. The La Fleche can be standoffish and somewhat difficult to tame; however, it more than makes up for this with its reputation as a great layer and producer of juicy, tender meat. The La Fleche is listed in the Watch category of the ALBC’s Conservation Priority List.