Braekel chicken is one of the oldest European chicken breeds. It is also known as Brakel, Everyday Layer, Nuns Hen, Farmyard Hen and The Grey Neck. Braekel chicken is a dual purpose breed and originated from the Brakel region of Belgium. This chicken breed was very popular and was available on every smallholding hundred years ago in it’s native area. They were popular mainly as a dual purpose chicken breed. They were admired and kept by the people because they provided a good table bird (the meat having a slight game flavor) and laid well. Braekel chicken is still a very rare breed. Hard times during and after the Second World War caused serious decline in the number of viable flocks, the breed was pushed to its limits of near extinction. There is also a bantam variety of Braekel chicken.
Braekel chicken breed is pretty similar to the Campine chicken. Although, the Campine has evolved differently from the Braekel. And the most noticeable differences between the true Braekel and Campine are the hen-feathering of the rooster and the lower weight. In the past, two distinct types of Braekel chickens were recognized. The light weight type from the less fertile region ‘Kempen’, and the heavy type living on rich clay soil of Flanders. The distinction vanished and results single type due to crossbreeding between the different types.
The main characteristics of the Braekel chicken are an uniform solid neck color, and a straight banding pattern of the feathers. They have tall single tipped comb and white earlobes. Comb and wattles are red in color in both roosters and hens. Many color varieties exist, but gold and silver color varieties are most common. On an average Braekel roosters weight about 2-2.5 kg and hens about 1.8-2.2 kg (bantam roosters weight about .8kg and hens about .7 kg). Ring sizes are 18 mm and 16 mm for standard-sized cocks and hens, and 13 mm and 11 mm respectively for bantams. Braekel hens are good layers. They are capable of laying 180-200 eggs per year. They produce white colored eggs. Photo from Wikipedia.
Braekel chickens are very hardy and active breed. They can tolerate almost all climates. They are very strong and well resistant to diseases. They are good foragers and tend to roam around the yard and fields, looking for insects, seeds, worms and greens. They are also very good for free range system. See full breed profile of Braekel chicken below.
Braekel Chicken | Breed Profile
|Other Name||Brakel, Everyday Layer, Nuns Hen, Farmyard Hen and The Grey Neck|
|Breed Purpose||Dual Purpose|
|Breed Temperament||Active, Hardy, Very Strong|
|Climate Tolerance||All Climates|
|Varieties||Many color varieties exist, but Gold and Silver color varieties are most common|