Poultry Breeds


(submitted by Gerri Pringle)

Euskal Oiloa first came into being as a natural breed evenly distributed across farms of the historical territories of Bizkaia, Araba and Gipuzkoa of the Basque Country (Euskal Herria) of Spain.  Recovery and preservation of this breed began in 1975 when Dr. Fernando Orozco and his team at the Department of Animal Genetics INIA recognized the devastating impact that the use of hybrid laying hens for commercial production of the regionally preferred brown shelled eggs was having on the native breed. Based on this work, Dr. Jose Antonio Mendizabal drafted the spanish breed standard. The introduction of basque fowl into North America is relatively recent and the breed has attracted a following in Canada and the United States as a result of the combination of traits for hardiness, attractive color patterns, a friendly temperament, and good egg and meat producing properties.”
Euskal Oiloa show the morphological characteristics of the European Atlantic chicken type. Chickens are a light heavyweight, simple combed chicken, toes are yellow with redder legs. They have red earlobes. The tight plumage and round feathers mean this is a hardy vigorous breed and suitable for dual purpose-meat and eggs.
Roosters about 3.6 kg (8 pounds).
Adult hen 2.5 kg (5.5ibs)

The Euskal Oiloa have no fear of Humans. In a flock of mixed breeds, they tend to be assertive and higher in the pecking order.
The basque hens are an outgoing friendly breed, that will approach you every time you go out near them. Both males and females will sit on your knee as long as you will have them there. They will peck at your fingers, toes and your jewellery as they are curious chickens. Some Euskal Oiloa will be more shy but watch the others and often you will have a little flock of these following you around. They are ones right under your feet while the other breeds stand back.

Good layers and not so Broody
The basque Hens and pullets we have lay a surprisingly large egg for the size of hen. The eggs grade at least as a Extra Large here in Canada. The size standard is 60-65 grams. The standard is for 180-220 eggs a year and the birds lay a big brown egg most days.

Good Foragers
The basque hen is a great free ranging and foraging breed. They can move quickly and the roosters make polite and attentive guards. They do equally well in a smaller coop, though they will walk up and down the run where they can see you.


Euskal Oiloa

Rhode Island Red Chickens [Standards and Bantams]

(submitted by Ted Baker)

As the name suggests, Rhode Island Red [RIR] chickens were developed in that state more than 100 years ago. The plumage of true RIR is a lustrous, rich, dark red with black in the tail and some black in the wings. The head, comb and lobes are a bright red with legs and toes yellow.

Rhode Island Reds are one of the best dual purpose Heritage breeds and can be excellent egg producers. The young males also make reasonable meat birds. Many of the strains have been selected to continue these very desirable traits.

The Poultry Club is currently hatching RIR eggs from various sources with the goal of establishing some breeding flocks of quality Heritage stock on Salt Spring. We will then be able to hatch our own eggs to supply our own needs and assist in preserving this wonderful breed.

RIR bantams are miniatures of the larger chickens They also are a good dual purpose chicken for their size.

Commercial RIRs have been selected for egg production and are not true to type and are much lighter in colour.


An excellent example of a Rhode Island Red rose comb cock. Note the shape of the comb. Rose comb chickens were particularly practical in cold winter areas.


A quality Rose Comb Rhode Island Red hen good enough for any flock.


A very good Rhode Island Red cock showing true colour and type.


This is a pen of Dick’s Single Comb Rhode Island Reds

Photos of the Rhode Island Reds were taken by Dick Horstman and are his birds. Dick lives in Pennsylvania and has raised and shown poultry most of his life.

On a regular basis specific breeds will be featured on this page. These breeds will be archived for future reference.