White-Faced Black Spanish

  1. GPS1504
    An interesting chicken I recently discovered and wish to someday add to my flock is the White-Faced Black Spanish (WFBS). They are extremely unique to look at, having a white face and low-hanging white earlobes. This look does take one or two molts to appear, but when it does, it is very captivating and stands in stark contrast with the rest of their bodily color and black feathers. As a result of having a white face, they are sometimes known as the "Clown Chicken" since their faces look painted much like that of a clown. To some, however, they have a somewhat ghostly appearance as well, which has proven to be a little off-putting.

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    The White-Faced Black Spanish is thought to have originated in the Mediterranean and was used in England in the early 1800's. They were known then to be dependable egg layers and have a reputation to this day of laying around 180 eggs per year and rarely going broody. These eggs are large and bright white but can be hard to find as White-Faced Black Spanish chickens have a known habit of laying in odd or unusual places.

    As a breed, they do not have the most favorable reputation. They are said to be loud and flighty in addition to being high maintenance and slow to mature and develop. They are also known for getting into things and places they should not, much like a chicken version of Dennis the Menace. It is possible that your WFBS will be friendly but the odds are just as good that he or she may be standoffish. The good news, however, is that they are naturally curious, so bonding with them is possible if their curiosity overcomes their aloofness. They are also known to tolerate confinement without problems.

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    Other physical characteristics of the White-Faced Black Spanish include a black beak, dark brown eyes, the pure white face for which they are known, and dark legs with four toes. Roosters typically weigh 8lbs and hens weigh 6lbs. They have a single comb that is bright red and has five points that are well-defined. The comb on roosters tends to fall to the side whereas it remains upright on hens. The wattles also red in addition to being long and thin, with white sometimes appearing on the upper inside portion.

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    While these chickens were extremely popular upon arriving in the United States in 1825, their popularity began to decline around 1895. This is because they were more difficult to maintain than other breeds and thus were replaced with those breeds. As of now, the breed is listed in the 'Critical' category of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy's Conservation Priority List. If you are willing to accept an active, animated chicken breed into your flock, consider adding a White-Faced Black Spanish. However, if you like it quiet and easy-going, this may not be a good breed choice for you.

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