American Bresse Standard of Perfection for the American Bresse Chicken breed, supporting their original unique homestead and restaurant qualities.
In early April, 2022, an individual new to American Bresse acquired 100 hatching eggs and chicks from several well-recommended sources.
The new breeder chose to go big with the initial flock foundation because an experienced poultry mentor characterized the current state of American Bresse genetics as “quite a mess.”
Up until now, there hasn't been any breeding standard for the American Bresse breed, though some breeders were able to use the French standard as a guide.
If one thinks the genetics are a mess, then the above breeder's approach is a great one. Instead of abandoning ship, the breeder is choosing to start with a wide gene pool and then breed with care going forward.
A draft American Bresse Standard of Perfection is good, because one does indeed find variations of quality between different flocks of American Bresse chickens. The differences aren't massive, but there are variations of size, height, width, clean white vs. black spot bleed-through, variations in the intensity of the blue leg color, and more.
Such variations are typical of any poultry breed that is only ten years into selective breeding.
The "cluttered" gene pool is still to be expected, and is not necessarily ‘bad.’ What is very cool is that under their feathers, American Bresse are still characterized by their important unique features: The fat-marbled meat, thin white skin, and the ability to lay many eggs per season.
What is also good is that the American Bresse breed is grabbing the attention of chicken breeders such as the one mentioned above. More and more breeders are becoming interested in banding together under an American Bresse Breed Club banner in order to address and IMPROVE the genetics of the American Bresse chicken.
The American Bresse Standard of Perfection sets the direction for the breed so that all breeders can strive toward the same goals.
The current draft version lists the breed's classification and general description:
"A medium sized fowl, long body, elegant, alert, fine boned, thin white skinned. The goal is to improve the type of the egg layer and flesh qualities. All body features balanced in size and proportions with strong fleshing down the keel line."
It lists serious defects:
"Squirrel tail, body too narrow, under sized, erect female comb, falling over/twisted male comb or poorly developed male comb, split wing, knock knees, white in the face, bent toes, straw coloring, light colored legs in the female, poor fleshing."
It also specifies in considerable detail the general characteristics of male and female birds, including weight parameters and the specific descriptions of each area of the body, from comb to tail, legs and feet.
The author, Ms. Mandelyn Royal, included photos (see photo at right) with explanations as to balance, body capacity, and width.
Please do click through and read the draft standard.
Is it your goal to breed your flock toward the Standard for improvement in consistency and body type? If so, here is how you can get a head start on a breeding plan:
Do you see ways to improve the draft standard? Any changes or adjustments that need to be made in your opinion? Feel free to offer constructive feedback, especially as long as the standard is still in draft form! To do so, please make a comment, or send a note to the breed club website.
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