American Bresse Standard of Perfection

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.


The Breed Now Has a Draft American Bresse Standard of Perfection

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.

Acceptance of American Bresse into the American Poultry Association

The American Bresse Breed Club has as a goal the acceptance of the American Bresse Chicken into the American Poultry Club (APA). 

Required for APA acceptance are:

  • A minimum of five years of selective breeding of the American Bresse chicken.
  • A minimum of FIVE breeders who have been members of the APA for at least 5 years.
  • Signed affidavits from these five breeders stating that their flocks produce not less than 50% of all specimens being reasonably true to type, color, size and comb.
  • Two "qualifying meets" at least a year apart. At least 5 qualified breeders together presenting at least 50 birds evenly split between cocks, hens, cockerels, and pullets. 

The point of APA acceptance is the point at which the draft American Bresse Standard of Perfection will become finalized and official.

The APA acceptance effort is just beginning, and therefore the draft standard will remain open for feedback, improvements and enhancements for several more years. See the feedback form here should you care to offer feedback (bottom of the page).

Draft American Bresse Standard of Perfection
Briefly Described

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.

An Assignment for American Bresse Breeders...

...should you care to accept it!

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:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the draft American Bresse Standard of Perfection. Even as a draft, the standard brings us much closer to a continent-wide guide on what well-built American Bresse birds should look and feel like.

  2. Evaluate your birds against this draft standard. How close does your flock measure up against it? If you notice any obvious areas needing improvement, you can now formulate a selective breeding plan to address the gaps in your flock and thereby work toward overall flock and breed consistency. See also the Selection Guide at the Breed Club website.

  3. Be good with the idea that not all birds should be used for breeding, at least for the first year or three. Any birds that turn up with serious, "deal-breaker" flaws should ideally find their way onto a dinner table. This is not a bad thing - they still taste amazing. Improvements in body type, utility, and vigor will show up surprisingly quickly with every improvement in the birds used for breeding.

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.

Thanks!









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