The Fayoumi Chicken
The Fayoumi chicken, also known as the Egyptian Fayoumi, had its origins in Egypt. The breed is named for the Faiyum Governorate which lies west of the Nile south west of Cairo. This striking bird is a very old breed and very similar in appearance to the Silver variety of the Campine chicken from Belgium.
There is some evidence to suggest that both may be descended from similar sources. The Fayoumi is not recognised by the American Poultry Association and is not included in the Standard of Perfection. Iowa State University imported some of the breed in the 1940s. It is not known if there were any in the United States prior to that time. In 1984 they were imported into the United Kingdom by the Domestic Fowl Trust.
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The Fayoumi has an appearance somewhat like a roadrunner with the breast and neck jutting forward. The tail is held in an erect fashion. Cocks weigh only about 4 ½ lbs and hens 3 ½ lbs so they are classified as a 'light' breed. The breed is very handsome. The cocks have silver-white heads, necks and saddle with the rest of the plumage being black and white barred. Hens are barred apart from the heads and necks which are silver-white. Such barring, when it occurs in silver or gold plumage is known as 'pencilled'. The Fayoumi is only found in the one variety.
The Fayoumi has a single red comb, a dark beak and slate blue skin. The wattles and earlobes are red and the earlobes have a white spot. The wattles are quite large. It is a hardy breed and there is evidence from genetic research and anecdotal support from breeders to suggest it has a very high resistance to viral and bacterial problems. As might be expected with their Egyptian background, they cope well with high temperatures. Fayoumis will need a high fence or covered yard as they are great escape artists and fly well. They 'talk' a lot and make a lot of noise when caught, reminiscent more of a guinea fowl than a chicken.
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Fayoumi are early maturing birds with pullets laying at ten weeks of age. They may go broody after several seasons of laying. The eggs are small and off-white. They are good layers. They are also great foragers and will need little in the way of supplementary feeding if they are given the opportunity to find their own food. They will cope quite well generally if left to their own devices.