The Chantecler breed originated in Quebec and is a fine
example of a dual-purpose breed. Brother Wilfred Chatelain a priest first
thought of the idea for the Chantecler when he was walking through the Oka
Agricultural Institute’s poultry flocks. He realized there was no breed of
chicken from Canada, all of the breeds being used in Canada originated in
Europe or America. He wanted to create a breed of chicken that could stand the
harsh winter climate of Canada, and that could be used for egg and meat
The name of the breed comes from the French word “chanter”
meaning “to sing,” and “clair” meaning “bright”.The Chantecler is the first Canadian breed of
chicken. Under the supervision of Brother Chatelain and the monks of the
Cistercian Abbey in Oka Quebec, sought to create a general purpose chicken that
could with stand the harsh Canadian climate. Although work began on this breed
in 1908, it was not introduced to the public until 1918. The breed was admitted
to the American Poultry Association Standard of Perfection in 1921.
The Chantecler breed was created by first crossing a Dark
Cornish Rooster with a White Leghorn Hen, then a Rhode Island Red Rooster with
a White Wyandotte Hen. The pullets from the first cross were bred to a cockerel
from the second cross. Then selected pullets from this last mating were bred to
a White Plymouth Rock Roster, producing the fowl as seen today. Although this
produced a pure White Chantecler, Dr. J. E. Wilkinson of Alberta, decided to
create a similar chicken with a color pattern more suited to range conditions.
One whose color would blend with its environment. He crossed the Partridge
Wyandotte, Partridge Cochin, Dark Cornish, and the Rose Comb Brown Leghorn. He
create the Partridge Chantecler. The Partridge Chantecler was admitted into American
Poultry Standard in 1935.
The breed is prized for having nearly no wattles and a small
cushion comb (the comb appearing much like a small round button sitting low on
the head). This breed is able to withstand the harsh Canadian winter without
worry of frostbite do to their small comb and wattles. The breed is an
excellent layer of brown eggs with a reputation as a good winter layer, and
The Chantecler can still be found in both of its original
colors, White and Partridge (both having yellow flesh and legs). This breed is
an excellent choice for anyone wanting a productive fowl that will do well in a
wintery climate. The breed is known to be calm, gentle, and personable.
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