Whooo Hooo one of my near dreams that may come true very soon
Taken from Penedesenca (Ireland) Website
Many years ago, the country houses of the Catalan districts of the Penedés bred hens characterized by laying dark brown eggs. During the first half of the 20th century there were several attempts at defining a standard for them without any success. Only the standard for a black variety (Black Villafranquina) was approved in 1946 in the Spanish State.
In the latter half of the century, the spread of the birds was very limited. There were only a very few left and the breed was in great danger of extinction. Those that did remain constituted a very heterogeneous population in their plumage colour, but they did share some characteristics, amongst these were: a comb with lateral appendixes, white earlobes, blue slate legs and laying very dark brown eggs.
Their recovery was begun in 1982 in the Poultry Genetics Unit of the “Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimetàries (IRTA)” of the “Generalitat de Catalunya” in the “Center Mas Bové” of Reus (Tarragona - Spain). This work was carried to term by the Biologist Dr. Amadeu Francesch and the veterinary Dr. Antonio Jordà in the IRTA.When the scientists had developed a population of some 300 hens and their respective roosters, they began work to standardise the breed. This involved 2 phases: to discover the genes involved in the plumage color and to get individuals which bred pure for these genes.
The result of their work has been to breed pure strains and create a standard for the Penedesenca in the 4 varieties Barrada (Crele), Negra (Black), Aperdizada (Partridge) and Trigueña (Wheaten). Work has now begun to spread the breed through Catalonia, Spain, Holland , Germany, U.K., Ireland and USA in order to ensure its survival.
HEAD: Mildly lengthened and wide.
BEAK Lengthened, middling curved and strong.
EYES: Half size and oval.
COMB: Simple, mildly big, right, well sitting on the head, flat, with five or six plane short peaks, with the last and the first smaller than the central ones. Separate from the head at the end and arched at the base, with the end with following the posterior part of the head. With appendixes to each side of their posterior part.
WATTLES: Medium sized and hanging.
EAR LOBES: Mildly lengthened, lightly lined, very united to the head for the upper part, and suspended the lower part.
NECK: Regularly arched, proportionally long concerning to the body, with abundant hackle resting on the back.
WINGS: Big, well pleated and belted to the body. They mustn’t surpass it.
BACK: Wide, inclined from before back and with abundant hackles, rounded and lengthened.
BREAST: Width, profound, lengthened, prominent; with well arched ribs.
TAIL: Developed, very inhabited of feathers and open. It has two longer feathers well curved (with sickle form), inserted in angle of 45º through the horizontal.
THIGHS: Half longitude and vigorous.
LEGS: Middling lengthened, flat, very separate and free of feathers.
TOES: In number of four, strong, open and straight.
APPEARANCE: Harmonic and vigorous
Wheaton Hen (my absolute favourite)
HEAD, FACE and BEAK: Like the rooster.
COMB: Simple, mildly big, with five or six teeth very definite and jagged, fall toward a side of the face and with appendixes like in the rooster.
WATTLES, EAR LOBES, WING, BACK and BREAST: Like in the rooster.
TAIL: Abundant, long and in angle between 40º and 45º through the horizontal.
THIGHS, SHANKS and TOES: Like those of the rooster.
APPEARANCE: Like that of the rooster.