The Chantecler is a breed of domestic chicken that was developed in Canada in the early twentieth century. At the time, the only chickens in Canada were those of European and American descent, so Brother Wilfred Chantelain decided to develop a breed that could be used in the cold climate of Canada. He crossbred white leghorns, Rhode Island reds, dark Cornishes, white Plymouth Rocks, and white Wyandottes, creating the white type of this breed.
The Chantecler breed was accepted into the American Poultry Association in 1921. The extinction of the breed, however, was made public in 1979, despite there still being a few farmers who maintained it; this has allowed it to persist into the twenty-first century. Despite its survival, the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy lists it as “Critical.”
Initially, this Chantecler only came in white because it was the most popular color for meat production, but other colors were developed including dark Cornish, brown leghorn, and partridge. Hens weigh between 6.5 and 7.5 pounds, while cocks weigh as much as nine pounds. The feathers lay tight against the body but hold enough fluff to keep the chickens warm in cold temperatures. Hens are relatively efficient at laying eggs and the breed as a whole produces good meat. Although it is a gentle breed, it can become temperamental if confined.
Image Caption: The Chantecler hen (ca. 1926). Credit: Steven Walling/Wikipedia (public domain)