Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Brabanters - Reinventing History






The Brabanter is a Dutch breed of chicken originating in the historic region of Brabant, which straddles Belgium and the Netherlands. 


The Region of Brabant
Image Source: Absolute Astronomy





It is one of the oldest breeds of Dutch origin with evidence of its existence dating as far back as the early 1500’s.  



"Poultry" - Melchior d’Hondecoeter
Photo Source: National Gallery of Art,
Dublin, Ireland


Early paintings by done by famous Dutch animal painter Melchior d’Hondecoeter (1636-1695) portrays the Brabanter in many of its original colours.  


"Hens and Ducks" - Melchior d’Hondecoeter
Photo Source: 
Dr. Maarten Th. Frankenhuis, Variaties in voortplanting. Paren en baren in Artis, [Oss]: Organon, [Amsterdam]: Artis






"A Cock, Hens and Chicks" Melchior d’Hondecoeter

Photo Source: The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London, U.K.



Popular at one time and appearing in many aristocratic animal holdings, the Brabanter was declared extinct by the early 20th century. It is one of the “re-created” historical breeds having disappeared for a period of time.  The Brabanter received its second chance with its recreation by dedicated Dutch poultrymen by 1920.  


Brabantar - Creme Trio
Photo Source: Unknown

The Bantam Brabantar was created by crossing Bantam Polish varieties with Standard Brabanters in the early 1930’s and was officially recognized by the Dutch Standards in 1934.  Both Standard and Bantam Brabanters are considered a rare breed, even in its native region.

Brabanter - Black Hen
Photo Source - B.K.U. Club

The Brabanter has two main distinguishing characteristics: a small tuff of feathers on its head and a beard. The tuft of feathers is somewhat like a round crest that has been latterly flattened inwards from both sides and narrows to the front of the head; in other words making it seem like a Mohawk haircut. The crest is built up from and behind two bright red, cone shaped horns that are moulded like a “V” and are found at the back of its V-shaped comb.  According to the Dutch Standards, the horns of Standard cocks are not allowed to be longer than 1.75 cm. and the maximum length for hens is 1.0 cm.  For Brabanter Bantams, the maximum length of the horns is 1.0 cm.  Unlike some crested fowl, the Brabanter’s tuft does not impede vision in any way.

Brabantar - Cuckoo Cock Head Close-up
Photo Source: Unknown


The Brabanter’s beard is what is known as a three-piece densely feathered, pronounced beard - two lateral pieces and one frontal piece. 

Brabanter Head Close-up
Photo Source - BKU Club

Brabantar - Gold Black-spotted Head Close-up
Photo Source: Huhner Forum



It has rather wide nostrils, no chin wattles, and small white ear lobes that should not be visible due to the lateral parts of the beard. Brabanters have orange to light brown eyes that should not be obscured by the growth of the lateral parts of the beard.

According to the Breed Standards, weights for Brabanters are as follows:


                        (BKU)             (Kippen Encyclopedie)
Standard Cock:   1.9 – 2.5 kg.    2.0 - 2.5 kg. 
Standard Hen:    1.6 – 2.0 kg.    1.5 - 2.0 kg.

Bantam Brabanter - Yellow White-spotted Cock
Photo Source: Unknown

                       (BKU)             (Kippen Encyclopedie)
Bantam Cock:   0.9 – 1.0 kg      0.6 - 0.7 kg.
Bantam Hen:    0.7 – 0.8 kg      0.5 - 0.6 kg.



It is considered a lively breed with a crescent-shaped body. Bantams and Standards should have the same basic shape, only difference being in size. 

Serious errors in Brabanters include the length of the horns, the appearance of chin wattles, the obscuring of the eyes by the lateral parts of the beard, and the body shape straightening out from a crescent shape.  In the spotted colour varieties – I use “spotted here for lack of a better word as “spangled” does not really describe the patterning nor is there an accurate translation from the Dutch “getoept” - other serious errors are having a “ground” or base colouring too pale, too dark or uneven and the spotting being overbearing, too weak, or uneven.

Brabantar - Gold Black-spotted Chick
Photo Source: Kippen Forum

Brabantar - Gold Black-spotted Chick all Grown Up
Photo Source: Kippen Forum



In both Standard and Bantam colour varieties, hens are said to be good layers of white eggs, even throughout the winter periods. Although not known for going broody, they are supposedly an easy bird to breed with good fertility.
  
In the Netherlands, the recognized colours of the Brabantars are:




Gold Black-spotted (Goud zwartgetoept)



Brabanter - Gold Black-spotted Cock
Photo Source: Kippen Encyclopedie

Brabanter - Gold Black-spotted Hen
Photo Source: Kippen Encyclopedie






Silver Black-spotted (Zilver zwartgetoept)


Brabantar - Silver Black-spotted
Photo Source: Nederlandsche Hoender Club


Brabanter - Silver Black-spotted Cock
Photo Source: Kippen Encyclopedie



Brabanter - Silver Black-spotted Hen
Photo Source: Kippen Encyclopedie





Yellow White-spotted (Geel witgetoept)


Brabanter - Yellow White-spotted Cock
Photo Source: Kippen Encyclopedie

Brabanter - Yellow White-spotted Cock
Photo Source: Kippen Encyclopedie


Blue Laced (Gezoomd blauw)




Brabanter - Blue Laced Cock
Photo Source: Kippen Encyclopedie


Brabanter - Blue Laced Hen
Photo Source: Kippen Encyclopedie



Cuckoo (Koekoek)




Brabanter - Cuckoo Cock
Photo Source: Kippen Encyclopedie

Brabanter - Cuckoo Hen
Photo Source: Kippen Encyclopedie



Self White (Wit)

Brabantar - Self White Trio
Photo Source:  www.seniorennet.be



Brabanter - White Cock
Photo Source: Kippen Encyclopedie

Brabanter - White Hen
Photo Source: Kippen Encyclopedie



Self Black (Zwart)


Brabanter - Black Cock
Photo Source: Kippen Encyclopedie

Brabanter - Black Hen
Photo Source: Kippen Encyclopedie



Some of the newer colours not yet officially recognized include:


Lemon Black-spotted (Citroenzwartgetoept)



Brabanter - Lemon Black-spotted Cock
Photo Source: Kippen Encyclopedie

Brabanter - Lemon Black-spotted Cock
Photo Source: Kippen Encyclopedie



Gold Blue-spotted (Goudblauwgetoept)




Brabanter - Gold Blue-spotted Cock
Photo Source: Kippen Encyclopedie

Brabanter - Gold Blue-spotted Hen
Photo Source: Kippen Encyclopedie



Salmon (Zalmkleur)




Brabanter - Salmon Cock
Photo Source: Kippen Encyclopedie

Brabanter - Salmon Hen
Photo Source: Kippen Encyclopedie



Splash (Splash)




Brabanter - Splash Cock
Photo Source: Kippen Encyclopedie


The Brabantar was once known to exist in the following colour varieties:

Blue White-laced:

Brabantar - Blue White-laced Pair
Photo Source: B.K.U. Club
Golden Black-bearded [and Black-tufted]

Brabantar - Golden Black-bearded



BKU-Club


The BKU-Club was started in 1985 to promote interest and breeding standards of the following Dutch breeds in both Standards and Bantams:

The Brabanter

Brabantar - Creme Pullet
Photo Source:  Courtesy of Show-Me Silkies & Stuff

The Breda Fowl

Breda Fowl - Blue Cock
Photo Source: Unknown


 The Dutch Owlbeard

Dutch Owl Beard - White Moorkop Pair
Photo Source:  ireality.com


www.bkuclub.nl
info@bkuclub.nl

Brabanter - Creme Cockerel
Photo Source: Courtesy of Show-Me Silkies & Stuff


Contact Address:
Secretary: Gerard Vermaas
Prinsenlaan 6
NL 3442 CE Woerden

Tel.: 0031-348414813
E-mail: gerard.vermaas@hetnet.nl


Brabantar - Gold Black-spotted Trio
Photo Source: Unknown

North American Brabantars


In North America, the Brabantar is a rare variety and not yet recognized by the American Poultry Association, but there are a group of breeders in North America who are hoping to one day have this beautiful, historical bird listed in the A.P.A. Standard of Perfection. Brabantars are only available in the following colour varieties:

Crème (more like the Dutch non-recognized Lemon Black-spotted)
and
Gold (like the Dutch recognized Gold Black-spotted)

Brabanter Breeders:

Show-Me Silkies & Stuff - Crème Variety
(http://showmesilkies.com) 



Brabanters are available in North America commercially from:

Sand Hill Preservation Center – Crème and Gold varieties (http://www.sandhillpreservation.com/catalog/chickens.html)

Ideal Poultry Breeding Farms – Crème and Gold varieties

As well as other “drop-ship” hatcheries. 


Any breeders wishing to list here, please contact Cameron at:

mcattack_ca@yahoo.com







Brabanter - Yellow White-spotted
Photo Source: Unknown
Brabantar - Lemon Black-spotted
Photo Source: Huhner Forum

6 comments:

  1. Thanks for such a wonderful article on one of my favourite breeds. Now is I could only bring some back from Holland. (I can't recommend Ideal's stock...)

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  2. Absolutely love this breed and very well written blog. Glad I could lend photos for you to use for this.

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. Great site and description of Melchior and the Branbranter. It is a topic which has interested me for many years. I have used some of the material on my blog (the search for the holy quail). I am looking forward to your taking on the Polish hen whose origins are very controversal. I think that the hen in the lower left of "a cock, hens and chicks" looks like a white Polish.

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  5. Can we have some details about who the recreators were in Holland, what breeds they used?

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  6. I have been raising a male brabanter and I am looking for a female to bread him. If any one is willing to sell one please contact Sonny at csequist@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete