As the title suggests these are a French breed originating in a small village located in Northern France.
There are many interesting discussions around how Faverolles as we know them first evolved, the general consensus is they are a mixture of Dorking, Houdin, cochin and Brahma.. with a dash of random french farmyard birds!
The Asiatics were a feature probably in the make-up of Faverolles around the 1800s when these large fancies first came into Europe.
This combination worked well as a useful dual purpose bird, having good size and egg-laying capabilities. Faverolles lay on average 190 pink tinted medium cream eggs per year. They are also renowned for laying through the winter months which is a nice bonus.
. Faverolles came to the UK in 1886 where it was used commercially for a while as a good egg layer, however primarily as a meat bird. Faverolles although a beautiful bird in the garden and on the show bench it is key to recognize that Faverolles are first and foremost a traditional meat bird. In this respect it is important to consider these qualities in type when breeding. A heavy, wide shouldered solid bird with good weight is preferred.
Faverolles as I mentioned are a good dual-purpose bird, indeed we have our strain of utility faverolles here at Beanwood. The difference being they are selected for weight, not size, and the feathering is tighter and not as profuse as our exhibition type faverolles. They are slow growing and we expect at 6 - 7 months to dress out the cockerels at 6-7lbs in weight.
The standard colours are Salmon, Black, Blue, Ermine, Buff, Cuckoo and White with the most popular colour being salmon. Another colour you might see is blue salmon although yet to be standardised.
The salmon cockerels are a lovely contrast to the hens having a black breast, mahogany back chestnut wings compared to the softer warm, salmon and creamy white breasts of the hens. A faverolles flock would look lovely in anyone's garden.
Physically the faverolles should have a cloddy and trapezoidal appearance, demonstrating their dual purpose origins. They should have a fifth toe turned up at the back of the foot. Fluffy feet (although not cochin-like please!) muffling and beard -with the beard nice and full, separate from the muffling. Backs should be long, with a deep keel, they should be a good weight with width especially the boys. They should not be fat or round but firm, again demonstrating their utility meat birds roots.
The large version only "play" at being broody and that may last a maximum of a week in my experience before they get back to the business of laying eggs! Bantam faverolles do go broody and will happily sit then mother their clutch once hatched.
Faverolles have a gentle demeanor, and a lovely docile nature, with a bit of handling easily become quite tame.
I would watch them in a mixed flock however, as because they are great softies -may be bullied by more gregarious breeds.