fayoumi chicken breed
Joe Mabel / Flickr (Creative Commons)
  • Purpose: Layer
  • Eggs: White
  • Egg Size: Small
  • Color: Black/White Speckled
  • Comb Type: Large Single

The Faiyumi, sometimes spelled Fayoumi, is not interested in the cushy life that many poultry keepers may try to offer it. Tough and nearly feral, this rare Egyptian chicken is perfectly content to scratch out it’s living in the sticks.

Faiyumi chickens can and will forage for nearly all their food–in fact, they prefer what they find to any commercial feed, making them an incredibly economical backyard bird. The key is, to make sure they have the space to roam! These birds do not just dislike confinement, they often will not tolerate it, and will either find a way of escape or beat themselves senseless in the attempt.

Seemingly the only challenge this breed can’t contend with is the cold. Its Egyptian background would clearly indicate that it can handle hot climates, but with that large comb and light feathering, this is a chicken for warm latitudes only.

Characteristics

With its silvery head, large single comb, onyx-dark eye, and trim, black-speckled body, this chicken is visually quite similar to the Silver Campine breed, but built a little more like a forward-leaning roadrunner.

Those bright, dark eyes of theirs are excellent at scanning the skies for predators–with such alert personalities, it’s hard to take them by surprise.

Naturally quick at maturing, the hens may start laying eggs at an incredibly early 4 or 5 months, and roosters may start crowing around five or six weeks of age.

Sometimes They Forget That They’re Domesticated

Many resources complain about how difficult Faiyumis are to keep due to their flighty, wild nature. It is often claimed that if these birds were to escape the confines of their coop or homestead, they could quite happily go on living in the wild like the feral birds they nearly are.

As such, even though they’ve been around for potentially thousands of years, these birds are not popular in the United States or the UK. Finding a distributor for the breed may be a very difficult endeavor indeed!

Additionally, due to their light carriage and energetic personalities, these birds are very capable of flying. They love to roost as high up as they can get, making containing them in a city backyard a potentially impossible undertaking.

Try to catch them, and they will also be very vocal about their dislike of being handled, so urban chicken-keepers take note! With all the space this rambunctious breed needs to thrive, an easily-contained Barnevelder or Cochin is a far better choice.

Finally, if you do attempt to keep your Faiyumi hens in a confined run with other birds, be aware that you run the risk of needing to deal with their tendency to pick feathers. Additionally, the hens get very territorial over their nesting sites, so having additional nests available may help assuage conflicts.

What’s The Yield?

The Faiyumi is quite a small bird at maturity, with cocks only reaching 4 ½ pounds, and hens a petite 3 ½ pounds. This light breed was intended for egg production but it is only a fair producer of small, white eggs. You can expect around two a week.

If you would like to keep one of these sprightly birds as a pet, be aware that they are not fond of being held, and can be so flighty that they shy away from human contact. Being touched and handled as chicks may help them accept their human keepers.

Is the Faiyumi the Key to Taking Down Disease?

Perhaps one of the most intriguing features of this breed is their natural immunities to many of the viral and bacteriological diseases that plague poultry kind. Notably, Faiyumis are suspected to be resistant to Marek’s Disease, and maybe even Avian Influenza. Many of the birds present in the United States are study birds being used to explore their unique toughness!

Pictures Of Faiyumi Chickens

References

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  1. I just bought 4 of this breed from my local feed store. I am excited to try my hand at raising these rare breeds. I am an avid chicken farmer and love working with all breeds of chickens.

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