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This leggy French breed is prized for its exceptional meat quality. Its giant stature --it is the tallest breed native to Europe-- makes it one of the most awe-inspiring table breeds in the Greenfire repertoire.
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The Barbezieux is notable for two reasons: it is the tallest native chicken breed in Europe, and it is one of the best- tasting meat chickens in the world. As to the former, the Barbezieux will likely tower over any other chicken breed you have on your property, and as to the latter the Barbezieux is revered by some gastronomes as superior to the revered Bresse when the birds are roasted. (Traditionally, Bresse are poached when they are prepared for the table.) The skin roasts to a golden color with the smell of wheat, and the meat has a distinct flavor reminiscent of wild game.

Barbezieux originated in the Middle Ages in the Charente region of France near the Southwest coast of that country. The region is known for the production of salt and Cognac (named after a village in that region). By 1997 the breed was all but extinct, and in that year a group of poultry enthusiasts banded together to restore the breed. A society was formed for the protection of this beautiful bird, and in the intervening decades it has made a bit of a comeback. Its reputation as a meat chicken is becoming better known, and recently Barbezieux were ranked third in a competition of 20 meat breeds by the French food guide, Gault Millau.

Greenfire Farms sent our emissary to France to locate some of the last remaining flocks of these birds, and we were able to find beautiful specimens and import them into the United States. By the time our birds were fully grown we were stunned at the height of the roosters, and we loved the oversized combs and wattles and the striking white contrast of their faces. The hens are prolific layers of white or tinted eggs, and the breed is gentle and easy to manage.

We hope that Barbezieux can gain a foothold in the ultra-premium meat market in America, but we also see their potential as a novelty for poultry hobbyists who demand the ultimate in rarity. These birds are extremely large, but no larger than their potential to gain legendary status in the fields and coops of America.