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Posted by portugalpress on June 11, 2018

It may not sound much to everyday readers, but four ‘valuable’ Portuguese breeds of chicken are “at risk of extinction”. Investigators and breeders are thus uniting in a bid to reverse the crisis.

Explain reports, the four breeds are among the hardiest, most resistant to disease and most ‘natural’ of Portugal’s feathered food machines.

They all live perfectly well on ‘farm waste’, requiring little if any dry food - and their need for water is apparently minimal.

Yet the ‘yellow’, ‘white’, Pedrês Portuguesa and black ‘Preta Lusitânica’are well down now in numbers, with less than 5000 apparently in existence up and down the country.

Says Público, these are non-polluting birds that ‘back to Nature’ enthusiasts are keen to have as they are considered ‘originals’, with all the healthy aspects that go with that concept.

Asides from a protocol set up between breeders and the national zootechnic station (EZN) studies are now underway to register the biometric data and genetic characterisation of the four breeds, to establish the differences between them.

The plan now is to make farmers and breeders aware of their chickens’ relative importance, and encourage them to keep the breeds ‘separate’ and really value them.

An initiative to this end went ahead last weekend at the Santarém agricultural fair.

Inês Carolino of EZN told Lusa: “These chickens are very relevant to sustainable agriculture” and family small-holdings as for their meat and eggs, they represent “real value for very low cost”.

Fortunately, the four breeds are not the only homegrown chicken varieties in Portugal. Breeding association AMIBA told Lusa we actually have as many as 50 national breeds, which for a small country is quite something.


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