The Faverolles is a beautiful docile utility bird. The breed were first bred in the Eure & Loire region of France to supply the Paris market with meat and eggs in the 1860s. It was not until 1929 that the bantams first appeared in Germany.
Some of the unique characteristics of the Faverolles breed are the fifth toe, which should follow the leg upwards, the Muff (beard) should be well filled out and the feathered legs and feet.
One of the local top Faverolles breeders a few decades ago were the late Eddie Blair, from the Maze, Lisburn area, who kept large Salmon Faverolles and bantam salmon and whites. Unfortunately I never got to meet Eddie.
His neighbour Chris Laird, who was well renowned for his Orpingtons and Wyandottes, also kept quality Large Salmon Faverolles, even winning a show champion award with a Salmon pullet.
The most popular colour here has always been the Salmon, with Patricia Swandel, Judith Lyons, Jimmy and Roberta Hughes, Jimmy Ryan, Helen Bradford and M & R Neill all showing this colour currently (apologies if I have missed anyone out).
One of the most sought-after cups in the local showing scene is the massive Faverolles cup that is presented for the champion Faverolles at the Ulster Federation Show.
There are seven colours of Faverolles: Black, Laced Blue, Buff, Cuckoo, Ermine, Salmon and White.
The muff of the Faverolles is worth 10 points, showing the importance of it in the breed, carrying the same points as size and table qualities. The highest marks go for type and colour with 20 points each.
The salmon is probably the hardest colour to get right and it is important that you breed the correct rooster with the correct hen to get a nice even colour of salmon.
A lot of birds are either too light or too dark, and with the right selection of breeding stock this can be corrected.
The club itself is working hard to bring back some of the lesser colours, which you can see in the photographs.
One of the most impressive colours for myself has to be the Ermines.
We, as in M & R Neill, have successfully bred some Salmon large fowl this year and hope to put together a couple of pens for breeding next year.
This was one of the first breeds that we started with and my eldest son fell in love with them.
After our initial pair fell ill, and having tried to buy some large in Ireland to no avail, we had almost given up when the then secretary of the club, Nikki Williams, and Kate Hart came to our rescue and set us up with two breeding pens.
Thankfully we have not looked back and we were delighted to have won the club show as well as getting best opposite sex to the champion at the Federation Show in Stafford.
At home we have also won Best Faverolles at our local Ulster Federation Show.
We have some great breeders of bantams here that always do well at the shows, such as Roberta Hughes and Judith Lyons.
If you are interested in the breed please contact anyone that I have mention in this article and they will do their best to help you to get started.
It is with pleasure that I am able to write about a breed that I am a committee member of. We are fortunate to have a very dedicated small group of people that just love the breed and that are determined to get more colours back out to the shows.
Anyone wishing to join the club please contact myself on 07710 587776 or Christine Norman, our secretary, through either the website or our Facebook page.
On the website you can also purchase some merchandise, like the British Faverolles book that will give you hours of bedtime reading.