These La Fleche chickens, also raised by Joseph Marquette of Yellow House Farm, www.yellowhousenh.com, and photographed by Robert Gibson, are another of the Old French Breeds. They take their name from the town of La Fleche, south of Le Mans, France. By the 19th century, production of this breed was centered in the La Sarthe Valley. In contrast to the Houdans and Crevecoeurs, the LaFleche has no (or very little) crest, muffs or tassels. Those features were bred out of birds that had them by English fanciers. The French standard requires a crest.
It has the distinctive horned or V-shaped comb. Its ancestry of Black Spanish and Crevecoeur blood is evident in its body carriage, bright red comb and white earlobes. Now recognized only in black, blue and white varieties once existed. They are bred in large fowl and bantam sizes.
LaFleche never acquired a strong following in North America, despite the fact that it was included in the first Standard in 1874. They are large dual purpose birds that would make a good backyard or small flock breed.
Craig Russell of SPPA advises: Select glossy, greenish black breeders with prominent combs having erect, nicely rounded points. Look for strong, well-spaced rangy legs, broad shoulders, full breasts and long, broad backs that slope downward from shoulder to tail.
Contact me if you are interested in adding this breed to your operation.