The Braekel or Campine as it is known in English speaking countries
belongs to the group of the Belgian Continental Fowl breeds. They are
closely related to the pencilled poultry that can be found in nearly all
the countries on the west coast of Europe, for example the Bresse in
France, the Braekel in Belgium, the Hamburgh in Germany and the Friesian
in the Netherlands.
Braekels differ from these in that the breast, thighs and belly are
pencilled, as are the wings of the cockerels.
The breed is very old and was around during the Roman Conquest of Western
Europe. Ulysses Aldrovandi (1522 - 1605), Bologna, Italy, describes a
breed - the Gallus Turcicus - in his publication 'Ornithologia' of 1599 AD
that resembles the Braekel.
It is known that Braekels were marketed in 1400 AD in the surrounding area
of Oudenaarde and Nederbraekel in Belgium. The breed became very well
known in the middle of the last century for its high egg-production of
albeit small eggs.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, there were two types in
Belgium, namely the heavier Braekel and the lighter Campine. Eventually
the two types were amalgamated.
Around the same time, the Braekel-Campine poultry suddenly appeared which
are known for their heavier, wider barring and these are now known as
Campines in England and America. The undercolour is white in the silver
Campines and golden-bay in the gold Campines. The plumage is more
developed in the Braekel than in the Campine, which is hen-feathered in
the male. Therefore, the hens and cockerels are almost identical in colour.
The Braekel belongs to the Continental Fowl group and is of medium
height and upright type. The elongated body, the wide and deep breast and
well-developed hindquarters are typical of the breed. The roosters are
upright in type than the hens, which are more horizontal.
The head is small in comparison to the body as is the slightly curved,
horn-coloured beak. The single, upright comb has five or six points and
sometimes has dark pigment spots. The medium long, well-rounded wattles
are red, whereas the ear lobes are white. The iris of the large eyes is
The neck is moderately long and slightly arched. The body is broad, deep,
long, and sloping slightly to the tail. The large, well-developed tail
with the long, well-curved sickles is carried at an angle of 45 degrees
above horizontal. The breast is deep and well rounded.
The fairly long legs and the toes are lead-blue in colour. The spurs of
the cockerels are usually well developed.
Braekels are hardy, active and lively poultry. They are equally happy
'free range', where they will find their own food, as well as being kept
in a hen house. They do not want too much food, as their egg production
will decrease when they become too fat.
They start laying at an early age and can produce up to 200 white eggs,
that weigh around 60 grams, a year. In the second and third year, the egg
production remains very good, which is different from other breeds. They
rarely go broody.
They are not very suited for shows through their very active nature,
although they are beautiful.
Depending on sex and age, they weigh around 2000 to 2750 grams.
Only two colours exist these days, namely the golden and the silver.