Braekel, Kempisch Fowl (Campine)  
   

History

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.

Description

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 black.
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.

Characteristics

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.

Weight

Depending on sex and age, they weigh around 2000 to 2750 grams.

Varieties

Only two colours exist these days, namely the golden and the silver.