HEAD: Mildly lengthened and wide.
BEAK: Lengthened Middling curved and strong.
EYES: Half size and oval.
COMB: Simple , Mildly Large , sitting well on the head, Flat with five or six points Mildly short points. The last point is smaller and the first is medium length. Separate of the head at the end and arched at the base. The end has a tendency to follow the posterior part of the head with appendixes to each side of the posterior part.
WATTLES: Mildly large and hanging.
EAR LOBES: Mildly lengthened, lightly lined , very united to the head on the upper part and suspended on the lower part.
NECK: Regularly arched, Proportionally long to the body with abundant hackle resting on the back.
WINGS: Large, well pleated and belted to the body. That must not surpass it.
BACK: Wide, inclined from before back and with abundant hackles , rounded and lengthened.
BREST: Wide , profound , lengthened, prominent with well arched ribs.
TAIL: Developed , very inhabited of feathers and open. With two longer feathers well curved ( with sickle form) , inserted in an angle of 45 degrees through the horizontal.
THIGHS: Half longitude and vigorous.
LEGS: Mildly lengthened, flat , very separate and free of feathers.
TOES: Four , strong open and straight.
APPEARANCE: Harmonic and vigorous.
HEAD,FACE and BEAK: Like the rooster.
COMB: Simple mildly large, with five or six points very definite and jagged falling toward a side of the face and with appendages like the rooster.
WATTLES ,EAR LOBES , WING , BACK and BREAST: Like the rooster.
TAIL: Abundant , long and with a 40 to 45 degree angle through the horizontal.
THIGHS , SHANKS and TOES: Like the rooster.
APPEARANCE: Like the rooster.
SPECIAL DISCARD FOR THE FOUR VARIETIES
The Penedesenca originated in the Spanish province of Catalonia, the area around Villafranca del Penedes, in the region of Penedes.
The first descriptions of the breed date back to December of 1921 when the Catalan organization Mancomunitat began to require morphological features.
They were trying to confront the high cost of importing eggs and poultry from outside areas. The attempt did not have the expected results. As indicated by professor M. Rossell I Vila at a conference held on July 20th 1928 at the Sociedad La Principal de Vilafranca del Penedes, he expressed his concern for the survival for the breed due to continued importation of birds from outside the region. The professor also made a patriotic call to those interested in helping to save the local Penedes chicken breed.
By 1933 groups of Penedesenca breeders had emerged but it was not until 1946 when a standard was approved for the black variety (Black Villafranquina) in the Spanish state.
By the late 1940’s however, not long after it was standardized, there are no references of participation in fairs or competitions.
In 1982 recovery work was undertaken by Veterinarian Dr. Antonio Jorda. Aiming to preserve the Penedesenca from extinction and better contribute to a conservation plan.
The first interviews with old breeders were disappointing because none of them had any bird lines left. But, at Market Villafranca which was held weekly on Saturdays, Dr. Jorda found some sellers that offered large very dark brown eggs in small quantity and highly priced. He learned some farms were raising small numbers of birds with slate legs ,lateral appendages in the comb and white earlobes that laid dark brown eggs. The plumage color was highly variable but it was predominately Partridge and Wheaten with smaller numbers of black and barred hens. The roosters were basically black in the chest and tail with red on the back. It was clear that these were the last copies of the old breed Pendes.
Between markets and farms they were able to get chickens and hatching eggs. Work began in the Poultry Genetics Unit of the “ Institut de Recerca i Techologia Agroalimetaries ( IRTA)” of the “Generalitat de Catalunya” in the “ Center Mas Bove” of Reus ( Tarragona Spain) where they proceeded to increase populations with successive incubations until they obtained a population of about 300 birds.
Work was begun to uniformize them in two phases:
To discover the genes involved in the plumage color and to get indivisuals pure race for these genes. This work was carried to term by Biologist Dr. Amadeu Francesch and Veterinarian Dr. Antonio Jorda , at the ( IRTA).
Given the diversity of colors it was decided to seek uniformity in color which is the prerequisite to achieve recognition. The decision to obtain varieties was necessary to know basic genetic factors. Black being previously obtained was one variety. Partridge was already the most abundant variety and given the abundance of Wheaten and interest of Barred, those were decided upon as well.
Due to the fruit of there work they have gotten into purity the varieties whose standards are presented on the following pages.
The most important center of conservation actually is where it was recovered , purified and standardized as a breed. There distribution has begun through Catalonia , Spanish State , Holland , Germany , U.K and The United States.
As far as I can tell to this date there have been three importations.
Harley Hamrick in 2001 or 2002 , Jewelee Chastain 2003 and Laurie Adams in 2004.
A Special thank you to Dr. Amadeu Francesch for helping me with this information and translating the breed standard for this website.
Sources: ddd.uab.cat and Dr. Amadeu Francesch
Penedesenca and Empordanesa are extremely heat hardy and very alert. The roosters make excellent flock protectors and the hens are great mothers.
With the added benefit of laying good numbers of large dark brown eggs they will surely gain in popularity here in the United States in the future.
Courtesy of AVIRAUT owner ,for example only