Blue Foot chicken
|Other names||Poulet Bleu (Washington Poulet Bleu) California Blue Foot (California Poulet Bleu )|
|Country of origin||Canada|
|Weight||Male: 6 to 7 lbs at 18 weeks|
Gallus gallus domesticus
The breed is attributed to Canadian breeder Peter Thiessen of British Columbia and was later marketed in the United States by California farm manager Bob Shipley. The Blue Foot Chicken was originally conceived as an alternative to the French Bresse Bleu, availability of which is tightly regulated by French law, with export expressly forbidden. It was bred by Thiessen over a period of 15 years starting in the 1980s. The breed was almost lost in 2004 when avian flu control measures during an outbreak in Canada led to the Canadian government ordering the destruction of vast numbers of fowl, including all the chickens at Thiessen's farm. However, one week before this decision was made, several breeders had been relocated to California, allowing the breed to survive and flourish in the United States for a short period before improper breeding crosses led to the loss of the breed in the US. Theissen had already started the breeding process to regain the famed blue footed chicken. Due to the process of Mother Nature it took Theissen 7 years to breed a new flock. After successfully re-breeding a flock of blue foot (the only one outside of France) he approached American poultry farmer Bernie Nash (aka Mad Hatcher Poultry) and began talks to sell his flock. Shortly after negotiations began Theissen passed away. His son, David Theissen continued the negotiations and struck a deal with Bernie Nash in late 2013, the only poultry farmer in America with the Canadian genetics of the blue footed chicken. 
Blue Foot Chicken is characterized by a Single Comb, white feathers, and steel-blue shanks, which give the breed its name. In France this trait is so admired that the feet are usually left on for presentation when the bird is being prepared for consumption. The Blue Foot is brooded indoors for the first 3-4 weeks. The next 8-9 weeks they are outside (as weather permits) to scratch and search for food. This gives the bird a traditional game flavor and keeps the meat lean. The final 2-3 weeks the birds are brought indoors again and fed a protein and fat rich diet which ads fat to the meat while maintaining the taste and texture of the meat. Blue Foot are typically slaughtered much later than chickens generally used for meat production, being left to grow longer. They require 14 to 16 weeks to reach market size. After slaughter, the chickens may be air-chilled, rather than undergoing commercial water-chilling, leaving the meat dense and rich in flavor, as no water is absorbed into the meat during the chilling process.
Blue Foot Chicken was cooked as the Secret Ingredient in an episode of the Food Network television show Iron Chef America (Season 5 Episode 1), aired 7/29/2007. It also made an appearance in another Food Network television show Chopped as one of the secret basket ingredients (Season 10 Episode 4), aired on 1/17/2012.
- http://www.punbb-hosting.com/forums/Albertachickensetc/viewtopic.php?id=11456, AlbertaChickensEtc, Retrieved February 21, 2011.
- http://www.cpif.org/index.php?Itemid=89&id=277&option=com_content&task=view, Official Website of the California Poultry Federation, 'Magic' blue-footed chicken makes the grade, Retrieved February 21, 2011.
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