La Flèche chicken

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La Flèche
La-fleche M SDA2013.JPG
Conservation statusFAO (2007): no data[1]:45
Other namesFrench: Poule de La Flèche
StandardFrance (in French)
  • Male: Standard: 3.5–4 kg[2]
    Bantam: 900 g[3]
  • Female: Standard: 3–3.5 kg[2]
    Bantam: 800 g[3]
Skin colorwhite
Comb typetwo vertical spikes[4]
ABAall other comb clean legged
PCGBrare soft feather: heavy[6]
La Flèche cock and hen by Jean Bungartz (Geflügel-Album, 1885)
La Flèche hen

The La Flèche, French: Poule de La Flèche, is a rare French breed of dual-purpose domestic chicken. It originates from the Sarthe département, in the Pays de la Loire region, and is named for the town and commune of La Flèche in that area, not far from the capital of the Sarthe, Le Mans. The breed was once famous for the fine quality its meat; since the Second World War, numbers have fallen very low.[7]


Many authors date the origins of the La Flèche breed to the fifteenth century.[8] An early description dates from 1846.[9] The breed enjoyed a period of fame and success in the first part of the twentieth century,[8] but, as with all native French breeds other than the Bresse, numbers fell heavily after the Second World War.[7]

In the 1960s and 1970s it came close to disappearing. There has since been a gradual recovery.[8] In 2011 a rescue project was launched by the Conservatoire des races animales en Pays de la Loire, the regional animal breed conservation body of the Pays de la Loire region.[7]

Some birds were exported to the United States in the 1850s, but were found too delicate for the climate.[10] Some were exported to Germany in about 1860,[11] and others were exported to Britain by William Bernhardt Tegetmeier in 1882.[10]


Their main distinguishing feature is their unusual V-shaped comb. They are of medium size, with cocks usually weighing between 3.5–4 kg, and hens between 3–3.5 kg.[2]


Hens may lay about 180 white eggs per year, with an average weight of 60 g.[11]


  1. ^ Barbara Rischkowsky, D. Pilling (eds.) (2007). List of breeds documented in the Global Databank for Animal Genetic Resources, annex to The State of the World's Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. ISBN 9789251057629. Accessed July 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Volailles: Poule La Flèche (in French). Écomusée du pays de Rennes. Accessed August 2014.
  3. ^ a b La Flèche (in French). La Flèche Club. Archived 28 August 2014.
  4. ^ Victoria Roberts (2008). British poultry standards: complete specifications and judging points of all standardized breeds and varieties of poultry as compiled by the specialist breed clubs and recognised by the Poultry Club of Great Britain. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 9781405156424. p. 157–58.
  5. ^ APA Recognized Breeds and Varieties: As of January 1, 2012. American Poultry Association. Archived 4 November 2017.
  6. ^ Breed Classification. Poultry Club of Great Britain. Accessed August 2014.
  7. ^ a b c Poule La Flèche (in French). Conservatoire des races animales en Pays de la Loire. Accessed August 2014.
  8. ^ a b c Jean-Claude Périquet (2006). Coqs et poules, les races françaises (in French). Paris: Rustica; cited in: Historique de la La Flèche à travers divers auteurs du XIXème à nos jours (in French). La Flèche Club. Archived 28 August 2014.
  9. ^ Historique de la La Flèche à travers divers auteurs du XIXème à nos jours (in French). La Flèche Club. Archived 28 August 2014.
  10. ^ a b La Flèche Chicken. The Livestock Conservancy. Accessed December 2018.
  11. ^ a b Rassetafeln: Welsumer (in German). Bund Deutscher Rassegeflügelzüchter. Accessed December 2018.