Low-maintenance chicken breeds don’t get better than the Egyptian Fayoumi.
Whether you are an expert chicken farmer or a beginner, this article will give you a glimpse of what to expect when raising this rather rare chicken breed. Read on to learn with us.
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As the name suggests, Egyptian Fayoumi chickens are an ancient chicken breed that hails from Egypt.
They most likely descended from the Junglefowl chicken and are closely related to the wild Egyptian Fayoumi chicken breed popular in the Nile River region of Africa.
As an ancient chicken breed, the Fayoumi has existed for centuries, but it was not until the 1940s — when an Iowa State University dean of agriculture imported eggs from Egypt — did it first exist in North America.
The chickens hatched from the imported eggs were then crossed with American birds which led to the modern-day Egyptian Fayoumi chicken breed.
This hardiness also saw the first Egyptian Fayoumi imported to the UK in 1984.
Egyptian Fayoumi chickens are a relatively small chicken breed with uniquely elegant plumage. Their uniquely black-speckled feathers give the chickens a striking resemblance to roadrunner birds.
Egyptian Fayoumi chicks have gray-speckled bodies and brown heads during hatching, these later develop into their true colors as they grow.
The chickens have red mid-sized wattles and combs, not to mention red earlobes with white spots.
The dark horn bills blend in seamlessly with the breed’s slate blue skin, shanks, and toes.
Unlike other chicken breeds, Fayoumis have a large fluffy tail that they hold quite high and elegantly.
What’s more, Fayoumis have dark eyes, and among their many desirable attributes is exceptional eyesight that allows them to spot and evade danger and predators.
That being said, the American Poultry Association has not yet accepted the Egyptian Fayoumi chicken breed into its Standard of Perfection. The breed, however, has two known colors:
As we have already established, Egyptian Fayoumi chickens are a small chicken breed. But don’t let that fool you.
As is the case with other chicken breeds, roosters weigh more than hens in the standard and bantam categories:
|3 ½ pounds
|2 ½ pounds
On average, Egyptian Fayoumi hens can produce between 150 and 200 cream or white eggs annually. Just like the roosters, the hens are also fast maturing and will start laying eggs at only 4 months.
This fast maturity is part of the many reasons why Egyptian Fayoumi chickens are raised primarily for egg production.
While the eggs are smaller than what is produced by other chicken breeds, Fayoumi eggs have lower cholesterol levels making them healthier than regular eggs.
Due to their small stature, Egyptian Fayoumi chickens are rarely raised for meat. What’s more, their slate blue skin does not render them ideal for table roasting as some people may find the color repelling.
That being said, Fayoumi chickens have tasty meat which can suffice for small families.
Lively birds don’t get better than Fayoumi chickens. Their active nature makes them ideal for free range.
While they can tolerate being around people, Egyptian Fayoumi chickens are not the cuddly type and will get highly nervous when handled by humans — they are not tamable.
Due to their love for freedom, Fayoumis might just be the best free-range chickens you can ever have. Their exceptional foraging skills allow them to find adequate food for their small bodies, making them quite affordable to raise.
Their vocal nature gives the chickens an edge against predators — so much so that some chicken farmers have several Fayoumis in their flock to alert them when predators are around.
Unlike other chicken breeds, Fayoumi roosters coexist with each other, so don’t shy away from having two or more roosters in your flock.
The younger ones are not quite as accommodating but they eventually tolerate each other.
All in all, Egyptian Fayoumi chickens are extremely independent and will take good care of themselves when raised in the right conditions.
From what we have already explored, it is clear that the Egyptian Fayoumi is a robust and healthy chicken breed. It is no wonder that these chickens can live for 5 to 8 years.
If anything, the birds can live up to a decade when given the right care and conditions.
Even so, Egyptian Fayoumi chickens are not invincible — certain factors can shorten their lives.
For instance, too much exposure to predators will certainly cut short the life of your Fayoumis regardless of how vigilant the birds are.
What’s more, poor living conditions expose your Fayoumi flock to diseases, some of which might be fatal.
This loudness can be largely attributed to the fact that the birds are flighty.
Keep in mind, however, that part of their loudness serves to notify keepers when predators are around.
From being expert foragers to being alert and incredibly disease resistant, Egyptian Fayoumis are everything you want in your flock. However, one thing the breed is not, is tolerant of cold.
Judging from its Egyptian background, it is clear that the breed is best suited for hot climates. This is further attested to by the birds’ light feathering and a large comb.
It is, therefore, advisable to have broody hens within your flock or an incubator if you intend to grow your Egyptian Fayoumi stock.
Though skilled and independent foragers at heart, your Fayoumi chickens need a coop to rest in during the night and to take shelter from the elements.
After all, they are preyed on by numerous predators, and, therefore, sleeping outside is not an option.
Luckily, these birds are not as demanding as other breeds when it comes to housing.
Another thing to keep in mind when raising Fayoumi chickens is nesting boxes. Since the hens are consistent layers, consider having a nesting box per hen to ensure they do not fight for space.
When it comes to building a chicken run, consider offering your Fayoumi flock as much space as possible.
Remember, this chicken breed loves freedom and is happiest when free ranging, therefore, they can never have too much roaming space.
When making housing arrangements for your Fayoumi flock, prioritize the safety of your chickens.
For this, steer clear of flimsy chicken wire and door latches for your coop. Raccoons and dogs are notorious for opening doors that have weak latches.
Not to mention sneaky predators that will easily get your chickens through the wire considering they are small birds.
Your chicken run should also have a high fence to keep these flighty birds inside and protected.
Lastly, ensure that your chicken coop is well-insulated and ventilated at the same time.
Though Egyptian Fayoumis are well suited for hot environments, too much heat will certainly affect them and cause overheating.
On the flip side, too much cold will also affect your birds hence the need to adequately insulate the coop.
Common Health Issues
The birds are unbelievably disease resistant that scientists are researching to figure out what makes the birds resistant to lethal diseases like:
- Marek disease
- Newcastle disease
- Avian influenza
In hopes of using the findings to help other disease-prone chicken breeds to become more resistant.
Having said that, be on the lookout for any signs of weakness if you choose to raise your Fayoumis in colder climates.
However, you can avoid this altogether by offering your birds heating lamps during the colder months.
Even as highly resistant birds, consult with your local veterinarian regarding regular vaccinations and checkups for any signs that your birds are sick.
Raising Egyptian Fayoumi chickens is a typical case of taking a rose with its thorns.
For the beauty, low maintenance, hardiness, and commendable egg production that the breed promises, you can expect a loud, natural alarm that is somewhat hard to tame.
All in all, the breed is active and extremely fun to raise, making it worth your while.