By Jennifer Melville
One of the more interesting birds on the block is the Golden Campine. The Golden Campine’s striking golden head, white ears, perky upright tail, and beautiful barred body create an unusual and strikingly beautiful bird. Originally from Belgium, the Golden Campine is also an excellent layer. This rare breed would make a unique addition to your backyard coop!
Temperament and Characteristics
This beautiful bird lays around 150-200 eggs annually and while they are not generally raised for meat, they can certainly be dual purpose birds. Reports on temperament vary. According to some sources, these birds are friendly and fun to be around. Other sources claim that the Golden Campine is not affectionate, don’t care much for human contact, and are quite flighty. It must depend on the individual bird’s personality as well as the amount of human contact and interaction they have from hatching. Active, curious, and great at foraging, the small Golden Campine generally makes a fun and amusing bird to have around. There is a silver Campine variety too.
An Interesting History
The Golden Campine chicken can trace its roots to Belgium, where they’ve been raised for several hundred years. The first Golden Campines brought to the US arrived in 1893, but by 1898 the breed had been dropped from the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection because the breed was simply unpopular. The second attempt at importing Campines in the early 1900s failed to catch on too. The APA added Golden Campines to their Standard of Perfection in 1914 and they’ve remained a recognized breed ever since.
On the Verge of Extinction
The breed almost disappeared altogether after World War II, where even in Belgium the number of Golden Campines was extremely low. A few dedicated breeders brought this breed back from the verge of extinction. In the US, the breed is in the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy Conservation Status of critical. There are around five breeding flocks of 50 or less Golden Campines in the entire United States. It doesn’t help that the bird rarely goes broody. One way to help perpetuate this breed is to take any fertilized eggs your Golden Campine lays and put them in an incubator or get one of your other broody hens to hatch the eggs. Backyard farmers are this breed’s only real hope of continuing into the future.
Not Best for Beginners
If you are a beginner or want a friendly pet chicken, the Golden Campine is probably not the best bet. Flighty, susceptible to frostbite, and eager to fly, it is not the easiest bird to care for. If you have some experience with chickens, the Golden Campine is a great endangered chicken breed that would make a lovely addition to most backyard flocks.