The Bionda Piemontese is a traditional dual-purpose chicken breed originating in the Piemonte region in northwestern Italy, from which it takes its name. This robust and disease-resistant breed was in danger of extinction, but since 1999 the Verzuolo Professional Institute of Agriculture began its recovery.
Today, the production of Piedmontese white hen meat is highly appreciated, thanks to the early development of these hens, which have made the meat very good and of high quality, due to extensive breeding and nutrition techniques. Bionda translates to blonde in English, so this is the “blonde” Piemonte hen
Bionda Piemontese characteristics
The Bionda Piemontese is a medium-sized breed with a black or blue tail. The earlobes vary from yellow to creamy white. The ridge is simple and large, with 4 to 6 points. The average weight is 2.5–2.8 kg for roosters, 2.0–2.3 kg for hens.
The Piemontese bionda (also known as bionda di Cuneo, bionda di Villanova, rossa delle Crivelle or nostralina) is buff or golden in color, with a simple red crest, a yellow bill and yellow legs. The tail feathers are usually darker, from gray to metallic black or dark blue.
Bionda Piemontese breed temperament
The Bionda Piemontese is a robust bird resistant to many diseases. It is fast-growing and is highly appreciated for its meat production.
Annual production is mainly concentrated in spring and summer: laying around 180 to 200 pink eggs with a soft shell and an average weight of 55 to 60 grams.
In addition to the good ability to produce eggs, the breed has a high percentage of hatchability of the same.
The Bionda Piemontese was once widely distributed in Piemonte. In the 1960s, industrialization and intensive agriculture caused a decline in the breed, which is suitable only for breeding in the open field.
The recovery began in 1999 under the auspices of the Verzuolo Professional Institute for Agriculture and the Environment, in the province of Cuneo. A breed standard was approved by the Italian Federation of Poultry Associations, in May 2007, based in part on a description of the breed by Vittorino Vezzani in an article published in 1938.
A study published in 2007 revealed that the number of reproducers of the breed reached a figure of approximately 1,400 copies of the breed, of which approximately 400 were roosters. The Bionda Piemontese numbers today are still low.
Fortunately, because they appreciate its hardiness and suitability for open field management, local farmers have kept this traditional breed relatively pure, despite the introduction of commercial breeds to the area.
The traditional chicken breeds, raised for both eggs and meat in the Piedmont region, were the bianca di Saluzzo (“white Saluzzo”) and the bionda Piemontese (“Piedmontese blonde”).
Bionda Piemontese certifications
The Piemontese blond hen was certified as a “traditional food product of Piedmont” on April 30, 1998.