Ovambo

A small group of Ovambo fowl
Photo courtesy of Noel Honeyborne and Fowls for Africa

Text courtesy of
Noel Honeyborne

The Ovambo originates in Ovamboland in Northern Namibia, from whence I received my first hatching eggs and chickens in 1975 from Dr. J.J. Joubert who had been given some while visiting the region. Their historical development is similar to that of the Venda, where their ancestors were probably introduced by the early pioneers to the region from South Africa and the German colonialists of the time. The breed evolved as survivors which scratched out an existence in barren semi-desert, hot environmental conditions plagued by predators and raptors. The breed is prone to flying into trees to roost at night where they escape predators and raptors. They are thus obviously a lighter breed while it is speculated that their predominantly dark colouring is attributed to natural selection where all light coloured individuals were conspicuous and fell prey to raptors.

Like the Venda, the Ovambo is adapted to surviving on insects, edible weeds, greens and household scraps and is endowed with considerable resistance to disease. I have witnessed Ovambos catching small rodents and consuming them where these had scurried into their shelters.

They are also good mothers although slightly less broody than Vendas. They are multi-coloured, dark to black, although the original ones I raised tended to exhibit some Brown and Partridge Leghorn colours.


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