The Asturian pita pinta is a rustic medium sized indigenous breed of chicken.
The weight of the rooster is about 4 to 4.5 kilograms, while that of the hen is about 2.7 kilograms.
They have a short tail, orange eyes and red ears. The male’s crest is a medium size, and quite small on the females. The legs and beak are yellow with black spots, the plumage varies according to the variety: the black pinta is black and white, the other varieties include the black pinta beltulla and the red and white pinta.
In the black pinta variety, the black colour always extends in a line from the head along the back, the colour goes around part of the wing however the wing is not black. The males and the females have the same coloured feathers until their secondary sexual characteristics appear. The first and second rows of feathers are white, as well as the tail feathers of the males. The feathers are a shiny greenish blue. Its distinctive plumage has led to an increased interest in this variety as an ornamental animal. The eggs are a bronze colour and are soft to the touch. They have well developed maternal characteristics.
The pita pinta is a laying breed that lives for a long time (they can reach up to 4 to 5 years old). The average number of eggs laid is 140 per hen per year, with an average weight of 65 g. The meat is also of excellent quality, especially when the animal is raised out in the open (pitu caleya).
The Asturian pinta pita is an ancient Spanish breed that is believed to be related to the Euskal-Oiloa breed and other European birds. It was a very popular breed in Spain until the industrial revolution. It is now on the verge of extinction; the breed’s recovery began with the help of veterinarian Rafael Eguiño Marcos. Between 1980 and 1990, Marcos carried out the selection work with specimens from Asturias and León, whose characteristics were compatible with the breed, establishing the definitive standard. In 2003, a group of breed enthusiasts created the Asociación de Criadores de la Pita Pinta Asturiana. Today there are 52 members, who have a total of 1842 specimens. This is one of the indigenous breeds that enjoys special protections. To ensure that this breed is protected, in 2021 the Regional Service of Agricultural Research and Development of the Principality of Asturias (Serida) launched studies focussed on the genetic and productive characterisation of the breed through the creation of a hub for the selection and reproduction of specimens.
In Asturias, pita is eaten all year round, but especially at Christmas, it is usually stewed or served with rice.