Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Icelandic chickens have found a home!

When I decided to hatch some eggs this year, I turned to a friend who raises Dorkings. He has several breeds, and has recently become enchanted with the Icelandics he acquired. The hens are such faithful layers, their personalities so interesting and sweet. He sent me a dozen Icelandic eggs along with the Dorkings.

As fate and chicken hatches go, two Icelandice roosters hatched in June. They have grown into beautiful birds, but I’m not situated to keep them. Before I have them dispatched and converted into broilers, perhaps someone would like to take them and start an Icelandic flock. They are both lovely birds in excellent health and the prime of life. See more pictures on the Starting from Hatch page on this blog.

In an article in Backyard Poultry magazine (April/May 2009), Laurie Ball-Gisch quotes a booklet from the Farmers Association of Iceland, Icelandic Livestock Breeds (Reykavik, 2004) about the origins and history of Icelandic chickens:

“Historical evidence indicates that poultry was amongst the landraces brought to Iceland by the settlers of Iceland. However, it seems likely that this native population came close to extinction, probably in the late 18th century. Such poultry was, and is still, kept in small flocks, know for great colour variation. They seem to be of ancient origin, most likely related to the Old Norwegian Jadar poultry breed. Special efforts were made by the Agricultural Research Institute in 1974 to conserve the remaining native population.”

SPPA member Lyle Behl in Illinois took an interest and was able to bring three dozen hatching eggs into the U.S. in 2003. Eleven chicks hatched – seven hens and four roosters – and his flock was begun. He has provided eggs to other breeders and thus they made their way to me.

Considering how rare these birds are, I wanted to find them a good home. Grover Duffield in Kansas has a flock of about 75 hens and pullets and only three roosters. With Kansas' cold winters, they will fit in well.

Thanks all who contacted me about them. We'll work together to get you the birds you want.


bogie7129 said...

Are they hardy enough to withstand the heat and humidity of Pensacola, Fl, which sometimes reaches 100+ degrees during the summer with sometimes 100% humidity?

bogie7129 said...

Are they hardy enough to withstand the heat and humidity of Pensacola, Florida (lower Alabama?) Thanks, Bob

PoultryBookstore said...

They would probably be okay there, provided they had shade and plenty of water. However, breeds that are adapted to cold climates inevitably change if bred in warmer conditions. That point was made to me regarding Chanteclers, the Canadian breed. Domestic birds are always adapting.

groverd24 said...

The roosters are doing very well here. They have already claimed their spots at the top of the roosts. They also have their own little harems that follow them everywhere. This time of year they get to free range over all of our plus out neighbors property and they are enjoying it. We are now looking to find Icelandic hens or pullets to breed with the roosters plus we will be crossbreeding them with some of their own harems because of the coloring and temperment. thanks Christine there will be more to follow

groverd24 said...

this is the fourth time I have attempted this post! the roosters are doing very well, they have claimed their positions on the top rung of the roosts and have their own little flocks that follow them everywhere. this time of year they get to free range over about 4 acres and seem to be enjoying it. we are now looking at getting icelandic hens or pullets to breed to the boys and are going to cross them with some of their flock hens due to coloring and temperment. more to follow. thanks christine

PoultryBookstore said...

Thanks for persevering with your comments, Grover! I'm glad to hear the boys have settled in well. They certainly captured our hearts and deserve a great life.