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.