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Appenzellar Spitzhauben Chicken
Country of Origin: Germany
Primary Use: Egg
Bird Size: 3.4-4.5
Egg Production: Good
Egg Size: Large
Comb Type: Distinctive Crest
Hardiness: Tolerant of all Weather Types, Does well in cold climates
Temperament: Active good forager, in flock hierarchy in the middle
Conservation Listing: Threatened Chicken
This product is not available, we are hoping in 2021. Sign up to below to be in the know!
Check out this cool looking chicken! This is the Appenzellar Spitzhauben (say what?). These are one of our original breeds on the farm. We loved the Dalmatian look coloring and personalities! Our first pair were names Spots and Snowy, our kids enjoyed the names. They lay a good amount of white eggs 125-185 a year. They are very cold hardy, and do like to forage. In temperament, the Spitzhauben is very active and tends to be a little flighty can handle confinement but know they would prefer to free range. These traits, however, are what make it a good foraging breed – meaning eating those bugs and ticks. Mine have been very friendly and not as flighty, but we think this is because of our handling and care we provide.
This breed is not yet recognized by the APA in the United States. However, the Appenzeller Spitzhauben Club of America has adopted the United Kingdom’s standards as the proposed standards for submission to the APA.
The Appenzeller Spitzhauben in this country still needs a lot of work in order to get them to where they could receive serious consideration for acceptance by the APA. First and foremost the type needs to be worked on and set to achieve reasonable uniformity across the breed. The shape of the crest also needs some modifying as many crests of Spitzhaubens tend to be more Polish-like in shape, being large and round. This is probably due to the fact that many Spitzhaubens in this country were crossed with the Silver Polish in order to broaden the gene pool and to increase numbers. This has had a detrimental effect on crest shape and color. The color of these crosses tends to be more toward lacing rather than spangling. Also, many unsuspecting buyers have purchased “pure Spitzhaubens” in hopes of getting a good bird and in reality what was purchased was nothing more than a mere cross with other breeds. We have been trying to establish a healthy and strong flock since 2018. We are hoping to have the flock we have been waiting for Spring of 2021. We have found several specimens to be very unhealthy and not thrive.
The early history of the Spitzhaubens is somewhat of a mystery. It is generally believed that they originated from the canton of Appenzell in Switzerland. Spitzhaubens, or at least birds similar to them, have been known in this area since the 1600s. They are believed to have been formed from the crossings of Brabanter, Crevecoeurs, and La Fleche. The Spitzhauben was originally kept by the monasteries where they were valued as a hardy foraging breed that laid a decent number of eggs. At first, it was only these monasteries that kept them but eventually, the breed made its way into the hands of local farmers. For many years the breed never left Switzerland and unfortunately, the breed had dwindled in numbers until very few remained. It wasn’t until the 1800s and early 1900’s that any were seen outside of their homeland.
When this began to occur it helped the breed by increasing its numbers and it steadily increased in population. However, the conflict of WWII almost wiped it out completely.
This is where the modern and well-documented history of the Spitzhauben really begins. In 1953 Kurt Fischer, from Germany, imported some Spitzhaubens and began to breed them in earnest. He was instrumental in getting the Spitzhauben accepted to the German poultry standard and many German and Dutch breeders can be credited for reviving this breed. It wasn’t until 1978 that the first Spitzhaubens finally made their way to England.
In the late 1950s, Dr. Albert McGraw had a German friend who brought a few dozen Appenzeller Spitzhauben eggs to America for him to hatch. This was the beginning of the foundation flock of Silver Spangled Appenzeller Spitzhauben in the U.S. Recently other breeders have imported more birds directly from Europe to add to the gene pool of the birds already here in the U.S.
Pre-ordered adults and hatchlings may be picked up by appointment. To safeguard our birds from exposure to disease brought in by visitors, in accordance with the provisions of the National Poultry Improvement Plan, areas where birds are kept are off limits. However you are welcome to look at all the breeds and interactions, it is a site to see.