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Country of Origin: China Vietnam Laos and Thailand
Bird Size: 5-7lbs
Comb Type: straight, pea
Primary Use: Dual Purpose
Egg Production: Good
Egg Size: Medium
Egg Color: Tan
Temperament: Docile, Indifferent
Hardiness: All Temps
Type of Environment: Any Range
Conservation Status: rare breed not on conservation list
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The Hmong chicken, or better known in Hmong community as (qaib xiav nqaij), which when translated to English simply means (blue chicken meat), may possibly be one of the coolest rare breeds among poultry enthusiasts here in the US! Raised by the hill tribes of Asia and Southeast Asia In the white Hmong dialect “qaib xiav nqaij” means blue skinned chicken, Green Hmong dialect often calls them “qab xav nkaaj” meaning blue indigo chickens. This breed has very strong roots and are very cherished in their native Country. Traveling with families from their native country long before there were restrictions on doing so, Hmong chickens have continued to be raised and cherished in their pure and unadulterated form. This blue/black skin chicken has been a sense of pride, and no doubt, a constant reminder of the homeland that their keeper’s love so much. Raised primarily by the older generation, and then passed down to the next when they have grown mature enough to appreciate them, these birds remain to be more than a chicken, but a connection between a people and their homeland. In addition to being a reminder of one’s heritage, Hmong chickens are also cherished for their believed healing properties. And often are served as a meal to help one regain strength. Their meat is flavorful and the best parts is arguably the dark meats, they make a great soup bird which their human counterparts have made with for generations. Check out the recipes online! It is difficult to obtain this rare breed in the US because of the rarity and these are deeply roosted in their culture, their pride and joy so not many are sold.
Hmong chickens are a fibromelanistic breed, which is a gene that deposits excessive black pigment. This abnormal accumulation of melanin makes the skin and tissues appear black. Birds that are similar are the Ayam Cemani, Silkies, etc. There isn’t a set standard on how Hmong chickens are supposed to look like since they are a landrace breed, however, there are still defining characteristics that are associated with their breed. Hmong chickens will slightly vary in their appearance and body type depending on each breeding program. These birds tend to have an upright body, tight feathering, mulberry to dark skin with a blue-grey tint, pea combs or straight comb. they also should have the ability to be broody and being fierce mothers. These birds tend to lean towards an oriental build with some game or jungle fowl influence. Many though here in America are not built like game birds and are more plump, short and stalky. We have seen both builds. Hmong chickens in other parts of Asia will differ, for example the Hmong chickens in Vietnam tend to lean more towards an Asiatic build with some hints of oriental influence. More common colors one can find in the Hmong chickens are the silver and gold versions but other colors are available after all these guys are a landrace.
They are not particularly heavy egg layers but they make up for it in their ability to free-range well. They are great at evading predators for a chicken. They are great as a flock bird, some roosters may display slight aggression towards other roosters but nothing too serious like that of game breeds. We have many roosters that co-exist together. Once dominance is established all gets worked out. Being found in both pea and straight comb variety, they have an array of spectacular feather colors against their beautiful skin tones. Colors can range from ginger and wheaten blues to exquisite reds, solid black to solid white, and just about every color in between, with many expressing amazing lacing and colored feather patterns. The hens are very broody and make great mothers. They do well in all weather conditions.
We do find various opinions on what they should look like but remember when a rare breed is brought to the US there is always work do be done to get to that original “standard”. Remember they are a landrace so different cultures select different things. Not all the traits or birds are here so there is much work to be done, but why not enjoy who they are as well? We really like the more gamey appearance, long legs and tight feathers so we tend to breed for that.
Hmong chickens first arrived in the USA in the late 70s with the arrival Hmong refugees from Laos escaping a civil war between royalists and communists. Depending on where you get your stock there will be slight differences. The Hmong chickens from America comes primarily from Hmong refugees of Laos.
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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.