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Country of Origin: Iceland
Bird Size: 3-5.5
Egg Production: great
Egg Size: medium
Egg Color: medium white
Comb Type: all comb styles
Hardiness: very hardy in all environments but extremely cold hardy
Temperament: some are talkative and friendly, some flightly, prefer to free range
ALBC Priority: Threatened
Icelandic chickens are the ultimate all around free-range chicken. Icelandics have much to offer for a more self-sufficient homestead, farm or backyard flock. While not suitable for confinement management systems, if given range to roam—whether on pasture or in woods—they are highly skilled at both foraging much of their own feed and evading predators. They are not typically friendly and cuddly bird, however we do get some that are occasionally friendly. They are very chatty so be ready! In regards to foraging they love piles of decomposing vegetation and other organic refuse, with a payoff of free natural feeds for the flock and compost for the garden. (In their native land they are also called Haughænsni or “pile chickens” because of their preference for such debris heaps). During their foraging they eat lots of bugs – and love to eat ticks! Great for off-grid living as well.
These chickens are extremely cold tolerant – they thrive in Vermont, but can handle all temperatures and situations. They are one of the only breeds to generally lay consistently in the winter. Eggs are white to cream color, medium size. They are a generally leaner chicken which helps them be more stealth like!
Icelandics are still relatively unknown in the United States, but we think they are getting a lot more attention for all of their beneficial uses. You don’t want to miss getting a hold of these multi-purpose chickens. They are considered “threatened” by the Livestock Conservancy, a rare and unique breed of chicken.
Icelandic chickens originated with the settlement of Iceland in the tenth century by the Norse, who brought their farmstead chickens with them. (In Iceland they are known as Íslenska landnámshænan or “Icelandic chicken of the settlers.”) Over the centuries, selection favored breeders capable of feeding themselves on Icelandic smallholdings, and hens with reliable mothering skills. The result was a landrace of active, naturally healthy fowl adapted to harsh conditions, on the small side with good egg production, even in winter.
The term “landrace” means that these chickens were selected all over Iceland for the same suite of utilitarian traits—but not to conform to a specific breed standard. Typically a flock of Icelandics is a visual kaleidoscope, showing every feather color and pattern, both single and rose comb styles, and various shank colors. Some birds, both hens and cocks, have crests of feathers on the head, while others do not.
Sugar-Feather is member of the following groups:
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.