Country of Origin: Iceland
Bird Size: 3-5.5
Comb Type: all comb styles
Primary Use: Dual Purpose
Egg Production: Good
Egg Size: Medium
Egg Color: White
Temperament: Indifferent, Curious
Environment Type: Free Range
Livestock Conservation Status: Threatened
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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 generally suitable for confinement, 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 with a lot of interaction starting from chick size they can be very friendly and chatty! They are very chatty so be ready, one of our children is very fond of them and they are her favorite! 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. They can fly well and are good escape artists. We tend to find we can have several roosters co-habitate with each other which is not generally usual in other breeds.
These chickens are hardy and weather 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, we choose to not have them lay in the winter so they can be more productive in the Spring. Eggs are white to cream color, medium size. Generally a leaner chicken, which helps them be more stealth like! These are really tough/strong birds. Many people do process the cocks for meat and do it very successfully.
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.
Our flock consists of all 4 imported lines however we have more PURE Sigrid Lines/Steinar II, and Husatoftir Line, we have paperwork on our lineage. We keep all our lines together to have some genetic diversity. All our birds are Non-GMO and vaccinated for Marek’s Disease.
Feed Recommendations: we recommend starting baby chicks out with Sugar Feather Farm chick starter for the first 3 weeks, then switch to our Chicken Grower. Use the Grower Feed until they hit maturation (which is when they start to lay) then switch to Sugar Feather Farm Adult Feed.
We highly recommend using the Oil of Oregano in their water daily as a supplement to aid with digestion and overall health.
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.
There are 4 recognized lines of Icelandic Chickens in North America. Each of the lines came from a different farm or preservation flock in Iceland.
In 1997/1998 by Sigrid Thordarson, from Steinar II and Syðstu Fossum Farm, this line is known as the “Sigrid Line.” Sometimes referred to as the as the Steiner II line or import. In 2003 by Lyle Behl, from Kolsstaðir Farm, this line is known as the “Behl Line.” At times, also referred to as the “Kolsholt Line” or import. From 2010 – 2011 Withrow, Lallemand and Bentely, from Hlesey Farm, this line is known as the “Hlesey Line.” or import. The Lallemand import is managed by Whippoorwill Farm. Finally, in 2012 by Vala Withrow, from Husatoftir Farm, this line is known as both Vala’s line or the “Husatoftir Line.” or import.
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