Deb's Whisperwoods Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

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                         Swedish Flower Hen Chickens

On February 1, 2012 at 6:30 am I was at the post office picking up our first shipment of Swedish Flower Hen chicks. These chicks are extremely rare. Prior to June, 2010 when Greenfire Farms in Florida imported the first ever Swedish Flower Hen chickens to the United States, these rarest of rare chickens were only found in remote villages in Sweden.   

For over 500 years this breed was only found in isolated small villages in Sweden. Thanks to  Greenfire Farms they have made the leap across the Atlantic for the first time as part of an ongoing program of introducing rare chickens to America. Very few people in the world (including most Swedes) have ever had the opportunity to see living examples of Swedish flower hens, let alone the ability to own and raise them, until now.

Swedish flower hens evolved as a landrace several hundred years ago, the result of a now forgotten mix of primitive breeds brought to Sweden by conquerors and settlers.  As a landrace, Swedish flower hens were not intentionally created by a breeder. Rather, they came about through random pairings and natural selection through adaptation to the surroundings and climate of southern Sweden's Sydskanska Plain.

The largest breed of chickens native to Sweden. Swedish flower hen roosters can weigh as much as 8 lbs. During the last half of the 20th Century the commercialization of Sweden’s poultry flocks were the main reason this breed almost became extinct. Fewer than 500 birds existed in the entire world by the late 1980s. Several decades ago in three small, rural Swedish villages a few remnant flocks were identified and a focused effort was made to save the breed. Until Greenfire Farms began working with this breed, few if any could be found outside remote villages in Sweden. Today, about a thousand Swedish flower hens live in  fifty scattered flocks.

In Swedish they are called blommehöns; translated as ‘bloom hens.’ The complex feather patterns and brilliant colors of the birds truly bring to mind wildflowers in bloom. They can't fully be appreciated unless you witness firsthand the rich and striking colors of the birds. Occasionally, flower hens have a feathered head crest, although the woman they received their first shipment of birds from had selected against this trait in her flock.Greenfire Farms later found and imported 4 crested birds from an unrelated flock, so they have the ability to produce genetically diverse chicks in both the crested and uncrested varieties and in all the colors associated with this breed: black, gray, red and white. 

Personality and hardiness of this breed, makes them a standout.  Swedish flower hens were found to be the most endearing and enjoyable of the dozens of exotic chicken breeds raised at Greenfire Farms,  They found them to be " poised and confident around people, but the roosters are never aggressive toward their caretakers.  They are independent enough to make excellent free-range birds, but they seek and seem to enjoy human interaction.  Swedish flower hens are relatively calm but never to the point of being inert or inattentive.  They seem to possess all the positive aspects of chicken personalities and none of the negatives. Our experience is that they are also unusually hardy, rarely falling ill or acting dumpy.  Swedish flower hens display a level of vigor and mastery of their environment that other breeds –and quite a few people– would do well to emulate'.

Swedish flower hens are a practical choice for backyard poultry.  They are considered dual pupose, roosters have a powerful upright bearing  a broad chest and can weigh as much as 8 lbs.. Hens far out-produce other breeds like Orpingtons. Swedish flower hen pullets eggs start out rather small but within a few months they'll be producing extra large eggs even in cold weather.

My goals with raising Swedish flower hen chicks is to help perpetuate this breed by continuing to follow breeding guidelines suggested by Greenfire Farms and once I've chosen birds for pairings I'll be able to offer started pullets and cockerels, and in the future, day old chicks to friends and rare breed fanciers in my region of the country.

Update - 6/10/12 We ended up with 6 roos and only two hens from our batch of 8 chicks.  We kept the rooster I thought was the most striking in color and conformation. One of our hens, Pewter is the same coloring as Copper, our rooster only in more muted hen tones and the crested hen,Helga is a deeper mahogany coloring.

Pewter is on the left and Copper on the right with Helga behind him and in the photo below this one.

 

6/28/12 - We got our first eggs from Pewter and Helga! We can tell their eggs apart, one being a shade darker. 

 

  8/16/12 - We had our first hatch of chicks thanks to good friend, Kristin Cornwell who incubated 11 eggs for us. Eight hatched, Kristin kept 3 chicks and delivered 5 to me.

9/07/12 - My 5 Swedish Flower Hen chicks are 3 weeks old and growing well. One appears to be growing a crest and I think it may be a hen. The other 4 are getting combs so looks like at least 3 of those are mostly likely going to be roosters.  See their photos below: 

 

 The chick in the center of the photo is the one sprouting a small crest, no signs of a comb yet so I'm thinking she is a hen and her coloring looks to be blue, a SFH color I prefer. The chick on the left only has a tiny comb and I'm hoping it will be a hen, too. The other three have obvious combs growing and most likely will end up being roos. The two in the back are very dark, one is actually black, he's the one you can see his eye and the one on the far right looks like he will probably be a blue with darker rooster coloration.

Thanks again, Kristin for hatching these babies for me. I just love these SFH chickens!

 

 

 

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