Sales of Icelandic hatching eggs and day old chicks have been suspended until further notice. We are in the process of flock rebuilding in an attempt to remove a defective feathering gene. Please keep checking back for updates on our progress.
Icelandic chickens are a breed of chickens from Iceland. Called Íslenka landnámshænan which means “Icelandic hen of the settler,” they are a landrace fowl which are rare or non-existent outside it’s native country. They are an old breed of chicken, having existed on the island since being introduced by Norse settlers in the 9th century. However, despite the isolation, the breed has barely survived in a pure form in the 21st century, largely due to the importation of commercial strains in the 1950′s. The few thousand Icelandic chickens in existence today are a result of the conservation efforts in the 1970′s. A handful of flocks have been imported abroad, including hatching eggs imported into the United States in 1998 and 2003. Icelandic chickens are not firmly standardized in appearance, and possess a wide range of plumage colors and patterns, skin coloration and comb types. Some have feathered crests and they can have feathered shanks as well. Despite this variance in appearance, Icelandic chickens are uniformly hardy in winter, have white earlobes and lay white eggs. They are excellent on range and one of their names, Haughænsni, means “pile chickens” due to their habit of foraging on manure piles and other places rich with seeds and insects. They are also docile in temperament and the hens will readily go broody.
References: Feathersite, Wikipedia
My flock of Icelandic chickens has developed from two pairs from the first eggs imported in 1998 and hatching eggs from the line imported in 2003. I maintain a flock of 24 to 30 Icelandic chickens that free range on 2.5 acres and are housed in a spacious coop at night. My Icelandic hens lay bright white eggs with the exception of some pullets who begin with a slightly cream colored egg until they have been laying longer. My flock is fed Flockraiser feed, with scratch as a morning treat. They do not consume large amounts of feed as they forage all day. They are extremely hardy birds and disease resistant. My flock is vaccinated for Marek’s and I offer vaccination for day-old chicks if the buyer desires.
I keep a ratio of about 8-10 hens per rooster to ensure fertility and avoid damage to the hens by over mating. I have hatched hundreds of eggs and sold thousands. Both lines of Icelandics seem to have minor feathering issues that do crop up occasionally in the form of a chick with fray. I have culled all but one rooster and replaced them to eliminate the recessive fray gene. In a breed as few in numbers as the Icelandics, things are bound to show up from time to time. When they do, it is best not to use that bird in your breeding program. My mentor Sigrid cautions not to mess with the Icelandics where breeding is concerned. There are always those people who want to cross them with other breeds and we try very hard to discourage this. I will not sell to anyone not planning to maintain the purity of the breed. Their critically endangered status demands nothing less than this. If you have the need to re-home an Icelandic it is best done so as a “mixed breed” to the new owner. This will lessen the likelihood of backyard poultry experimentation using the Icelandic genes.