Hey there, chicken enthusiasts and backyard flock fanciers! Today, we're taking a delightful deep dive into one of the most enchanting breeds out there – the Swedish Flower Hen. Known as "Skånsk blommehöna" in their native land, these birds aren't just another feather in the cap; they're a bouquet of charm and hardiness! Brought back from the brink of extinction thanks to the Swedish Gene Bank*, these hens are a living legacy of Sweden's rich agricultural history.🐔🌼 Let's cluck our way through the history, traits, and the oh-so-lovely personality of these fabulous fowls!
A Petal from the Past: The Historical Blossoming
Embark on a historical journey with us as we unfold the captivating tale of the Swedish Flower Hen, a breed that's much more than just a feathered friend - it's a living piece of history. These magnificent birds hail from the serene plains of Skåne, the southernmost province of Sweden, and carry a legacy dating back to the early 19th century.
The revival story of the Swedish Flower Hen is as colorful as their plumage. In the 1980s, this breed was on the brink of disappearing, but thanks to the passionate efforts of conservationists like Håkan Hallander, these hens flapped back from the edge of extinction. Hallander's dedication is chronicled in his book "Svenska Lantraser" (Swedish Landrace breeds), highlighting the importance of preserving such unique heritage breeds.
The origin of these birds is rooted in the flocks of three distinct farms. Ester Pålson from Esarp, Kurt Jönsson from Tofta, and Bror Svensson from Vomb were the original stewards of these flocks. Interestingly, almost all birds from the Vomb flock were crested, adding a unique flair to the breed. Additionally, birds purchased from Svensson were later found in Knut Karlsson's flock in Skurup in 1985, further diversifying the gene pool.
The name "blommehöna," meaning 'flower hen' in Swedish, is derived from the old local name "Di gamle blommede" – the old flowered ones, a reference to their distinctively speckled plumage resembling a field of wildflowers. These chickens have been an integral part of the rural Swedish landscape, roaming the farms since at least the early 1800s.
The Swedish Flower Hen, as a landrace breed, embodies the essence of the region's farming and poultry-keeping traditions. Each of the original flocks contributed to the genetic mosaic of the breed, making the Swedish Flower Hen a living, breathing mosaic of Swedish agricultural heritage.
In celebrating the history of the Swedish Flower Hen, we pay homage to a breed that is not just a part of Swedish agricultural history but also a symbol of resilience, beauty, and the enduring spirit of conservation.
Blossoming Traits: What Makes Them Unique
Let's cluck into the specifics of what makes these Swedish Flower Hens stand out in the coop! Weighing a hearty 4.4-5.5 pounds for hens and 5.5-7.7 pounds for roosters, these birds showcase a round and robust physique. Their legs are as smooth as can be and come in a variety of shades - from skin-colored to yellow, even black-mottled, adding to their unique charm.
Now, for their show-stopping feature - their plumage! With a base color palette that includes red-orange, black, grey, or the occasional bright yellowish hue, every feather tip is elegantly tipped in white, creating a stunning 'flowered' appearance. And let's talk crests – these range from just a hint of fluff at the back of a rooster's neck to a full-blown, all-around-visible "luva" on a hen, akin to a stylish knitted cap.
Their earlobes add another touch of uniqueness, predominantly white but sometimes speckled with red. As for their combs, they are typically medium-sized, single, and serrated, adding to their distinct look.
In short, the Swedish Flower Hen isn't just another bird in the flock – it's a standout with its robust build and uniquely 'flowered' feathers, making it a walking piece of art in your backyard!
Egg-cellent Layers and Hardy Homesteaders
Step into the world of the Swedish Flower Hen, a breed that's not only a vision of beauty but also a paragon of productivity and resilience. These hens are more than just a pretty plumage; they're hardworking layers and robust homesteaders, tailor-made for the thriving backyard coop or the bustling small farm.
When it comes to egg-laying, these hens are as reliable as they come. Annually, you can expect about 130-150 eggs from each hen, with each egg tipping the scales at about 2.1 ounces and boasting a charming off-white to beige or brownish hue. This level of productivity places them among the more prolific of the landrace breeds, making them a valuable addition for those looking for a consistent supply of farm-fresh eggs.
But their prowess doesn't end with egg-laying. The Swedish Flower Hen is a breed defined by its hardiness. These birds have evolved to thrive in the varied climate of Skåne, showing remarkable resilience in both colder and warmer conditions. This adaptability makes them an excellent choice for a wide range of environments, particularly for homesteaders and backyard chicken enthusiasts seeking a low-maintenance yet high-yielding breed.
Furthermore, their disease resistance is a notable trait. These hens have developed a natural resilience to common chicken ailments, reducing the need for frequent veterinary interventions and making them a more sustainable choice for organic and small-scale poultry keepers.
But there's more to these hens than just their physical capabilities. They also exhibit a broodiness that is slightly lower than average for large landraces. This characteristic, coupled with selective breeding within the gene bank, has led to a gradual increase in their broodiness percentage, now hovering around 20%. This trait is particularly appealing to those who are interested in naturally expanding their flocks, as these hens can reliably hatch and raise their chicks.
Personality Blooms: The Friendly Flock
Let's ruffle some feathers and explore the delightful disposition of the Swedish Flower Hen, a breed that's not only a feast for the eyes but also a bundle of joy and friendliness. These birds aren't just about looks; they have a personality that sparkles as brightly as their plumage.
The Swedish Flower Hen is known for its amiable nature, making it a perfect companion for both seasoned poultry aficionados and those new to the world of backyard chicken keeping. These hens exhibit a calm and gentle temperament, often seeking out human interaction, which makes them a fantastic choice for families with children or for those who enjoy a more hands-on approach to poultry keeping.
But their personality isn't just about being friendly and calm; these birds are also known for their curious and inquisitive nature. They're often seen exploring their surroundings, pecking around for treats, and engaging with their environment in a way that's both entertaining and endearing. This sense of curiosity not only makes them amusing to watch but also indicates their intelligence and adaptability.
Moreover, the Swedish Flower Hen's independence is a trait that many chicken keepers appreciate. While they enjoy human company, they are also content to roam and forage, making them a low-maintenance option for those with busier lifestyles. This balance between sociability and independence is a hallmark of the breed, offering the best of both worlds to their keepers.
A Feathered Word of Caution
A little birdie told us that when it comes to crested birds, avoid pairing a crested rooster with a crested hen. This can lead to chicks with overly developed crests, hindering their vision and ability to evade predators. Remember, in the world of chicken breeding, variety is the spice of life!
Conclusion: A Blooming Addition to Your Coop
So, there you have it, folks – the Swedish Flower Hen, a breed that's as robust and beautiful as the flowers they're named after. Whether you're an experienced chicken keeper or new to the flock, these birds are sure to add color, personality, and a whole lot of fun to your backyard.
Are you captivated by the idea of adding these fashionable fowls to your coop? At Cluck It All Farms, we proudly offer hatching eggs and chicks (seasonally) from these exquisite birds. Embrace the opportunity to raise your own flock of these Swedish marvels.
*For those new to the term, the Swedish Gene Bank plays a vital role in safeguarding the genetic diversity of native breeds like our beloved Flower Hens, ensuring their legacy for generations to come.
And remember, as our mascot Millie says, "Feathers up, beaks down, let's make this coop the best in town!" 🐔🌼