Saturday, September 13, 2014
Isn't this a gorgeous chicken? This, friends, is a Blommenhon, or as we say here in the States, a Swedish Flower Hen. Beautiful, simply beautiful.
They are also incredibly hard to find.
There are very few breeders of this rare chicken here in the US. Those that DO breed them understandably want top dollar for their birds (one breeder advertises unsexed day-old chicks for $19 each..NINETEEN DOLLARS!). There is also some serious issues with people advertising Swedish Flower Hen fertile eggs for sale who are selling eggs from poorly managed flocks, who aren't breeding true. It all makes for a bit of a challenge in tracking down these lovely birds. I've been lusting after them for years now...
Imagine my delight when I learned that there was a woman in northern Wisconsin who had a nice breeding flock. Next, imagine my despair when I discovered that she had sold said flock to an unknown buyer due to a divorce. I've spent the last year trying to find those elusive Hens.
And I found them. Huzzah! I found a breeder a little southeast of me (about two hours away) who has a small certified Swedish Flower Hen flock, who will be selling fertile hatching eggs for $2 per egg. Yes, it's steep, but so much better both distance-wise and dollar-wise than the $19 option. I've been in contact with the flock owner, and have a handshake agreement to pick up two dozen fertile eggs in February or March. And then, I'll hatch out my beauties and start my own little flock of Blommenhons.
Here's some details on the Swedish Flower Hen:
* They are a landrace breed that originated in Sweden, from chickens of unknown origin brought into the country by settlers and conquerors.
* Males can weigh up to 8 pounds, with females weighing in around 6-7 pounds.
* Their name literally means "bloom hens" in Swedish, as their coloring and the scattering of white 'petals' suggests wildflowers in the fields.
* They are very cold hardy, good foragers, and have nice temperaments. They make for very healthy small flocks of birds.
* Hens are prolific layers of large eggs, often laying well into cold, dark months of winter.
* They may be crested (with poofs of feathers on their crowns) or uncrested, and come in all colors of red, gray, black and brown. They are classically covered with scatter spangles of white feathers--like little flower petals sprinkled on them!
I have plans to keep a rooster with my flock, so I'm investigating something called No Crow! collar. If it works, I will be so happy...and so will my grumpy old lady neighbor who hates the sound a rooster makes. I love it, but she is such a crab about it that I don't mind attempting to use a silencer.
What shall I do with my current ladies? Well, the older girls will head to the Freezer for Soup Making, and the younger birds I will likely sell to new homes. People love Buff Orpingtons, and the young pullets will only be about a year old next spring. They'll make for lovely hens burbling around someone's backyard or farm, laying the occasional egg or hatching out broods of chicks.
I can hardly wait for next spring's hatching season.