Just by the appearance of Hamburg chickens, you can tell they are magnificent. These easily scared chickens are truly beautiful but very flightily and adept fence jumpers.
They are known to take the show in competitions and have made owners scoop a number of awards and trophies with their elegance.
Although some varieties like the black Hamburg are extremely rare, other varieties are not. Hamburg chickens are noisy, flightily and do not make good chicken pets.
These birds are somewhat very beautiful with a game like appearance. They are also referred as Holland chicken and are good foragers and extensive explorers requiring large space to roam.
History of Hamburg chickens
Hamburg chickens are a very old breed tracing history back in the 1400s. They originate from Holland where they were first domesticated by the Dutch.
A competition held in a pub in the 1800s made this breed rise to fame after Hamburg roosters won and became popular since then.
In the 1850s, the Hamburg chicken breed made its way to United States and was quickly accepted because they were good layers of eggs than other heritage breeds.
The Dutch continued to breed these chickens and were able to come up with several color varieties like Golden spangled, silver spangled, silver penciled, black and white Hamburg’s.
These chickens also got their way to England and were accepted with ease as they were preferred as backyard chickens.
Some chicken enthusiasts also kept them as ornamental birds due to their beautifully colored plumage.
Features of Hamburg chicken
Hamburg chickens are small sized birds that do not weigh much. Hamburg roosters are known to attain weights of 2 to 2.5 kilograms while hens weigh an average of 1.6 to 1.8 kilograms.
This breed is very beautiful and they look dazzling with white feathers and black markings making them appealing to look just like a bride. Going for poultry show with these chickens, a trophy is a sure bet.
They have a long slender appearance and their legs are pale blue in color with their tail feathers being long.
Their legs are long, thin and with no feathers on them. They have small combs and wattles that are deep red in color. Hamburg’s eyes are yellow to reddish bay.
On each foot there are four well-spaced toes with short claws on them.
The difference with this breed compared with others is that their bones are grey in color and don’t have a normal pink skin like other chickens do.
These easily scared chickens fly off with ease especially when frightened or alarmed. Perching on top of trees is not a surprise with these birds or even roosting on fences and on tree branches.
A chicken run with hawk netting ceiling can be an alternative to prevent them from flying over the fence.
They are great insect lovers and forage a lot and prefer being outdoors to supplement their diet with leafy matter and some tasty grubs.
These birds are also very notorious and if they get a chance to sneak in your vegetable garden they will do a lot of damage to the crops.
You will be required to herd them in the evening to come to their deep litter coop to roost. However, often toss tasty treats like whole corn, boiled onions and lettuce to entice them come home before dusk.
If they happen to spend the night out, they risk being preyed on by chicken predators like skunks and possums.
Temperament features of Hamburg chickens
The bad thing with these beauties is that they will never allow you to get close to them. They love it when spending much of their time with their kind foraging and collecting seeds on the backyard.
Whenever you want to get close to them I would recommend you do it at night under the cover of darkness. Otherwise you may never get a chance to hold them because they are very skittish and alert.
Unlike other breeds that after laying have the tendency of going broody, for these chickens the case is different as they don’t.
You will be required to get help from other breeds to sit on the eggs of a Hamburg hen and foster their young.
Additionally, you can also power on your egg incubator to hatch Hamburg chicken chicks.
Due to the beautiful nature of their plumage, some Hamburg keepers prefer having them in their backyards as ornamental chicken.
They are beautifully colored and are fascinating to watch them add color in your compound.
Hamburg chickens are easily scared and the first thing they do is fly away. Some keepers say that tucking them in coops sometimes becomes impossible as they often roost on trees.
They are known to be predator savvy and evade aerial predators very well by fleeing for their lives to safety.
They are very noisy and when fascinated or frightened, they make loud clucks. Keeping them in an urban setting may not be possible as they will disturb your neighbours.
Hamburg egg laying and uses
Hamburg breed are very small in size with boys weighing about 2kg and girls 1.6 kg. With this kind of mass they are unable to offer much meat like other heavy chicken breeds like Barnevelder.
The good thing with them is that they are good layers as they lay all year round but will never go broody. For rare cases when they hatch, they don’t seem to care for their young making awful moms.
Hamburg chickens are adorable birds and they will never disappoint if you intend to keep them for eggs. In a year, they can lay 200 medium sized eggs.
Their eggs have a white eggshell color with the inside egg being white with a single yellow yolk. Hamburg chicks and chickens for sale are available at Chick hatchery and Hoovers hatcheries.
These birds also reach maturity early at 4 to 5 months they are ready to mate.
Hamburg chicken lifespan
Hamburg chickens can live between 5-8 years when well cared for. However, this period may exceed and surpass 10 years depending on the quality of care they get.
Although they may live longer, their life period is not specified. Some may be lucky to live for many years only succumbing to old age.
While for others, predators like possums and diseases will not allow them to live for long. Laying hens will be allowed to live until they can no longer lay as expected while roosters will be culled for meat.
This chicken breed is known to be very hardy and is not easily affected by fowl diseases. They are easy to keep as they do well when allowed to roam out on their own.
When young, Hamburg chicks are very fragile and require maximum care. These chicks easily suffer from stress and this affects their health very much lowering their survival rate.
Ensure that you check and protect them from common external parasites like scaly mites and chicken lice. When not controlled, these parasites suck blood and damage the feathers of your birds leading to loss of weight and even death.
Chicken lice and mites can be controlled by using recommended poultry dust that is dusted in the coop and under the bird’s feathers. Small amounts of diatomaceous earth can be used to control these parasites.
Gape worms and thread worms are another serious threat. These internal parasites live inside the birds body where they feed and multiply.
Seek advice from a qualified bird vet on the best natural dewormer for chickens. Also, raising these chooks in chicken cages can help minimize worms. They collect worm eggs as they free range.