Swedish flower hen also known as (Skansk Blommehona) is a bird like no other. Looking for a thousand colors in one feathered friend? Here they are.
Although this breed is very new to the outside world, in its native place of origin Sweden it faces the danger of extinction with conservation being the only hope.
In this article, I am going to take you through a general overview of this fancy chicken breed. Ill tackle the birds history, characteristics, temperament, hardiness and lifespan.
History of the Swedish flower hen
The Swedish flower hen is the only bird truly endemic to Sweden. It is believed that this chicken breed was created through natural selection and random pairings.
Some people associate the origin of the Swedish flower chickens with seafarers who brought them here as they scouted for possible trade avenues.
After setting foot in Sweden, these birds were quickly embraced by the people because they were able to offer much meat and eggs just as they wished.
On top of that the Swedish chicken breed was able to adapt to the Swedish climate with ease. They could find food on their own and were good predator savvy chickens making them the ideal Swedish chicken.
In the 1970s, this chicken breed was almost extinct with only a few birds remaining in a three villages across Sweden. This prompted the Swedish government to initiate conservation efforts to raise the numbers of this breed.
The resurgence of modern chicken breeds like cinnamon queens and production blue chickens that could lay more eggs, produce much meat and mature within a short period of time led to loss of popularity of the Swedish flower chickens.
The Swedish flower hen is a bird with mellefleur plumage pattern with feathers that are worth to entice your eyes it is the Swedish flower chicken.
This bird is very unique with an array of colors that make up the beautiful plumage. The Swedish flower hen is found in various color varieties like blue, red, buff and black.
The flowers on the Swedish chicken plumage are tipped white and those that lack the white tip on them have a black tip.
Although they are rare, the color mixture of the black and white tipped speckles on a base color like yellow has resulted in the snow leopard Swedish chicken variety.
In some instances, you will find crested varieties of this chicken breed. They have a crest of feathers on their heads while others are not. This trait is likely to be determined by the line of birds you have.
These chickens have a yellow skin that can sometimes be mottled with black. They have yellow legs that are clean with four toes on each foot and these legs are not feathered.
They have red combs and wattles that are deep red in color. These combs are small in hens but in the Swedish flower roosters they are large and well defined.
This chicken breed has a short and plump yellow beak that is a clear adaptation of eating grains and various treats like celery and peanuts. It is also suited for taking tasty grubs, ants and other insects they get on the backyard.
The Swedish flower chicks are yellow or pink in color. An average rooster weighs 8lbs while a mature hen will weigh about 5lbs to 5.5lbs.
The Swedish flower hen is a relatively calm bird. They are not aggressive and will not pose any threat even to your young kid.
They are the kind you would wish to have as pets since they enjoy human company and love attention a lot. These birds will follow you around for a toss of mangoes and peas.
When integrating them with other flock members they will do well together as long as there is enough space for the birds that love to range wide like Hamburg chickens.
If you intend to have these birds, look them in hatcheries like Hoovers that have Swedish flower chicks for sale. Because they are not common having been taken to the US a few years ago, expect them to be a bit pricy.
If you are looking for a hardy and tolerant chicken breed the Swedish flower chicken breed is a perfect match.
These chickens are cold hardy and are able to do well in harsh climates just like their cousins the orloff chicken. They survive and do well even where other modern chickens cannot.
They are also resistant to common poultry diseases that attack chickens but notorious ecto parasites like chicken lice and mites are a serious threat.
Using small amounts of diatomaceous earth in their dust bathing sand will help. Diatomaceous earth powder works by dehydrating moisture and body oils from these tiny parasites to death.
Changing the beddings regularly and replacing it with new one will also deny these parasites a habitat to hide and lay their eggs.
These birds are very good when left to free range. They are savvy and will not be easily ambushed by predators like possums and hawks.
They love to roam vast areas where they supplement their diets with small plants, grubs and insects they collect on their own.
Swedish flower hen standard
Because the Swedish flower chickens got to the United States in 2010, they are yet to be recognized by the American Poultry Association.
This breed is available in various colors like blue, red, yellow, buff and black. Only a few dedicated breeders are selling the Swedish flower hens. Expect them to cost a bit higher because they are rare.
The Swedish flower hen will not disappoint when it comes to egg laying. In a year, these chickens will lay about 150 to 200 light beige tint colored eggs.
Pullets will lay very small eggs at first but the eggs will grow bigger as they continue to lay. My Swedish flower hens are now laying bigger eggs than my black chickens where am now preferring them for eggs.
Even though they are good at laying, they hardly go broody and you will have to use a chicken egg incubator or chicken breeds with good mothering instincts like Red Hampshire chickens or Yokohama breed.
These birds are medium to large sized and will offer a substantive amount of meat. Mature Swedish flower roosters will weigh about 8lbs while the hens weigh 5.5lbs.
Even though rarely will you find these chickens being butchered for meat, its true they can offer much amounts enough for a small family.
Swedish flower chickens are members of the jungle fowl family. This subspecies are Asiatic where they lived in the wild freely until man adopted them for domestication.
They have a lifespan of 5 to 8 years but this period can extend to more than 10 years if they are given the right amount of care.
Proper hygiene, a well-balanced diet, proper housing and lack of general stress are some of the factors that will give your chickens a longer lifespan.
Swedish flower hen vs. rooster
Sometimes it can be challenging to tell the difference sex of your Swedish chickens especially when they are young.
The chicks of some chicken breeds like black star chickens can easily be sexed by looking at their downy feathers. The males are characterized by a white spot on the head and this becomes easy to tell male from females.
What of the Swedish flower chickens? How do you tell the difference?
1 Vent sexing
This is the most modern method in commercial chicken farming that is being used to tell the sex difference.
Here the young birds are sexed by professionals who use certain devices that are inserted in the vent to expose the sex organs and this way they can tell the difference.
Roosters will have long feathers on the tails, hackles and saddle region. The tail feathers will be long and shoot up and fall at the end. Saddle feathers will fall like waterfall on the sides under the wings.
The saddle feathers in males will be long and fall on the neck up to the crop area. In hens, the feathers will be short in the three regions and they are not noticeable in the hackles and saddles.
3 Roosters will crow and mate
Mature Swedish flower roosters will mate with hens and crow often. The teenage males or cockerels will be heard from time to time trying to crow though with a different sound.
These young males will also try to mate with the hens or pullets. Swedish flower cockerels are shy and will easily get intimidated by adult hens.
4 Hens will lay and frequently visit the nesting area
One of the easiest ways to tell a hen is by laying. Once you notice the first egg this tells you that you have hens.
Swedish flower pullets will visit the nesting boxes as they try to explore possible areas where they will lay when time comes. Mature Swedish flower hens will dominate the nesting boxes where they will lay and hatch
|Short feathers in tails, hackle and saddle regions||Long feathers in tails, hackles and saddle regions|
|Laying of eggs||No laying of eggs|
|Do no crow||They will often crow|
|Do not grow long spurs||Long spurs will grow on the legs|
|Short combs and wattles||Long combs and wattles|