Dating all the way back to the 10th century, Icelandic chickens were brought to Iceland by Norsemen. Interestingly, for a thousand years, the Icelandic was the only breed of chicken in Iceland. This changed in the 1930s when more commercial chickens were imported and bred with the Icelandic. In the 1970s, efforts were made to produce purebred Icelandics once again. Today, it is believed that only 5,000 pure Iceland chickens are in existence – most of them as a result of the 1970s conservation efforts.
Icelandic chickens are rambunctious and can fly very well, often roosting in trees. Best suited to ample space, these chickens can be docile if handled at a young age. They are masters at foraging for their own food and evading predators, making them a very hands-off breed to keep. Egg production is approximately 180 small white eggs per year.
A study conducted in 2004 relieved that 78% of the Icelandic chicken’s DNA is unique and cannot be found in any other breed. They vary widely in color, found in nearly every color and pattern, and with all variants of comb types. True Icelandics will not have muffs, beards, or feathers on their legs. These smaller birds weigh in around 5 pounds for males and 3.5 pounds for females.
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