Chicken Breeds

The chicken breeds articles on our blog at Hedgerow Henporium

Group of Swedish flower hens

Swedish Flower Hen

Swedish Flower Hens – Skånsk Blommehöna

Beautiful Swedish Flower Hens are as the name says, a native landrace Swedish chicken. They are exceedingly rare in Sweden and have been brought back from the brink of extinction by a few enthusiasts who have nurtured them and tried to keep them alive and kicking. These are now consequently finding their way across the world as people discover how beautiful they are.

Skånsk Blommehöna description

There is no breed standard for them because they are a landrace breed. This means that due to local conditions there has been a natural cross breeding taken place over many many generations until the chicken eventually became what it is today. A process of natural selection with no human intervention.

The characteristics of Swedish Flower Hens are that it can be with or without a crest. They can also have yellow, pink, white or pale mottled legs but the feathers all have a “flower” on each tip. There should be no “barring” on the feathers at all. Other than this the breed is not supposed to be selectively bred for colour or any other traits thus keeping it entirely as wild as it is. To add in selective breeding would destroy what makes them so special in the first place. The base colours for Swedish Flower Chickens are red, brown, blue, white, black and yellow. They have genebank status in their home country.

Our flock of Swedish Flower Hens (even the boys are named the same) is as multicoloured as possible with several boys to make sure the genes are well mixed to preserve the variety of colour which happens when nature decides the result.

The curious thing about Swedish Flower Hens is that until they are fully grown, you cannot tell what their final feather pattern is going to be. The grower chicks are often therefore a completely different pattern. They go through several changes of feathers until they earn their flowers by being mature enough to wear them. Although they are multi-coloured and may seem bright, they are actually superbly camouflaged in a field or natural setting. They just melt into the background.

Swedish Flower Hen Temperament

These chickens are not generally a friendly breed in that you could describe them as standoffish. They are not aggressive to their other coop mates. Whenever you have any treats on offer they are then quite happy to be in your company. It is usually on their terms.

Breed Size

These chickens are a large fowl light category.

Swedish Flower Hen Eggs

Swedish Flowers lay a good number of pale cream eggs. Eggs size is medium to large

Cost

A Swedish Flower hen is a rare breed of chicken. The price starts at £10 for a day old chick up to £30

Sources of Further information

For more information about the chickens we sell please look at our chickens for sale page. If you have burning questions about how to look after chickens and have been stumped by the confusing contradictions online join us on one of our courses.

Waiting List Image

Waiting List

Waiting List Information

Our waiting list is a mailchimp list whereby we can send an email to all our waiting list subscribers who would like to know when we have some chickens for sale. You can find the waiting list option on our contact form here

WE NOW HAVE PLENTY OF STOCK AVAILABLE SO PLEASE GET IN TOUCH AS CHICKENS MAKE THE IDEAL PRESENT

Wrapped up chicken
A chicken is the gift that keeps on giving

Its been a funny old year. We have been inundated with requests for chickens for sale ever since Covid-19 has taken over the newsreels of the world. We restocked hybrids and Black Rocks twice but sold out of older chickens almost immediately. Our suppliers exhausted their supplies and had no more available. Chicken availability was somewhat of a problem but we tried to keep up with demand as much as possible.

We normally time our chicken availability so that we can meet our normal demand levels but this year caught us unawares. We normally mostly hatch from our own breeding flock and this year has been no different. Our incubators have been working flat out to try to meet the demand. We have been unable to keep anything long enough for it to become point of lay as they are sold well before that. Such is the current demand. We still have nothing at point of lay.

As soon as chicks were sexed at 6-8 weeks old they were being snapped up. Demand is still brisk but definitely more in line with what we normally see in the Autumn and Winter period. If you are looking for hens (albeit rather cute youngsters) then take a look at our latest stock post. We update our availability here on our blog page. We still have Cochin, Brahma, Swedish Flower Hens, Coronation Sussex and Salmon Faverolles.

Essential things to do while you are waiting

Research Care Requirements

While you are on our waiting list, you may wish to research some good chicken husbandry minimum requirements. Chickens don’t require much but they do require the correct care to enable them to lay well and remain healthy. Get a jump start in your chicken knowledge by looking into doing our online Chicken Keeping Course. It is £35 well spent.

Horror Stories

It is coming to our attention that some people are of the opinion that they can just dump chickens in the garden and they will stroll around popping out some eggs every day. Chickens require housing for safety and weather protection. We have been hearing of people feeding them on old bread and left-over takeaway rubbish. Their welfare needs to be high priority. You need to feed your chickens well with a diet that is properly formulated and best suited for avian digestive systems. Feeding them household scraps is not legally allowed and is certainly not going to give them a diet which will make them most productive or healthy. Based on the saying rubbish in, rubbish out. With hens it is definitely rubbish in, nothing out.

Attend to Foxproofing

Most important is how to avoid your new hens from becoming a convenient take-away snack for a hungry fox or badger. Check out our chicken foxproofing post for tips to safeguard your chickens

Avian Influenza Current Information

We have a blog page devoted to the current regulations relating to Avian Influenza which has raised its head again this year in the UK. Make sure you are up to date with what you MUST do to comply with the current laws. There are unlimited fines and probably imprisonment for those not heeding the requirements.

How to get notified of new stock

Please use our Contact page to be added to our waiting list. Tick the waiting list option along with the “opt-in” to give us permission to contact you. Our mailing lists, which are infrequent, have an easy unsubscribe link to unsubscribe at any time. We do not wish to annoy you by emailing you unnecessarily. Please know that we take your privacy very seriously and will not spam you without permission. As we say, spam is for fritters and we hate fritters.

Chickens ready for sale

Chicken Maths = How many chickens?

Today I spent a good few hours rearranging all my pens to keep the age groups in one place. I have chickens all over the place so it was time to make it more organised.

Well after I caught them up, they ran off, so I caught them again. They didn’t like their new pen because it was obviously a scary place. So inconsiderate! Considering I spent ages digging in some lime to disinfect the area. It also rearranged my hair as I got it caught in the netting. Dragged through a hedge backwards is a recurring theme for me these days. They then made a bolt for the door every time I brought another 2 over. I don’t know about them, but I found it quite stressful. It certainly increased my step count for the day according to my fitness phone app so not all bad!!

When I finally finished I took a picture so I could see what I had and which colour mixes I had. This is not the only batch of chickens I have either so I might have to give myself a stern talking to.

These are now ready to go to their new homes. We have Brahma in Pyle, and Buff Columbian. We have some Orpingtons in Lavender and some Swedish Flower Hens Crossed with either Leghorn or Ancona.

That moment when you realise exactly how many chickens you have. Chicken maths – aka chicken addiction – is a real thing, especially here.

For the uninitiated, the term Chicken Maths relates to a Phenomenon (excuse) for why numbers of chickens get out of control. It starts off by getting a flock of 3, then because you cannot add a single chicken to an existing flock, you end up with 2 more. If you lose one and need to replace it, you end up with another 2 minimum. And so it goes.

 

Bantams – 8 reasons why we don’t keep them

What is a Bantam

First of all, a bantam is a size of chicken, not a breed. They are divided into true bantams, which includes Pekins, Sebrights, Serema, Dutch and Booted bantams amongst others. True bantams have no large fowl equivalent. Many large fowl have a bantam equivalent, these are roughly a quarter of the size of the large fowl version. There is a bantam version of Wyandotte, Brahma, Leghorn, Sussex, Rhode Islands, Faverolles, Welsummer, Araucana to name a few.

An interesting fact regarding the Pekin and the Cochin which causes some confusion when viewing Facebook groups which have many nationalities as members. A Cochin has no bantam equivalent, however chicken keepers in the USA call Pekins a Cochin. As ever, the Americans are often at odds with the way we name stuff.

8 Reasons why we don’t keep bantams

  1. They are a quarter of the size of a regular chicken and they might not mix well in a large fowl flock
  2. They can have a “Napoleon Complex” which can actually show aggressive tendencies much bigger than their size in a mixed size flock. Sometimes bantam sized chickens can suffer with bullying when in with the bigger girls.
  3. They are usually very broody. Broody hens can be aggressive with other hens and also their keepers. Broody hens won’t lay eggs.
  4. They have repeated attacks of broodiness throughout the year and its often difficult to get them over it. Broodies can die from malnutrition or dehydration in particularly warm periods. The broodiest by reputation are Silkies, Goldtops, Pekins and Wyandottes.
  5. Their eggs are too small for your average chuckyegg. They need very small dippy soldiers to fit. Bring on those proper sized eggs!!
  6. They are no more easy to handle than large fowl even for children.
  7. The numbers of eggs are poor because they have repeated bouts of broodiness.
  8. They are more at risk of danger when a cat is involved or larger birds of prey.

We only stock Large Fowl

Large fowl and very large fowl can be just as friendly and cuddly as bantams. The largest chickens are fluff balls which are easy and calm to handle. They are not prone to panic running about as some bantams are. There is nothing standard about a chicken however as they all reserve the right to be individual characters, just like us.

Grayson Coronation Sussex

Coronation Sussex

Coronation Sussex Description

Coronation Sussex are very rare. They are a new breed for us to stock and are very similar to the Light Sussex however where the Light Sussex has black neck hackles, wing tips and tail tip, the Coronation Sussex has a pale grey in those areas. We are fortunate to have these in our breeding flock with two magnificent cockerels. Grayson and son of grayson. We havent thought of a name for him yet. Sussex chickens come in various colours such as Light, Speckled, Red, White, and Coronation.

Coronation Sussex Breed Temperament

She is a typical Sussex chicken temperament. A Coronation Sussex is confident but also not a lover of being cuddly. They are not usually the sort of chicken that dominates a flock. A Sussex mixes well with other chickens and are good layers.

Sussex Breed Size

This breed is classified as a large fowl – light. Sussex chickens in general have a rather matronly build. They tend to look rather stocky compared with something like a Leghorn for instance.

Eggs

Eggs are a biscuit colour or pale tinted and are produced in good numbers. Approximately 4-5 eggs per week in their first laying year. They come into lay at around the 25 week mark. The egg size is medium to large

Cost

These are £7 from un-sexed day-olds rising to £30

Availability

We will be hatching some of these in from April to September 2020. The Sussex breed in general is slow to show us whether they are boys or girls so they can be around 10 weeks old before they can be guaranteed female.

Sources for Further Information

For more information about the chickens we sell please look at our chickens for sale page. If you have burning questions about how to look after chickens and have been stumped by the confusing contradictions online join us on one of our courses.

Hedgerow Banner

Latest Stock

Latest Stock for sale

This post is here to show you at a glance what we have going on and what is the latest chicken availability for sale.

  • Splash Cochin and Brahma
  • Blue Salmon Faverolles
  • Swedish Flower Cockerel
  • White Leghorn Cockerel
  • Salmon Faverolles Boy
  • Very young Brown Rock
  • Black Rock Hens
  • Cockerel Group
  • Sussex group
  • Hatching Eggs
  • Chicks and Hen

Breeds available as at 9th October 2020

We have been having a busy year as it seems COVID 19 has encouraged people to begin to keep chickens in the garden. In order to try to satisfy the demand we have been hatching as fast as nature will allow whilst still being mindful that we need to give them the best care possible.

We normally stop hatching round about August but we have set a few low number hatches just to keep some in stock. Our egg numbers are growing less as the hens are starting their annual moult so this further reduces our ability to even have fertile eggs available. The hens will stop laying for the duration of their moult which can last for up to 8 weeks.

The short days will affect their hormone levels and often laying won’t start again till the days start to get longer. Some breeders keep the lights on to fool the hormone system into a continued laying pattern but we allow our garden girls to roll with nature and have a well earned rest, so please bear with us.

We are still running a waiting list if you want to be told when we have hens available. Please register on our contact form to go on the waiting list to be notified as soon as the available to be released for sale. See stock list below

Breeds Available On Our Stock List

Join our mailing list to be informed of our latest chicken availability. How it works

Breaking News!!!!

Exciting development. We have been unable to run our face to face chicken keeping courses due to the restrictions of COVID 19 so we have been busy setting up an online version. It has been a tough steep learning curve with the technicalities on the IT side of things but we have gone live with it as of 1st December 2020. See our Chicken Keeping Courses Page for details.

We are hoping that people will find the easy-to-follow bite size chunks an enjoyable experience. It is crammed with masses of information you should know about keeping chickens. It will take you on a deep dive into the fascinating world of this wonderful creature. We guarantee that you will learn things that will make you think about chickens in a totally new light.

It will help you make good equipment choices, avoid illnesses, and be able to spot them before they get out of hand.

Getting the right coop for example will make the cleaning out of your chickens a 10 minute job rather than a real thankless task. We help you get it right, first time. This will save you money and time and who doesn’t need some of that? Chickens are enjoyable but making poor choices takes the shine off it very quickly.

We cover things like the law, regulations, and welfare. Feeding and watering and ways to make it more efficient. Pest and predator control are covered, as is security and behaviour. We have quizzes as you go along to test your accumulating knowledge. Each lesson is easy to pick up and leave off where you like with no time pressure.

New Delivery of Black Rocks

We are expecting a delivery of Black Rock hens and Brown Rock hens direct from the Muirfield hatchery week commencing 22nd June 2018. We will be getting several at point of lay (POL) and loads of cute fluffy day old female chicks.

Get in touch via our contact page if you would like to reserve any

Happy New Year 2018

Happy New Year 2018

Wishing you all a happy new year with peace, prosperity and goodwill to all men, women and chickens!! We hope that this coming year is a fabulous one not forgetting those less fortunate than ourselves.

We are open and have a selection of hens at point of lay.

  • Blue Cochin
  • Salmon Faverolles
  • Black Rock
  • Light Sussex
  • Swedish Flower and La Fleche crosses in blue and brown
  • Prices range from £20-£30

 

Ex-battery hens on rehoming day

Ex-battery laying hens milestone reached

Major rescue milestone

Ex-Battery hens say the British Hen Welfare Trust is about to hit a major milestone. Ever since they started in 2005, they have rehomed around 50,000 hens a year of ex-battery and ex-colony hens, affectionately known as ex-batts or ex-battys. It has been their mission to educate people to no longer tolerate the conditions that these creatures have to endure in order to provide your chucky egg. On Sunday 1st October as part of a release of 5000 ex-battery hens, the total numbers rescued will hit 600,000. Hen number 600,000 is shortly going to arrive somewhere in the south of England and the Trust is very excited about it. They should be, their sterling work has ensured that public pressure has encouraged the governments and food suppliers to think seriously about hen welfare and what sort of category of eggs go into their products.

Why do hens need to be rescued in the first place?

The battery cages, as they were known, only allowed for a space of about an A4 sheet of paper per hen. She was kept in warehouse style conditions consisting of tiers of cages where thousands of hens were kept. High concentrations are solely to provide cheap eggs. Thanks to public and celebrity pressure, the old style cages throughout Europe and UK are now outlawed in most countries, in favour of a cage system known as a colony cage. I don’t personally think they are any better than the old system, as there are about 50 birds per cage. The cage has a nesting area, a perching area and a dustbathing area but they are still cramped, albeit not to the same degree. The lights are kept on for 15 hours to keep the birds in laying condition. At 72 weeks of age, they are considered “spent” and their economic value suffers. Many are rehomed but this is a drop in the ocean given the billions of birds in the systems. Much more are sold off at between 30p and 50p per bird to go into the processed meat chain for things such as pies, and animal foods.

How to get hold of Ex-Battery hens

If you want to rescue an ex-batt lady then there are many rehoming charities, the main one is here British Hen Welfare Trust. They are countrywide and have regular rehoming events. You will need to register on their website and they will let you know when the next rehomings are in your area. You will be vetted so be prepared.

Ex-commercial hens are usually poorly feathered, but this is not because they have necessarily been mistreated. In preparation for their exodus from their cages, the supplier can often squeeze the last few eggs out of the hen by cutting their final food bills as a bonus. By withdrawing or lessening the feed that these birds eat, it often causes a spontaneous moult. Their bodies still have enough resources to produce those final eggs but the profit margin is much greater for the supplier. Most chickens at the age of around 18 months will moult for the first time then anyway.  It is a natural phenomenon but can be prematurely trigged by reduced feed intake.

Ex-batt hens come out of confinement with poor feathering, weakness or damage limbs. This can be because of the rough handling of their rescuers in their attempts to extract frightened birds from their cages. The combs are very pale and flaccid due to being in a high heat environment. Lots of birds can generate significate amounts of heat. The hens are not used to moving around a great deal so are often limited in their limb strength. They have never seen the daylight and to be thrust into a strange world can be very disorientating for them. Given time, and patience, they will blossom into fully feathered and very happy little creatures.

Group of Salmon Faverolles

Salmon Faverolles

The Salmon Faverolles is one of our favourites

The Salmon Faverolles is quite an unusual chicken. They have a lot of facial fluff (a muff and a beard to be precise) making their little choochy faces look so sweet. We keep the large fowl version but there is also a bantam variety which is a quarter of the size. They also come in a non-standard colour of Blue Salmon that is very hard to source as it’s not as popular as the Salmon.

Salmon Faverolles Breed Description

The Faverolles is originally a French chicken from the vicinity of the towns of Houdan and Faverolles in north-central France. This is how the breed got its name. A Faverolles is always written in the plural – never singular – and pronounced Fav-er-ol as it’s French you know!! A combination of Cochins, Houdans and Dorkings were used in its breeding profile. The Faverolles became one of the most important egg-producing utility fowl in the north-central region of France.

The Faverolles reached the UK in 1886, but then the British developed it further to meet British breeder tastes. British breeders developed a slightly different type with tail feathers that were longer and raised higher than their German and French Cousins. This new type therefore went on to become the accepted exhibition standard in the UK

We have Faverolles in Salmon, Blue Salmon and some in mottled black and white. One of the things that makes a Faverolles stand out is the muff and beard and the fact that they have a fifth toe that curiously points up in the air, whereas most chickens have four toes. This breed has feathery legs and feet so therefore is not suitable for living on continually squishy muddy ground.

Male Salmon Faverolles are a dark mahogany colour. They are beautiful and calm so consequently shredded wellies are a very rare hazard. The male Blue Salmon Faverolles has a dark back and blue front. Both Salmon and blue Salmon have the straw coloured neck hackles. It is easy to determine the sex at 2-4 weeks of age because the boys start to show dark feathers early on. The Blue Salmon is not yet recognised as an official colour by the breed club as its still quite new.

They are a dual purpose breed because they are good for meat and eggs.

Breed Temperament

They are a very inquisitive and chatty bird and always on the lookout for when the treats are handed out. Despite being a large bird, they have quite a timid nature so consequently, can get bullied if they are in with chickens that have more attitude.

Breed Size

These chickens are classed as Large Fowl – Heavy

Eggs

Faverolles can make good winter layers and are very hardy. Moulting time will stop them laying if that coincides with winter.

They lay a very good number of medium-sized, tinted pale cream or pinkish eggs.

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