Icelandic landrace chickens

salmon

I am feeling very happy about my flock of Icelandic chickens. They are a landrace chicken. I’ve been raising them, solely, since the end of 2015. Today, I have 5 roosters and 30 hens. I used hatching eggs from three different verified breeders of pure Icelandic chickens.  I’m pleased with the genetic diversity, beauty, health and; even, personality of this flock. I, initially, started breeding Icelandics to have a healthy sustainable flock for the farm. I feel that I’ve accomplished this. While helping to preserve a rare breed wasn’t my initial goal; I am proud that I have been able to, successfully, participate in this effort. Now, I look forward to selling purebred Icelandic chicken hatching eggs next breeding season (around April, 2019).

Why would anyone choose to have Icelandic chickens?

  1. They are like having wildflowers running around the yard! Each one is different than the other in color, pattern, crest and comb, and character. So beautiful!
  2. They are curious and adventurous and fun to watch.
  3. They make great mamas!
  4. They are good foragers and work all day long to find food in their world (even when that food is the gooseberries you were planning to put into a pie!)
  5. They are adaptable and hardy and healthy provided their basic requirements of good food and appropriate shelter.
  6. They lay well. It is said they lay about 180 eggs per year. I haven’t counted.
  7. They are quite savvy when it comes to avoiding predators but there are no guarantees! At the least, they need the basic protection of a secure coop at night.
  8. The roosters are attentive to the hens: calling to them when treats are available, performing mating dances, and protecting them from predators. They are, generally, non-aggressive. I do cull aggressive roosters from my flock. Fortunately, I haven’t had any since my first year of raising Icelandics.
  9. They make for great “T.V.”!

When might you decide not to raise Icelandic chickens?

  1. When you want to raise chickens for meat. These are medium size chickens. Roosters dress out to 2-2.5 pounds, hens are less.
  2. When you are looking to sell extra large eggs. Icelandics lay medium to large eggs.
  3. When you are limited to keeping your chickens in a very contained area. These are free spirited creatures and sure do like their space. They are perfect for free range situations. They like to fly. On rainy days, I see them fly up to perch on top of their coop…to keep their feet dry?

coopposter

We built this coop so that we can separate the mating groups in spring. All other times, we let all the groups mix together. We have one bay that has three broody boxes for mamas to hatch out our chicks. I use a three family system to prevent problems that may occur with inbreeding. These problems show themselves less readily in a landrace chicken, however, I seek to optimize the health and genetics of these chickens.  From time to time, I will bring in new genetics of pure Icelandic chickens to add from other reputable breeders.

Have a look at some of our flock on a rainy September morning:

flock1flock2Spikeflock3withSargeflock4blacktopflock5groterooflock6goldhenflock7whitehenflock8whitentanflock9thorflock10youngrooandhenflock11whitegroteroo

Other references:

Harvey Ussery: The Small Scale Poultry Flock

Icelandic Chickens of Whippoorwill Farm

Hawk’s View Farm

Facebook Icelandic Chicken Group (closed)

Past related posts:

Chickens in the house, literally

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Categories: Infrastructure, Poultry | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Our Orchard Fence

 

3dfence1Below, you will find a slide presentation that describes how we built our deer fence before we put in our orchard. This was a successful strategy for us, so, I thought I’d share.

Categories: Orchard, Strategies | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Midwinter Thaw

I visited our permaculture orchard early this afternoon. We’re having a thaw after a couple of weeks of hard freeze conditions. Last night and this morning, the rain has been plentiful. In the little video posted below, you will see:

  • hybrid plums and black currants and asian persimmon planted on the raised berm,
  • a swale catching melted snow and water running down the slope of the land,
  • black alder (Alnus glutinosa) which I planted in the swales because they tolerate wet conditions and help manage water, fix nitrogen and build soil fertility, provide early pollen to the bees (see those catkins?), provide habitat and food for many creatures, and can easily be coppiced,
  • wild perennial weeds (especially aster and goldenrod last fall) and grasses growing in the swale which stabilize the soil, help water to percolate into the soil, and provide food and habitat for many creatures, and
  • a 3-d deer fence in the background which allows most every animal to sneak into the orchard but is excellent for preventing deer from coming into the orchard and damaging/eating our plantings.

 

 

I, also, found this hardy character growing cheerfully in the rain! We planted plenty of rhubarb last spring once we found that we liked rhubarb mead so much. They are doing well!

Categories: Climate, Flora, food, Grasses, Herbaceous Plants, Orchard, permaculture, Soil, Strategies, Trees, Water | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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