16 Icelandic eggs moved from my neighbor's incubator to home. 9 to Heppni, proven good momma, coming 2 year hen and 7 to Joka, 9 month old untested broody pullet
Icelandic Chickens - Page 2151
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My icelandic roo has integrated nicely with my current flock. The black spots on his comb that I was worried about healed up nicely, fairly sure they were just bad peck marks from the other roos he was with.
I can't wait to get my hatching eggs! I actually just had my very first incubator chick hatch this evening. I'm incubating eggs for a local friend. This egg hatched a little early so I'm hoping they will all be ok.
I think that Icelandics have the most diverse gene pool of any chickens. If that is true, the possibility of feathers on legs would have to exist. They might be rare, but the possibility of them would be there. I don't necessarily agree that it would benefit them though. With snow, slush and ice, I think the feathering might be an unwanted trait. I get the warmth, but does that override the risk of the "ice ball" build up on the feathers on the feet?
I have had it on two of mine, and I know the strain was pure from Sigrid. I would look very askance at anyone who says they shouldn't have it, or most other traits. We have a treasure house in the gene pool, that is a wrong attitude for the breeds welfare. Save the genes, don't discriminate against unless its a negative, but the chances of that happening are slim.
My chickens don't free range so ice buildup isn't a worry. But it does get cold here.
My Easter Hatch eggs are close, I did see one move. In the morning the turner gets turned off.
Jake, I know the feathering can exist. The ability of the diverse gene pool to produce recessive or latent traits is what makes Icelandics such a treasure. Whether or not individual breeders find it something they breed away from or toward is, to me anyway, up to the breeder and not to be determined by any one/group other than the individual breeder. Just as some breed toward mottled, crested birds because that is what they like, and others breed toward blue, rose combed birds because that is what they like and you breed toward leg feathering because that is what you like, the fact is that as long as the birds are pure, they are Icelandic. My rose comb, cleaned headed, partridge hen is just as Icelandic as my single comb, crested mottled hen and your clean-legged cockerel is just as Icelandic as your stubbed-feather-legged cockerel. AS LONG AS WE KEEP OUR FLOCKS PURE. Whether you choose to keep a trait is up to you. Others may choose to cull the same birds you breed toward.
There is NO standard for Icelandics.....only a pure gene pool. If a trait pops-up from pure birds, who is to say that recessive or latent gene wasn't kept for a reason at some point in the more than 1,000 years of their existence. Might be that some Viking's wife loved the feathered feet of a chick hatched hundreds of years ago. Perhaps she kept that trait and it was later buried by others who didn't want feathered feet. Who are we to say?
Keep them pure, if something shows up that you like, keep it...if not, don't perpetuate it in your flock. I try to keep a little of everything so that I don't lose anything.
I am going to post this again. It is Sigrid's post from earlier in this thread, June 24, 2010 Post #573.
In the middle, she has a bit in quotations "let nature take its course" and "don't make a mess of it". That was in response to a question I asked about whether I should "let nature take its course" when determining who should be a flock leader. I was worried I'd make a mess of it by making the wrong choice for that position. Only God knows how hard I've tried to not make a mess of it.
Every time I read this, I can feel in her words, the love she has for this truly unique and treasured breed.
Hi to everyone on Icelandic BYC:
We are having so much fun following you experiences. Some are a bit hillarious. I could not help laughing out loud when I saw Mary's picture of Victoria's Secret Model, Fredrika. Mary is so creative. I like the name "Buri"- very appropriate. Also Una meaning content or happy. Frida, meaning beautiful and Helga- Holy. All are old Icelandic names.
Now, about our Icelandic chickens:
I remember them on some remote farmsteads in the thirthies-a small numbers foraging and taking care of themselves for most part, perching in barns and occacionally treated with leftovers the dogs did not want. They were friendly and never went far from the premises. They are social by nature and very hardy with high tolerance for harsh weather or weather changes.
They come in a rainbow of colors like all other lifestock in Iceland, horses, sheep and cows. That is what makes them all unique. Most Icelandic chickens have a crest on top of their head. Their eggs are white or slightly beige and tend to be somewhat elongated. They are good sitters. Their combs come in many variations, straight, rosecomb, etc.
The Icelandic chicken generally lives a long live. I have 3 hens ten years old and one 11 years old. I know of a 15 year old here in Iceland.
The Icelandic chicken is called Landnamshæna, (Settlers Chickens) or haughænsni, (Pile Chickens). They were brought to Iceland by the first settlers from Norway before the year 900, and were known to find something to eat in manure piles. Therefore the names. Today they are sometimes called Viking Chickens. These chickens are mentioned in the old Icelandic Sagas written around 1250. Genetic research shows them to be 78 % different form all other chickens in the world today. This is why it is important not to mix them with other breeds, once we do that, we can not get it back. Therefore we need to let them breed naturally as they always have. Nobody here in Iceland has worried about in-breeding for over a thousand years. I have had my RALA chickens in California since 1998, and started with a very few.
I have seen a number of roosters and hens together here in Iceland where they can enjoy more freedom roaming around because there are not many predators here. They seem to establish their hierarchy naturally. (There will always be a top rooster and hens tend to do that as well).
So, " let nature take its course "and don"t "make a mess of it".
After WWII the interest in our old breed diminished when a lot of people from the countrysite migrated to the City (Reykjavik) for a "better life". Egg production became commercialized using foreign breeds.
In 1974, Dr. Stefán Aðalsteinsson realized that the Landnámshænan was just about extinct. He travelled all over the country looking for Icelandic chickens and found some in remote parts of Iceland, mostly on the East Fjords and the North East part of Iceland. He brought them to RALA (Agricultural Research Center) at Keldum. They were in protection untill 1985, when they were placed at the Agricultural University at Hvanneyri. Still in protection. When I refer to my RALA chickens I am referring to those. I got my chickens from this group specifically. The original RALA group is now at 2 farms near Hvanneyri.
In 2003 there was a great promotional effort to initiate a general interest to save this breed. On Nov. 1 2003, The Landnámshæna Association with a yearly publication was established. They have now about 168 memers. It is believed there are now over 2000 Icelandic chickens in Iceland. Mary O´Bryan got 2 hens, Lukka and Henna, and 2 roosters from me. Lukka and Henna are RALA but the roosters are from hatching eggs from one of the members of the Association.
I brought some hatching eggs from Iceland last fall for the first time in 12 years. Their rooster came from an old stock on the remote island Flatey, current population 5. The population in the fourties was about 250. I had relatives there then and visited the island so this was very meaningful for me. Around 1950 or thereafter, the island was vacant for some time. There was a monestary there in 1172 and it was the center of cultue in Iceland at that time. The island is now a popular tourist place with the ferry stopping there twice a day.
I hope this will be of some help to all of you.
Edited by Sigrid - 6/24/10 at 7:12pm
I was home from work for lunch today and checked on the broodies. No chicks then or tonight when I locked-up. The girls were sitting tight so we wait....
They look pretty serious!