Appenzeller Spitzhauben

Average User Rating:
4.41667/5,
  • Breed Purpose:
    Ornamental
    Comb:
    V-Shaped
    Broodiness:
    Seldom
    Climate Tolerance:
    All Climates
    Egg Productivity:
    Medium
    Egg Size:
    Medium
    Egg Color:
    White
    Breed Temperament:
    Friendly, Do not bear confinement well
    Breed Colors/Varieties:
    Silver Spangled/Silver Crescent, Golden Spangled and Blacks are found in the UK and USA. Light/soft feathered.
    Breed Size:
    Large Fowl
    cover.jpg

    With their characteristic forward sweeping crest, the Appenzeller Spitzhauben is an unusual looking bird. The breed originated in the Appenzell canton of northeast Switzerland and seem to date as far back as the 16th century, where similar birds are described as being developed in the local monasteries. Switzerland considers the Appenzeller Spitzhauben to be the national chicken of their country and the breed takes their name from the ceremonial hats worn by woman of the region, called Spitzhauben (pointed hood) which are reminiscent of the breeds large forward sweeping crest.

    The breed fell into disfavor after WWII and was at the brink of extinction when a German breeder, Kurt Fischer, imported all three of the original colors (black, golden spangled and silver spangled) into Germany in 1953, he is credited with saving the breed. The silver spangled version was also imported in to the US in the 1950’s, and it is the primary color found in the US today. The breed is not currently recognized by the APA, but is in the UK.

    Besides the characteristic crest, Appenzeller Spitzhauben have "V" combs, blue legs, and white skin. They are rather small birds, are very active and alert,and are good flyers and foragers. They do not take well to close confinement. They are cold hardy, and though they are primarily an ornamental breed today, the hens are good layers of medium-large sized eggs and are non-setters.

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    Appenzeller Spitzhauben egg

    chick.jpg
    Appenzeller Spitzhauben chicks

    juv.jpg
    Appenzeller Spitzhauben juvenile

    hen.jpg
    Appenzeller Spitzhauben hen

    roo.jpg
    Appenzeller Spitzhauben rooster

    For more information on this breed and their owners' and breeders' experiences with them, see our breed discussion here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/chicken-breed-focus-appenzeller-spitzhauben.1013428/
  • a43db010_IMG_8861.jpeg 942865c3_appenzeller_spitzhauben-80-6385.jpeg c3f4d088_P8310134.jpeg f5a4af35_appenzeller_spitzhauben-80-643630.jpeg b43a19de_BestB.jpeg 60e7dd04_IMG_20140516_135654.jpeg b86037a2_MrHotStuff.jpeg 78d99664_IMG_20140516_135718.jpeg cover.jpg juv.jpg chick.jpg hen.jpg 400.jpg roo.jpg

  • Chicken Breed Info:
    Breed Purpose:
    Ornamental
    Comb: V-Shaped
    Broodiness: Seldom
    Climate Tolerance: All Climates

    General Egg Info:
    Egg Productivity:
    Medium
    Egg Size: Medium
    Egg Color: White

    Breed Temperament:
    Friendly,Not bear confinementwell,Calm,Quiet,Shy,Docile

    Breed Colors / Varieties:
    Silver Spangled/Silver Crescent, Golden Spangled and Blacks are found in the UK and USA. Light/soft feathered.
    Breed Details:
    Well proportioned round body, crest must be tipped forward over face. V comb and should not have any side sprigs. Large nostrils. Eyes are dark brown. No beards or muffs, unlike the Brabanter. Skin is white and legs must be blue or slate in color. Not flighty or nervous like Leghorns. Friendly and quiet. Can stand confinement in coop and run enclosures but not in cages unless they are chicks or recovering from illness. Great active forager and excellent fliers. Good egg to feed ratio. Good layer of eggs, with production roughly between 140 to 160 white eggs per year. With patience and time, Appenzeller Speizhaubens can become very friendly and unafraid of human touch.

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    Rooster
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    Hen
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    Egg
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    Chick
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    Adolescent
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LEMae likes this.

Recent User Reviews

  1. floodthelast
    4/5,
    "My showgirls"
    Pros - Lovely friendly and petable sweet birds. They are very good fliers. They lay almost everyday for me at one year old. Fine with being petted and held even by children.
    Cons - Loud amazon bird like calls and one of my hens occasionally crows. Not small backyard with neighbors material if you need quiet.
    I love my Appenzellers. They are very sweet birds and will fly to my shoulders to say hello and check on me. They don't mind being picked up at all even by children. They do well in my covered run with high roosts. They do very well in the cold and suffer almost no frostbite with their tiny combs. They often lay back to back days but more often every other day at one year old. My light is somewhat shaded at the coop though.
    They are also very very loud and would not do well in a situation where quiet is needed. They make odd amazon bird like calls. They are very good fliers and would probably do well free range though. They get along very well with my other birds and are on the small side so don't take up much room. I would gladly have more.
    Purchase Date:
    June 2016
    Better Than Rubies likes this.
  2. SueT
    5/5,
    "I am so impressed with this breed!"
    Pros - Friendly, intelligent, cute, photogenic
    Cons - none yet
    I am raising my first batch of Spitzhauben chicks and I am so impressed with them. They are friendly, trusting, and intelligent. The chicks figure out what to do in each new situation and don't make a fuss. On a recent segment of PBS's P. Allen Smith, he did a show on heritage breeds, spending part of it with a breeder of these chickens. She said, I've never had an aggressive rooster.
    I have read that they are excellent free rangers, excellent egg layers. View attachment 1306989 2-27b (3 of 1).jpg View attachment 1306991 View attachment 1306996
    I will add to this review as mine grow up.
    Edit on August 22
    My Spitzhaubens are now 7 months old. I am still in love with this breed. I have 3 left after selling 2 cockerels. The cockerel is polite and takes care of his ladies. The 2 pullets are little egg laying machines, rarely a day goes by without 2 of their eggs. I hope to raise more!
    trio in motion 8-3 (3 of 1).jpg
    Purchase Price:
    Inexpensive from Cackle hatchery
    Better Than Rubies likes this.
  3. Mattsculpt
    5/5,
    "Great Birds!"
    Pros - 5 eggs a week, good forager, beautiful, not aggressive.
    Cons - None.
    I have two Appenzeller Spitzhauben, one pullet and one cockerel in a mixed flock. The pullet started laying right at 4 months even though it is fall, and has given me 5 plus medium sized eggs a week this past month. The cockerel is a little gentleman with the hens, not at all aggressive as many young roosters can be. He crows only at dawn and when the pullet sings her egg song. Mine stay in their run and only flew up to the top of the coop once. They are beautiful to watch, a bit wary, but not at all skittish. Great little birds.
    Overall:
    5
    Better Than Rubies likes this.

User Comments

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  1. Corys chickens
  2. DuckingLost
    I wonder if anyone can give me some info on caring for the nose/nostrils on my pullet...it looked a little more crusted than normal. A warm wet qtip released a lit of brownish gunk. Should I keep doing? She did not like it!
  3. Tami Lyons
  4. duluthralphie
    I have some and so far I have to say, I like them, they have not started laying yet. They are a cute crested bird that is not nutso like a polish is.
      Tami Lyons likes this.
  5. Alexandra33
    Great review! I love Spitz with all my heart, especially my little Sassy Cassie. They sure are a friendly breed. :D
    ~Alex
  6. Chicken Egg 17
    They are very pretty birds do u know at least how many eggs they lay a year or how often they lay an egg
  7. Priscilla Feathers
    Thank you so much for the information. I like talkative birds too, so maybe I could handle one chicken that isn't quite so cuddly. I wish I could find cuddly and heat tolerant in the same breed. It seems like most of the heat tolerant ones are flighty though.
  8. dtimoth
    My Spitzhaubens are not particularly friendly. They're a bit like the Mediterranean breeds in that they are flighty and somewhat nervous but good layers. I doubt any Spitzhaubens would be good cuddlers, although you could try to start cuddling when they are chicks and see how it goes. Yes, the Australorps are very sweet. They mellow out a lot as they grow older, which the Mediterranean breeds and Spitzhaubens tend not to do. Speaking of boring, someone mentioned that the Spitzhauben ladies are very talkative. That's true. They are always spreading gossip and making music with their talkativeness.

    The Minorcas are not cuddly or friendly. They are nervous acting no matter how old they get, but they are great layers. Again, you could try a Buff Minorca, starting with a chick, but I don't think she'll ever be a lap chicken the way Orpingtons or Australorps can be. Another very sweet breed I've had in the past was the Speckled Sussex. That gal would fly onto my shoulder and perch while I did the feedings, and she always enjoyed being petted.

    In summary, the Spitzhaubens are not cuddly at all, but they are stunning to look at and soothing to listen to. They are good layers and although they're from Switzerland, they tend to do well in the Phoenix heat. We've had a 'relatively mild' summer this year, but even in last year's 115+ days, they did okay with water and shade. I've never lost a Spitzhauben to heat stroke like I have Rhode Island Reds, Australorps, Minorcas and Orpingtons. My suggestion would be to get a couple of Spitzhauben chicks and try to cuddle them as much as possible, and see how they turn out. Good luck.
  9. Priscilla Feathers
    Are your Spitzhaubens friendly? I'd like to try Spitzhaubens since I've heard from several sources that they do well in Arizona heat, but I really like my chickens to be cuddlers as well.

    I've had good luck with Australorps for both heat tolerance and friendly behavior. They are lovely, quiet, cuddly birds, but having a whole flock of Australorps is a bit boring.

    Were your Minorca chickens cuddly or at least friendly? I've thought about trying a buff minorca. I love my cuddly buff orpington hen, and I love her color. She's so pretty out in the yard. But I have to bring her indoors when the heat gets over 100, she just suffers too much when she's left outside.
  10. Hogs and Horns
    There are two cantons (similar to states) in Switzerland with the word Appenzell in their names: Appenzell Ausserrhoden and Appenzell Innerrhoden. They are located in the large eastern region of Switzerland that speaks Swiss-German rather than the smaller regions that speak French, Italian, or Romansh. That is why the name is Swiss-German, which is a form of German. According to the Appenzeller Spitzhauben Club of America, the breed originated in those Swiss cantons, found in the north-east part of tiny Switzerland. Sorry, Spitzboyz, but Sweden has nothing to do with them. It's a very common mistake people make between Switzerland and Sweden. Sweden is in the northern part of Europe, in what we call Scandinavia, located between Norway and Finland. Switzerland is smaller and farther south, landlocked between France, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, and Italy. We actually are Swiss citizens, from Switzerland, and hear it all the time: "Wow, you're Swiss but you're not blond and blue-eyed...aren't people from Sweden supposed to look like that?", etc. :)

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