Icelandic or Viking Hen

Average User Rating:
4.625/5,
  • Breed Purpose:
    Dual Purpose
    Comb:
    Single
    Broodiness:
    Average
    Climate Tolerance:
    All Climates
    Egg Productivity:
    Medium
    Egg Size:
    Medium
    Egg Color:
    White
    Breed Temperament:
    Flighty
    Breed Colors/Varieties:
    Many
    Breed Size:
    Large Fowl
    LL.jpg

    The Icelandic breed is a landrace fowl which are rare outside its native country of Iceland, after which it's named. They are a very old breed, having been present on the island since introduction by Norse settlers in the 9th century. However, the breed has barely survived in a pure form in the 21st century, largely due to the importation and popularity of commercial strains of chickens in the 1950s. The few thousand Icelandic chickens in existence today are the result of conservation efforts in the 1970s and a handful of flocks that have been exported abroad.

    Icelandic Chickens are not firmly standardized in appearance and possess a wide range of plumage colours and patterns, skin colouration and comb types. Some will have feather crests. Despite this variance in appearance, Icelandics are uniformly hardy in winter, have white earlobes and lay white to light brown coloured eggs. They are also said to be docile in temperament, and hens will readily go broody. They are great foragers and skilled escape artists. If there is a way out, they will find it!

    egg.jpg
    Icelandic eggs

    chick.jpg
    Icelandic chick

    juv.jpg
    Icelandic juvenile

    hen.jpg
    Icelandic hen

    roos.jpg
    Icelandic 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-icelandic.1083508/
  • 43e38834_chickens3062.jpeg 53ffd604_1121860555_P1030566.jpeg 6b3ce939_GEDC0106.jpeg 539e2746_IMG_0883.jpeg 6d70fdc1_IMG_3882.jpeg 68d840bb_1490746_239941339501083_2068783895_o.jpeg b913d395_Ryofivemonhs3.jpeg c753e566_Joafivemonths.jpeg LL.jpg egg.jpg chick.jpg juv.jpg hen.jpg roos.jpg

  • Chicken Breed Info:
    Breed Purpose:

    Dual Purpose in Iceland
    Comb:
    Various
    Broodiness:
    Average
    Climate Tolerance:
    All Seasons, Great winter

    General Egg Info:
    Egg Productivity:

    not well defined, Average.
    Egg Size: Medium

    Egg Color:
    White

    Breed Temperament:
    Flighty, curious, conservative of energy


    Breed Colors / Varieties:
    Many colors, some have crests. Speckled or "calico" are some of the most striking looking.



    Breed Details:





    Chicken Breed Photos:


    Primary Image

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    Rooster
    [​IMG]

    Hen
    [​IMG]

    Egg



    Chick


    [​IMG]

    Adolescent
    [​IMG]

Recent User Reviews

  1. Chullicken
    4/5,
    "Interesting Conversation"
    Pros - Amazing foragers, great feed conversion, all colors of the rainbow you never know what you get, fascinating back story
    Cons - Flighty as the day is long
    If you want an interesting, out of the main stream fowl type as they are not a breed and never will be, more accurately a 'Landrace'. One that you won't ever know until they grow up what color they will be, great historical fowl with plenty of personality who are known to be great brooders..this is the bird for you. Very medium frame. Do great free ranging and willingly breed on their own for a steady flow of cute chicks that change colors several times until maturity. A very big bonus to these is the Landrace philosophy as they are not breed for type, but rather for temperament, alertness, broodiness and general character which is great. My Icelandic rooster is the best one I've ever had with an amazing rose comb to boot.
    The community has a strong, knowledgeable base with very high standards almost to the point of being an elitist mentality. Worth a try though and guaranteed an interesting conversation with you fellow enthusiast.
  2. MTmillefleur
    5/5,
    "Very interesting, beautiful, remarkable..."
    Pros - Thrifty, hardy, beautiful, good egg layers
    Cons - Too smart for their own good, can fly
    Much more interesting than any other of the many breeds I have lived with in more than 60 years. I like their reactive instincts, like wild birds. They are very curious and intelligent and if raised right, given treats and around calm people they are very friendly. Each bird has his or her own distinct personality.

    If raised together, boys get along well, with one being the top rooster and others staying submissive to him. Roosters are very protective of their hens (they will die for them), and so a human needs to be understanding of that and not be perceived as threatening to flock members. If a human is aware and is quiet and calm, roosters can be very friendly. Mine brings me treats and drops them at my feet. Hens make good mothers, and great layers of medium eggs. Mine stop when molting and begin laying again in mid-January, with no additional light or heat in a quite airy coop in Montana winters.

    I love their unpredictable coloring. It is always a treat to see a new batch of chicks and their colors, and then wonder how they will look in three months and then adults since they change so much.

    They are great free-rangers, but must have predator protection by fencing, electric fencing or livestock guard/protection dog(s).
    Overall:
    5
    rosetheriveter likes this.
  3. deputychicken21
    5/5,
    "The perfect chicken"
    Pros - Beautiful, unique, Self sustaining
    Cons - Flighty
    In my opinion Icelandics are the best chicken to have. They practically take care of themselves. They are extremely hardy in heat and cold. Their beauty can not be matched.I would recommend them to anyone.
    Overall:
    5

User Comments

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  1. Robert 1234
    After looking at many many pictures of ( islandic chickens ) .... Most of them appear to be a varied mix of all breeds.
    I have noted crosses between ( Spanish white face, Wyandot , Welsumer,and various others.
    This would appear to be Peaple trying to push up there limeted stock and color patterns.
    The one noted identitie of these birds are the ( top knot ) both roo's and hens.
    Any one who truly wants to save this breed should focus on top knot , weight , and then color variation .
    I have received a pair of birds with top knot , rose comb type and will focus on breeding from this pair .
    Rooster is white with black markings through out , and hen in buff/ cream.
    Wish me luck ...
  2. MTmillefleur
    I note that one review on here states that Icelandics can have feathered legs and this is not true. They must have clean shanks. They commonly lay white and tinted tan/pinkish eggs.
  3. MTmillefleur
    The Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/icelandicchickens/ acts as an unofficial club, education center and group for Icelandic chicken owners in North America and Iceland. There is a Breeders List of vetted breeders, a lot of informational documents under Files, and has more than 3,500 members. Here are photos from my flock in Western Montana. As you can see, the landrace (not a breed with a standard of perfection) is very diverse. They are also incredibly various as to personality, intelligence and curiosity. They lay a lot of white to tinted medium to large eggs, are very good at free range thriftiness and are very interesting.
      rosetheriveter likes this.
  4. MTmillefleur
    The Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/icelandicchickens/ acts as an unofficial club, education center and group for Icelandic chicken owners in North America and Iceland. There is a Breeders List of vetted breeders, a lot of informational documents under Files, and has more than 3,500 members. Here are photos from my flock in Western Montana. As you can see, the landrace (not a breed with a standard of perfection) is very diverse. They are also incredibly various as to personality, intelligence and curiosity. They lay a lot of white to tinted tan medium to large eggs, are very good at free range thriftiness and are very interesting.
  5. MTmillefleur
  6. MTmillefleur
    The Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/icelandicchickens/ acts as an unofficial club, education center and group for Icelandic chicken owners in North America and Iceland. There is a Breeders List of vetted breeders, a lot of informational documents under Files, and has more than 3,500 members. The landrace (not a breed with a standard of perfection) is very diverse. They are also incredibly various as to personality, intelligence and curiosity. They lay a lot of white to tinted medium to large eggs, are very good at free range thriftiness and are very interesting.
  7. meusoc
    Where can I get them!
  8. CuzChickens
    I want Icelandics so bad! are you selling them?
    1. Rocky29
      Where are you located I have 3 chicks for sale In Indiana?
      Rocky29, Aug 16, 2017
    2. Rocky29
      Where are you located I have 3 chicks for sale In Indiana?
      Rocky29, Aug 16, 2017
  9. ShellyJensen
    what color are the eggs?
  10. StephWind
    How would one get in touch with Lyle Behl? I LOVE the Behl line birds!!!

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