This amazing breed is named after the Sulm valley in the region of southern Styria (Steiermark) in southwestern Austria. Sulmtalers were developed in the 19th century to fill the need for large, heavy hens. The breeding efforts resulted in a hardy, fast-growing breed that is easy to fatten, particularly if fed maize. The Sulmtaler had become an extraordinary delicacy at the royal courts of Vienna and France by the late 19th century. In celebration of Napoleon's coronation in December 1804, there were 150 Sulmtaler capons and 50 hens ordered from the Styrian authorities. Sulmtalers are also called the “imperial” chicken.
- Breed Purpose:
- Meat Bird
- Climate Tolerance:
- All Climates
- Egg Productivity:
- Egg Size:
- Egg Color:
- light brown
- Breed Temperament:
- Breed Colors/Varieties:
- Breed Size:
- Large Fowl
Today the Sulmtalers are having quite a comeback after going nearly extinct. They are classed as rare in Britain but are still plentiful in Austria and other European countries. In Austria Sulmtaler meat is considered one of the best chicken meats available and sells for upward of 35 Euro(!) per kilo.
Finally Sulmtalers have made it to the United States! (In 2011, Arizona and Florida)
Sulmtaler hens have rather sturdy bodies, with twisted single combs and a tuft-like crest on the back of the head. Although calm natured these birds are good flyers and will require reasonably high fencing.
The eggs are light cream colored and rather large. Although they were originally quite good layers, some of this quality got lost during decades of non specific breeding. Sulmtalers now are an average layer with 150 to 200 eggs per year.
The Sulmtaler is a very hardy breed. It strives in various climates. Sulmtalers are great foragers. They find their own feed and prefer the range over the coop.