- 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
The Sulmtaler 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 and in celebration of Napoleon's coronation in December 1804, there were 150 Sulmtaler capons and 50 hens ordered from the Styrian authorities.
Today the Sulmtalers are having quite a comeback after going nearly extinct. They are classed as rare in Britain but are still popular in Austria and other European countries. In Austria Sulmtaler meat is considered one of the best chicken meats available and sells for upward of €35.00 per kilogram. Sulmtalers were imported 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. They are great foragers that like to find their own feed and prefer the range over the coop.
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-sulmtaler.1122883/
Chicken Breed Info:
Breed Purpose: Dual purpose with emphasis on excellent meat.
Comb: Single s-shaped
Broodiness: Not often
Climate Tolerance: Hardy
General Egg Info:
Egg Productivity: 150-200
Egg Size: Medium
Egg Color: Light brown
Friendly, reserved. Do not freak out easily.
Breed Colors / Varieties:
Wheaten and theoretically white. Blue-wheaten and others in the works in Europe.
Chicken Breed Photos:
Recent User Reviews
"Has potential in the right setting"
Pros - Vigorous, quick to grow, self-sufficient, lovely to look at
Cons - too nervous, high maintenance chicks
While I love their wheaten color and looks, the one batch I hatched was not what I was looking for in a backyard bird. Not the most nervous bird I've hatched, but they were not calm as their breed description states and did not care to be handled.(Eggs from Greenfire stock) The funniest part is they would eagerly run up to your hand to eat out of it, jump right in it, etc. Stick your hand in 60 seconds later and they would run screaming for the corner in terror. :-?
Con: they had bizarrely sharp nails. At 8 days old, scabs started showing up on a few. It took another day before I figured out they were slashing their own skins open. Their nails were literally like raptor talons in shape and length and had to be clipped at 8 days old (ideally it should have been on day 6)! This is the tenth breed I’ve had as chicks and the first time I’ve ever had to clip chick nails.
If you have space and want a free-ranger, I think these could be a nice bird. Not ideal as a city chicken.
Pros - Quiet, active foragers, not very demanding, good layers, beautiful
Cons - Roosters can be very large
Pros - Dual Purpose - Excellent quality table bird.
Cons - Flighty
Sulmtaler are very large - similar in size to a Faverolle.
They are quiet vocally however they are a workhorse of a breed. Extremely active and always on the move - penned or not. Males get along with each other well. They are non-agressive/gentle and prefer to flock together. Mine keep their distance however, I have heard others enjoy being handled. My own theory is that they are thin/tender skinned and don't like to be pecked. Rarely are there any squabbles. Pecking order is set and that's that with Sulmtaler. They do best as free range birds preferring to find their own food but can do well penned if it's a large enough area to allow for plenty of movement. I would consider them on the quiet/gentle but "flighty" side.
Out of 5 hens, I get 3-4 eggs everyday - still up to today (January) but I live in a desert and it has been ~75 degrees here with plenty of sunshine. Eggs are a lovely size and shape. Excellent breast/muscle development with large thighs etc. Meat is extremely tender, juicy and can be baked in the oven.
2 studies I have found indicated:
-Testing was implemented in 1912 on the Altsteirern strain with the result of an average of 191 eggs per hen in 12 months.
-It was an excellent utility fowl recognized by the Styrian Government (~1907) and particularly recommended for maize/corn growing areas.
Recorded as producing ~180 ivory/cream colored eggs per year.
Sulmtaler are unique and an Austrian wine country favorite.BlackHackle likes this.