Chicken Breed Focus - Appenzeller Spitzhauben



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8 Years
Jun 28, 2011
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.

Breed purpose: Ornamental
Comb Type: V
Broodiness: Non-setter
Climate Tolerance: Average
Weight: Roosters 4.5 lbs, Hens 3.5 lbs.
Egg Productivity: Good
Egg Size: Medium
Egg Color: White

BYC Breed reviews:

General breed discussions & FAQ threads:

Appenzeller Spitzhauben Rooster @PhoredaBurds

Appenzeller Spitzhauben Rooster @PhoredaBurds

Appenzeller Spitzhauben Rooster2 @CrazyTalk

Appenzeller Spitzhauben Pullet @stoneunhenged

Appenzeller Spitzhauben Pullet @DeannaOR

Appenzeller Spitzhauben Flock @flitter

Appenzeller Spitzhauben Flock @flitter

Appenzeller Spitzhauben Flock @PhoredaBurds

Do you own Appenzeller Spitzhauben? Are you a Appenzeller Spitzhauben breeder? If so, please reply to this thread with the your thoughts and experiences, including:

· What made you decide to get this breed?
· Do you own them for fun? Breeding? Some other purpose?
· What are your favorite characteristics about this breed?
· Post some pics of your birds; male/female, chicks, eggs, etc!

We have a bunch of other awesome breed-focus threads for you to enjoy. You can see all of them here:
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The first breed focus that attracted me enough to click on it! Ironically, I have been slightly intrigued by Spitzhaubens lately after seeing the silver spangled variety in a catalogue. The funny part is that I always thought crests on chickens were ugly until we got a Cream Legbar, and then suddenly "hairdos" were not only acceptable but adorable! I still can't manage to warm up to Polish, but breeds with smaller crests are fabulous.

So of the ones that set eggs.... How do they do in a chicken run? Do they need more space than breeds like the BA or BO?
I have Hamburgs as well and they are said not to do well in confinement but mine have done fine.
I think the appenzellers are interesting with the "hairdo" that still lets them see.

We have a Spitz that we absolutely adore! She is everyone's favorite, very sweet, will follow you around, and jump up on your lap or shoulder. We have a run that is 20 X 10, that thirteen chickens spend most of their day in and have not had any issues. We let them free range 1 to 2 hours a day, and that seems to keep everybody happy. No eggs yet, mine are 16 weeks old.

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