Chicken Breed Focus - Norwegian Jaerhon


Rest in Peace 1980-2020
Premium Feather Member
Jun 28, 2011
The Norwegian Jaerhon is the only chicken breed that is considered truly Norwegian in origin. It was developed around 1920 near the town of Stavanger on the Southern Atlantic coast of Norway, and was introduced to the US about twenty years ago.

While a small breed, with the hens only around 3.5 pounds, it is a good layer and the hens lay medium to large white eggs. They are an active and hardy breed, that is rather reactive in temperament and good at avoiding hawks. They are excellent foragers, good and persistent flyers bordering on escape artists, and will roam widely if given the chance.

They are single combed and clean legged. They come in three usual colors, with their feather pattern looking like they have bad barring in dark brown, light yellow, and another color called Flame that was developed by Sandhill Preservation Center. Day old chicks are auto-sexing.


Breed purpose: Eggs
Comb Type: Single
Broodiness: Seldom
Climate Tolerance: Average
Weight: Hens 3.5 lbs. Roosters 5.0 lbs
Egg Productivity: Good
Egg Size: Medium/Large
Egg Color: White

Pic by @becky3086

Pic by @Roosterfry

Pic by @Amyable

Pic by @Roosterfry

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Do you own Jaerhons? Are you a Jaerhon 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!

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How are they sexed? They don't seem to have the chipmunk stripe I thought typical with autosexing breeds. By the head spot alone?
I stumbled across the Norwegian Jaerhon by accident while doing an internet search for an Norwegian author. Having Norwegian in my ancestry and being a fairly new chicken breeder, I was hungry for more information. I started doing research. The more I read, the more I interested I became; eventually I came to a conclusion...I had to have some. They are certainly rare, and not easy to come by. Ideal hatchery wouldn't have some until the following year, and Sandhill Preservation's ordering policy wasn't going to work for me. I was desperate! After weeks of searching, I finally found an NPIP tested backyard breeder and obtained my little breeding flock.

Of the 8 breeds I've raised (6 of which I had bred) the Jaerhons quickly became my favorite, knocking the Buff Orpington down to #2. They lay like little machines, are incredibly personable and friendly, and they have a great feed-to-egg ratio (eating very little, especially compared to my other breeds). Add to that the fact that they are auto-sexing and I was just blown away. Not only are they the easiest of my breeds to handle (none are adverse to being handled-except our rooster, and we have one hen who will perch on your shoulder the moment you enter the coop) but I almost found them to be, by far, the cleanliest of the group. Though we have automatic feeders and water system, we take a long plastic feed tray (with the top removed) of fermented feed out to each breed every morning and the Jaerhon tray consistently comes back poop-free. They don't soil their nests either, so the eggs are always clean too!

These Jaerhons are the "dark" variety.

This was my initial flock, but that doesn't mean the breeder I purchased them from hadn't in-bred them. I didn't realize that was a potential cause for crooked toe; I'll remember that.

Funny thing is, I thought it might be a genetic defect within the breed, since other causes I had come across when I researched the issue didn't seem to apply. I had the same problem the previous year with my Barred Rocks, but was able to weed it out. My theory was (and this might be completely ridiculous
) that the Jaerhon breed could have been developed with some Barred Rock genetics; therefore making it common in both breeds. It didn't seem that far-fetched considering they're the only 2 breeds I've had this issue with.
Actually, thinking more on the subject, the reason I developed that theory was because the Barred Rock flock I mentioned was composed of females from one source, and 2 males from a different source. My first hatch from this flock produced 40% affected chicks. I checked my birds right away, starting with the males. I noticed that one of them had the condition, but it was so mild that it was virtually undetectable (very minimal curvature of only one toe). I pulled him out of the flock. The next hatch produced only 25%; the following only 15%. 2 hatches later the rate was decreased to 4%. By the end of the season, only 1% of the chicks hatched were affected. I used one of the hatched cockerels for the following year and had only 1 case all season.

I know, they passed it to the Jaerhons......
(kidding, of course!)

Any thoughts?

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