Icelandic Chickens

or Íslenskar Hænur
or Íslenska landnámshænan
or Haughænsni

A pair of Icelandic fowl
Photo courtesy of Lyle Behl

These chickens were brought to Iceland by the Vikings in the 9th century AD and were found on most farms for centuries. Indeed, one of their Icelandic names -- Íslenska landnámshænan -- means "Icelandic hen of the settlers." With the advent of the commercial type chickens, by the 1950s the Icelandic breed was nearly extinct. All the birds now existing (less than 3,000) are descended from a very small group of fowl saved in the 1970s.

Icelandics are quite winter-hardy and lay white eggs. This is a long-lived breed and the hens make good broodies. They are also reputed to be quite docile. They are excellent on range, and another of their Icelandic names -- Haughænsni -- means "pile chickens," due to their habit of foraging on manure piles and other places rich with insects and seeds.

There is a great variety in plumage and leg coloration and many comb types exist in the population. Crests also occur frequently. The facial skin is red and ear lobes are white. Feathered legs are not allowed in the breed standard.


Icelandic Links:

The Icelandic chickens group

Behl Farm

Oil paintings of Icelandic chickens

Photographs of Icelandic Chicken heads


Icelandics doing their thing
Photo courtesy of Icelandic Chicken group on Facebook

A flock of Icelandic chickens
Photo courtesy of Sophie Walker

"Egil," an Icelandic cockerel
Photos courtesy of Lisa Richards

Icelandic hens
Photos courtesy of Icelandic Chicken group on Facebook

Icelandic crests
Photos courtesy of Icelandic Chicken group on Facebook

An Icelandic hen in front of her rooster
Photo courtesy of Sweet Gaia Farm

Icelandic roosters
Photos courtesy of Icelandic Chicken group on Facebook

These hens show a sample of the color variation in the Icelandic Chickens
Photo courtesy of Lyle Behl

Flocks of Icelandics
Photos courtesy of Icelandic Chicken group on Facebook

An Icelandic rooster
Photo courtesy of Sophie Walker

An Icelandic pullet
Photo courtesy of Lisa Richards

More Icelandic roosters
Photos courtesy of Icelandic Chicken group on Facebook

And more Icelandic hens
Photos courtesy of Icelandic Chicken group on Facebook

Another Icelandic rooster crowing
Photo courtesy of Lyle Behl

An Icelandic rooster, with a hen's head looking at you
Photo courtesy of Sweet Gaia Farm

More flocks of Icelandics
Photos courtesy of Icelandic Chicken group on Facebook

A flock of young Icelandics
Photo courtesy of Lisa Richards

Icelandic hens with chicks
Photos courtesy of Icelandic Chicken group on Facebook


Icelandic chicks
Photo courtesy of Lyle Behl

More Icelandic chicks
Photos courtesy of Lisa Richards

Even more Icelandic chicks
Photos courtesy of Icelandic Chicken group on Facebook


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