This article will discuss everything you need to know about the Owlbeard chicken breed. Their appearance, personality, care, maintenance needs, and more. Keep reading to learn more.
The Owlbeard or Uilebaard is one of the oldest Dutch chicken breeds. It is related to the Polish variety of chickens and appeared in many paintings from Old Dutch Masters’ time.
It is a genuine historical chicken with a modern appearance. A lot is unknown about the history and background of the Owlbeard chicken.
However, the bird’s origin is believed to be in the 16th century. The bantam variety of the Owlbeard chicken was developed in the mid-1930s. The breed’s elegance made many Dutch artists paint it.
This adorable chicken breed comes in many stunning colors. Therefore, choosing a particular choice can be difficult since all colors are beautiful.
However, this is one of the best breeds if you want something special in backyard chicken. They are real showy birds to walk free in your backyard and will happily eat any leftover food.
If you consider adding the Owlbeard chicken to your backyard flock, you have come to the right place.
Owlbeard Chicken Appearance
The Owlbeard chicken is considered a medium to large-sized chicken. You can expect a fully grown Owlbeard rooster to weigh between 5 and 7 pounds.
As with most other chicken breeds, Owlbeard hens are slightly smaller. When fully grown, you can expect your Owlbeard hen to weigh between 3 and 6 pounds.
A bantam Owlbeard rooster can weigh up to 2 pounds, while a bantam Owlbeard hen weighs up to 1.5 pounds.
Their V-shaped combs and bulbous beard can easily distinguish these adorable chickens. They have a distinct look with no wattles but a beard and muffs covering the “chin and cheek.”
They have orange to brown eyes, while their legs are slate-colored, except the Cuckoo variety, which has pinkish legs. The White-colored variety has light blue-grey legs.
The Owlbeard chicken is a truly adorable bird with a proud and upright stance, and hence it became highly prized in poultry shows in ancient times.
They come in various colors, such as Black, Cuckoo, Edged Blue, White, Gold Black Spangled, and Gold with Black Markings.
Other Owlbeard chicken color varieties include:
- Gold Yellow Moorhead
- Silver Pearl Gray Spangled
- Silver Black Spangled
- White Moorhead
- Yellow White Spangled
- White with Black markings
The chicken’s body is tall with a sweep back leading to an elegant yet not over-stated tail. The wings point downwards, a feature common with most Dutch chicken breeds.
One of this adorable chicken’s most attractive color varieties is the “Moorhead,” which carries a solid black ‘beard’ in contrast to its white body coloring.
Owlbeard Chicken Personality and Temperament
The Owlbeard chicken is tame and docile. Despite their large size, they are friendly and non-aggressive chickens that can do well in any backyard flock.
However, because of their docile and calm temperament, they can be victims of bullying by other members of the flock that are aggressive.
Therefore, raising them in a flock comprising friendly, docile, and non-aggressive chickens is always advisable.
As with roosters of most other chicken breeds, Owlbreard roosters can be aggressive. They will stand strong to protect the rest of the flock from predators.
However, you should always watch them as they can get killed by larger predators like stray dogs.
Because of their friendly nature, they are great birds to keep as pets. If you are looking for a pet chicken, this is one of the best options.
They are also good chickens for kids. Besides, these adorable chickens enjoy being close to their handlers. It is common to find them following their handlers around in the backyard.
These chickens are healthy and hardy birds. They can do well in both hot and cold climates. In addition, they are good foragers that will enjoy roaming around the garden.
If you have a large backyard, you can allow them to roam freely as they free range.
One of the benefits of raising the Owlbeard chickens is that you will be assured of having plenty of eggs in your basket throughout the year.
However, like any other chicken breed, your Owlbeard hen needs good nutrition and care to live a happy, productive life.
Under good care and proper nutrition, an Owlbeard hen can lay 4 to 5 eggs per week. This translates to between 180 and 230 eggs per year. They usually lay medium to large-sized white eggs.
Unfortunately, these birds rarely go broody. If you want to raise Owlbeard chicks, you will want to put the eggs under a broody hen or hatch them in an incubator.
The Owlbeard is a healthy and robust chicken. However, that does not mean they are not prone to various health issues.
Your Owlbeard chicken can be prone to common health issues in all chicken breeds. As with all other chicken breeds, mites, lice, and other ectoparasites can be problematic.
You can keep the parasites at bay by spraying your chickens with a repellent. Changing the bedding in the coop and nest areas more frequently can also help keep the area clean and free of mites.
Care and Maintenance
Like any other chicken breed, your Owlbeard chicken needs good care and maintenance to live a longer, more productive life. Fortunately, these hardy and robust chickens are quite easy to care for.
While they are good at free ranging, they tolerate confinement quite well. They are good at foraging and appreciate the opportunity to free range if enough space is available.
Allowing your Owlbeard chickens to free-range helps them supplement their diet. It is also a great way of allowing your birds to explore the environment.
Free range can bring new vital minerals and vitamins into the chickens’ food supply. These birds can do well in different locations.
They can tolerate the heat, although you must provide them with adequate shade and a constant clean water supply. These birds can also tolerate the cold winter months.
The size of your coop will depend on the number of chickens you want to raise. A space of four square inches per chicken is recommended.
You will want to ensure your birds are not overcrowded in the coop. Overcrowding can lead to unwanted behaviors like aggressiveness and cannibalism.
In addition to adequate coop space, you will want to ensure that the coop has enough nesting boxes.
If you are raising several Owlbeard chickens, it is important to ensure they have straw or hay to roost in to keep them warm.
Be sure to check for any signs of frostbite. However, because their combs and wattles are not too big, frostbite will not be a big problem.
Your chickens need to drink about a pint of water per chicken every day. Lack of water can cause dehydration.
So, you must refresh the water occasionally, especially if you notice any debris or sliminess in the container.
You can free-feed your chickens with a large hanging feeder, adding them feed as needed. Make sure they are fed a balanced diet.
Your hens will need calcium in their diet to aid in the formation of strong eggshells.
The Owlbeard is a genuine historical chicken with a stunning appearance. This adorable chicken can be a great addition to any backyard flock.
They are good for both meat and egg production. Under good care and proper nutrition, they can lay up to 230 eggs per year.
It is sad to say, though, that despite all their delightful qualities, they are a very rare sight these days.