Are you considering adding the Appenzeller Spitzhauben chicken to your flock? First off, it is one of the best chicken breeds that any chicken keeper will want in the flock.
The breed originated from Appenzell, Switzerland and most bird keepers and breeders consider it a laying breed. It is recognized by several associations in their countries. Keep reading to learn more.
History and Background of Appenzeller Spitzhauben
The Appenzeller Spitzhauben chicken is a European laying breed. This means that it is an egg-laying bird that is relatively short. The historical background of this breed is considered to be somehow incomprehensible. However, most breeders and chicken keepers believe that they could have existed in the 1500s or 1600s. They were close to extinction because of the Second World War.
Appenzeller Spitzhauben was initially a name used to refer to the ceremonial hats and lace bonnets of Appenzerlland ladies. As the name suggests, the breed came from the Appenzell Canton region, which is situated in the Northern part of Switzerland. The breed is registered as a national bird in Switzerland.
In their early days, the Appenzeller Spitzhauben breed was primarily kept by a few monasteries and existed for several centuries. They eventually made their way to the local market because of an increase in their population.
From the 1800s up to the early 1900s, the breed was spotted away from its motherland. Many people started adapting and keeping them in their homes. This made the breed reach the peak of its popularity that was continuously rising. Kurt Fischer, a German, had started importing and trading them. He is credited as the main reason why the breed was later accepted to the German poultry standard. In around 1978, the breed made its way to England.
The breed first landed in America at the end of the 1950s. However, it has not yet been acknowledged by the American Poultry Association.
Appenzeller Spitzhauben Standard and Appearance
The breed is commonly known for having white feathers with black spots and slate legs. This is why they are also known as the 101 dalmatian chicken breeds. Because it has a dalmatian-like appearance, some chicken keepers and breeders refer to them as dalmatian with mohawk because of the comb. Others will refer to it as Cruella de Vil. This is one of the amazing and distinctive features of the breed that makes it one of a king.
Besides the distinctive dalmatian-like features, the breed has other varieties of patterns and colors on its feathers. There are three main varieties of color for this breed that have existed for a long time. They include silver spangled, gold spangled, and black. However, more others have been added to the variety, such as chamois spangled and blue.
Although the breed is considered by many to be in the petite group, it has a round physique that is well proportioned. Their crests are slightly slanted forward towards their face. The crest of the Appenzeller Spitzhauben is a prominent trait of the breed. They have long wattles and white earlobes that may take the shape of an egg.
Generally, the breed is lightweight and small. The standard weight of a mature chicken will range from 3.5 lbs up to 4.5 lbs. An average hen will weigh approximately 3.5 lbs. On the other hand, an average Appenzeller Spitzhauben rooster will weigh approximately 4.5 lbs.
They have vastly deep nostrils, dark brown eyes, and a strong beak. Unlike most of the chicken breeds, the Appenzeller Spitzhauben do not have beards and muffs. In addition, they have a V-shaped comb.
Because of its full hackle, a stable and firm plumage, and a widely spread tail, the breed is unique and suitable for shows.
Personality and Temperament
Appenzeller Spitzhaubens are calm and friendly chickens that are easy to take keep in your backyard. They are good foragers; thus, they are able to look after themselves as long as there is enough food around.
They are regarded by most chicken enthusiasts as an economic breed; thus, most of what they feed on is sourced from outside. The Appenzeller Spitzhaubens are also naturally born scavengers that will be satisfied by feeding on bugs and insects.
Despite having a smaller body, the breed generally has an enormous character as well as an alert and energetic personality. They will not do well under confinement. If they are confined in an enclosed environment, they will likely show signs of aggressiveness and restrictions.
They prefer lodging on trees and will enjoy moving freely in the yard. It is therefore advisable to let them roam most of the time freely, provided they do not fall into the trap of predators.
The breed is naturally peaceful and silent. They will hardly cause any trouble when kept in the same flock with other breeds. However, you must ensure that the other breeds that you are keeping are also friendly.
The Appenzeller Spitzhaubens are slightly flighty and will not prefer staying still most of the time. Instead, they will roam around as they like to free-range.
They can do well in both hot and cold climates. Their combs and wattles will help in regulating the body temperature in cold climates.
The breed is among the best backyard chickens when it comes to laying eggs. They can lay about 3 to 4 eggs in a week. This translates to approximately 150 to 170 eggs in a year. They lay white eggs that are usually medium-sized. They can start laying eggs at the age of 5 months.
Their hens usually make gentle and excellent mothers. You can, therefore, expect them to sit on their eggs until they hatch. They are very productive, and if well-taken care of, they can lay eggs all year round. However, they will not lay eggs during their annual molt.
Because of the significant number of eggs that they produce, the Appenzeller Spitzhauben chickens are considered to be part of the layer of poultry. You can therefore expect to find most local farmers with this breed in their flock. Since they are able to withstand any weather condition, you can expect them to be more productive in the winter seasons.
Care and Health Issues
It is essential for chicken keepers to ensure that their flock is healthy. The productivity of your chickens will depend on how well you can take care of them. Like many other chicken breeds, the Appenzeller Spitzhauben chicken will need good care for them to live a long and productive life.
The Appenzeller Spitzhauben are generally healthy chickens that do not have any hereditary health concerns. However, like any chicken breeds in your coop, they can contract various poultry diseases and illnesses. Therefore, it would help if you tried to be attentive to them and treat any illness as soon as possible.
Since they like roaming around, they can easily contract various communicable diseases from other birds outside your flock. They may also fall into the hands of the predators. It would be best if you were watchful and should not allow them to free-range in far places. Besides, you will have to ensure that they receive the necessary vaccines.
In addition to the usual poultry diseases, your chickens may also be susceptible to various poultry parasites such as mites and lice. You should therefore check them regularly and administer the necessary treatment.
Raising your Appenzeller Spitzhauben
The breed is generally a good layer of eggs. It is, therefore, important for the keepers to ensure that they are raising them well. Here are a few tips on how you can successfully raise your Appenzeller Spitzhauben chickens:
Feeding and Nutrition
If you want to start your journey with chicks, you will have to feed them on a quality chick starter. The growing chickens can continue to feed on the chick starter until when they are about 12 weeks old. After that, you can introduce laying feed. They should remain on laying feed to help in the formation of strong eggs and a healthy plumage.
You can also give them plenty of calcium to help in the formation of the eggshells. Since the birds are good at foraging, you should allow them to free-range within the compound. In addition to the feed, you will also have to provide them with clean and sufficient water.
Housing and Fencing
When designing your coop, you should create a space of about 3 square feet per chicken. The birds enjoy roaming around; thus, you will not have to confine them inside the coop. However, you will have to fence your compound to keep them safe from predators. If you want to confine them, you should design a large and covered run.
Breeding Appenzeller Spitzhauben can be a bit challenging. If you choose to breed them, you will have to familiarize yourself with their breed standard. You can contact fellow breeders for support.
The Appenzeller Spitzhaubens are friendly and highly productive chickens that are worth adding to your flock. They are good egg layers and do not have several health challenges. For high productivity, you will have to take care of your chickens and raise them well.