The Swedish Black Hen chicken breed, or the Svart Hona chicken, is a unique breed that can be a great addition to any backyard flock. If you love unusual-looking chickens, this breed is a must-see.
They look almost like mythical creatures- with black combs, glossy black feathers, and sleek, compact bodies, they do not look much like your typical backyard chicken.
These adorable chickens come at hefty prices because of their unique appearance. They are friendly, docile, and hardy birds that can do well in nearly all climate conditions.
They are dual-purpose birds that can be raised for meat and egg production. Like most other chicken breeds, your Swedish Black Hen needs good care and proper nutrition to live a longer, more productive life.
You have come to the right place if you are considering adding the Swedish Black Hen to your backyard flock.
This article will discuss everything you need to know about the Swedish Black Hen, including its history, appearance, personality, and egg production. Keep reading to learn more.
History and Background of the Swedish Black Hen
The Swedish Black Hen or Svart Hona chicken did not originate in Sweden, as the name suggests. They are believed to have originated in Mozambique (and likely before that in Indonesia).
The breed was brought from Mozambique to Sweden in the 1800s, where it continued to develop.
However, Sweden is recognized as the breed’s official country of origin, hence the name Swedish Black hen.
Svart Hona is the Swedish term that translates to “Black Female,” which does not necessarily mean that all Swedish Black chickens are all female.
This chicken breed is largely considered a landrace variety, meaning it is developed naturally over time, with deliberate breed development or little selective breeding.
Despite its unique appearance, this breed remains rare even in its country of origin. In fact, a fairly recent Swedish effort to count the birds estimated that there are only about 400 in the country.
The Swedish Black Hen was brought to the United States of America in 2012. Today, it remains rare and is predominantly out of stock even with the most reputable chicken breeders in the United States.
The exact number of these chickens in the US is not verified. Since the American Poultry Association does not recognize them, they are not listed on the Livestock Conservancy’s watch list.
Breed Standard and Appearance
The Svart Hona chicken or Swedish Black Hen is regarded as one of the landrace varieties and an ornamental chicken breed.
However, despite the breed’s rarity, it is not included in the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection. So, there is no official breed standard.
One of the unique things that makes the Swedish Black Hen stand out among others is its fibro melanistic genetics, which makes its appearance remarkable.
This fibro melanistic genetics allows the black pigment cells to propagate speedily. The chicken’s feathers, legs, beak, comb, eyes, ears, wattles, skin, muscles, mouth, and meat are jet-black.
Even the most striking black chicken breeds typically have red combs, wattles, and amber-colored eyes.
Hence, the Swedish Black Hen has a distinctively different look–even those unfamiliar with chickens will likely notice something different about them.
Although the breed’s entirety is jet black, its feather has that opalescent green and purple sheen that can only be seen when stricken by a specific luminance.
Another thing that sets these chickens apart is that they are small birds. However, they are not too small to be considered bantam sizes.
Like most other chicken breeds, the size of Swedish Black Hens will depend on their gender, with roosters being slightly bigger than hens.
A mature hen weighs about 5 pounds, while a rooster can weigh up to 8 pounds. However, some birds are lightweight and weigh as little as 3 pounds.
Roosters have a large single comb and oval wattles, while hens have a single small comb and wattles. Svart Hona roosters can be susceptible to frostbite because of their large-sized wattles and combs.
While there is no set breed standard, many chicken keepers specializing in this breed agree on what constitutes undesirable characteristics.
Things to avoid when looking for quality stock
- White markings on the wattles
- Grey on the feet
- Pink coloring in the mouth
- Brown eyes instead of black
- Comb and wattles that are a mulberry color instead of true black
Personality and Temperament
Swedish Black Hens are naturally friendly. However, like roosters of most other chicken breeds, Svart Hona roosters can be aggressive and more protective.
Roosters will be alarmed if they spot a hawk or any other predator or danger. Since these birds are small and lightweight, they can often roost in trees until the danger is gone.
Since the Swedish Black Hen is a landrace chicken breed, contemporary Swedish Black Hens have descended from stock that spent their days foraging for food.
So, these birds are easy to keep. However, you will want to ensure they have plenty of space and time to forage.
The Swedish Black Hen is one of the most intelligent chicken breeds. It is considered one of the breeds that are easy to train and make an excellent showmanship bird.
These chickens are often found at the top of the pecking order because of their short temperament.
Their compact bodies make them excellent flyers compared to most other chicken breeds. Despite their flighty characteristic, chicken keepers have expected them to be challenging to raise in the backyard.
According to chicken keepers who have raised these birds, they are friendly, warm, and easy-going chickens.
If you are looking for a chicken to raise as a pet, this is one of the breeds to consider. The Swedish Black Hen is an affectionate chicken that likes to be around its owners.
However, it is important to note each Swedish Vlack chickens have a unique personality.
Swedish Black Hen Egg Laying
Many people will say that a chicken breed considered an ornamental breed would be a good egg layer. However, that is not the case for the Svart Hona chickens.
These adorable chickens are excellent egg layers. Under good care and proper nutrition, a Swedish Black Hen can lay up to 250 eggs per year.
Their eggs usually vary from small to medium or large. However, most hens tend to lay large-sized eggs. Their eggs also have large egg yolks.
The eggs they lay are white or cream in color but primarily off-white. However, this is a slow-maturing chicken breed, and many hens do not start laying until about 24 weeks of age.
Once they have begun laying eggs, they really are fertile chickens. It is reported that some Swedish Black hens have a hatching rate of at least 98%.
Health Issues and Care
The Swedish Black Hen is a healthy chicken with a high fertility rate. This breed does not have many health concerns you need to address compared to the other common species you have encountered.
Therefore, you will hardly have a hard time raising this healthy and robust chicken breed in your backyard.
While these birds are considered healthy and robust chickens, that does not necessarily mean your chickens are safe and free from poultry disease and parasites.
As with other chicken breeds, your Swedish Black Hens are susceptible to poultry disease and parasites common in all breeds.
As a responsible chicken keeper, you want your chickens tested and vaccinated for additional protection.
Swedish Black Hens are considered cold-hardy chickens that can withstand extreme freezing weather.
While their combs are resistant to frostbite, you will want to keep a close eye on them just in case it happens.
In addition to common poultry diseases, you will want to treat them against parasites like lice and mites.
Tips For Raising Swedish Black Hens
The Swedish Black Hen is a friendly and docile chicken breed, meaning raising them is easy. If you are a beginner, this is one of the best breeds.
Caring for and raising this breed in your backyard resembles any other chicken breed.
Tips for raising Swedish Black Hens.
Provide Spacious Enclosure
As mentioned, these birds are good foragers that love to free-range. They are also independent chickens that can protect themselves. So, you will want to ensure they have plenty of space to roam around.
Be Gentle to Your Flock
Raising these chickens will require patience, especially during the waiting season and until they start laying eggs.
They are relatively slow to mature. Besides, the eggs take their time to start hatching.
Spend Time with Your Flock
These adorable chickens are considered to be friendly and affectionate. They Can recognize the people who spend time with them.
So, you must ensure you spend a lot of time with your chickens to develop a strong bond.
If you are looking for a stunning chicken breed that is friendly and also an excellent egg layer, the Swedish Black Hen is one of the breeds to consider.
While their rarity makes them a bit expensive, they are worth it! As with other chicken breeds, these birds need good care and proper nutrition to live longer, more productive lives.