Nothing seals the deal for chicken lovers or farmers than a low-maintenance and consistent egg layer with great looks to match.
Though uncommon and endangered, Swedish Flower hens are a worthy addition to your backyard flock and for good reason.
Read on for a closer look at the unique Swedish Flower hen breed and why you should consider it.
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The Swedish Flower hen is a landrace chicken breed that developed naturally over hundreds of years.
Since the breed developed naturally, there are no records of exactly when the chickens emerged or the event that led to their development.
The birds are, however, believed to be descendants of the numerous chicken breeds brought to Sweden by people who eventually settled and lived in the region hundreds of years ago.
As their name suggests, Swedish Flower hens are native to and have lived in Sweden for a long time. They are Sweden’s largest and probably oldest chicken breed.
Unfortunately, Swedish Flower hens’ popularity alongside other native species fell with the introduction of the “industrial” hen.
As a result, Swedish Flower hens were on the verge of extinction in the 1980s, until the “Swedish Genetic Project” pioneered efforts to save the breed from doom.
Consequently, the birds were first imported into the U.S. in 2010 and their population is still small outside their homeland where they are barely present too.
The Swedish Flower hen is not recognized by the American Poultry Association.
This means that breeders in Sweden and America do not breed the hens to conform to a specific standard.
The main reason why the Swedish Flower hen is not registered by the American Poultry Association is because of its diverse appearance.
This variation in appearance within the breed is primarily because it is a landrace breed. That is, Swedish Flower hens bred naturally or randomly and adapted themselves for survival instead of appearance.
Similarly, the comb styles vary widely within the breed. Some chickens are crested while others do not have the crest.
Generally, all the birds will have one serrated comb, but some chickens will have floppy ones while others will have erect combs.
Though the Swedish Flower chickens come in all the colors and patterns imaginable, their base colors range from blue to yellow to black and red.
The breed’s white-tipped plumage is also heavily spotted and comes in a variety of patterns, some of them common and others quite rare.
One such rare color combination is the Snow Leopard where black tips replace the white tips on the feathers giving the chickens white/gold/black markings resembling the snow leopard.
Lastly, the chickens’ ear lobes, wattles, and combs are red while their eyes have an orange-yellow color. Adult chickens have clean, tan legs while chicks have gray or pink legs.
Depending on the breed line you have, the skin can be black-mottled or yellow.
While there is no registered standard for the Swedish Flower birds, it is generally a medium-sized breed.
Like other chicken breeds, Swedish Flower hens have a variety of uses.
The Swedish Flower hens are excellent egg layers making them ideal chickens to keep for egg production.
As mid-sized chickens, they also make great meat producers due to their commendable weight of 5 to 8 pounds.
Their floral plumage easily renders them an ornamental breed for your backyard.
Unfortunately, this breed cannot be exhibited in shows despite its beauty due to its lack of a recognized standard.
Swedish Flower hens are reliable egg producers. This is the primary reason why many people keep the breed.
Although the eggs start fairly small, their size increases as the hens continue maturing — so much so that the Swedish Flower hens are among the chicken breeds with large to extra-large eggs.
The eggs are mostly brown or light beige with occasional white ones. Keep in mind that the hens do not start laying until they are 17 weeks old.
Swedish Flower hens are dual-purpose hens that are also commendable meat producers. Weighing in at 5 to 8 pounds, Swedish Flower hens provide more than enough meat for subsistent use.
That being said, not all Swedish Flower birds are edible.
As earlier mentioned, Swedish Flower hens can have yellow or black-mottled skin. As such, only the yellow-skinned birds are edible as black skin is mostly repulsive.
The breed flaunts a variety of different plumage colors. These include:
White-tipped plumage is the most common breed variety. All in all, the Swedish Flower hen breed is one of the most diverse breeds with countless varieties.
Having bred through natural selection, it only makes sense that Swedish Flower hens are regal and self-assured.
Their love for attention makes them an ideal pet breed for families and children.
But while the roosters are non-aggressive, their crows are loud enough to annoy close neighbors.
Lastly, Swedish Flower hens are curious and love investigating their surroundings. As a result, they are considered fast learners and brilliant.
The exact lifespan of the Swedish Flower hens is unknown.
However, since they are a naturally bred chicken breed, the chickens have adapted themselves to survive tough conditions and therefore, have a long lifespan.
This could be anywhere from 5 to 10 years with proper care and love.
Swedish Flower hens are naturally chatty birds.
As such, rural areas suit them best because they can be vocal more freely than in suburban backyards where neighbors might find them a nuisance.
However, the small percentage of the hens that do go broody generally become caring mothers once the chicks hatch.
This lack of broodiness means that you will need an incubator for your Swedish Flower hen eggs if you are looking to grow your flock.
Alternatively, you can place the eggs under other hens that appear broody. The hen does not necessarily have to belong to the Swedish Flower hen breed.
Diet and Nutrition
Although Swedish Flower hens love roaming and foraging, they will also happily accept treats from you.
Also, the breed’s dietary needs are not so different from what other chicken breeds feed on.
For instance, to supplement their foraged diet, Swedish Flower hens require high-quality chicken feed to make up for any nutritional deficits.
Specifically, feed your Swedish Flower chicks high protein feed to encourage growth.
Here, you can opt for free feeding and offer your Swedish Flower hens an unlimited supply of food throughout the day. Or you can go for scheduled feedings and feed your chickens based on the set schedule.
Like other chicken breeds, Swedish Flower hens require a minimum of four square feet in the coop for each chicken.
The more space there is, the happier your chickens will be.
Since the birds love the freedom to roam freely during the day, it will help if you have ample room for them to do this.
If this is not possible on your property, ensure that their enclosure or coop has enough room to roam. That is, at least 8 square feet per chicken in the run
While Swedish Flower hens are naturally aware of the threat of predators, it helps to ensure that the run and coop are safe to keep predators away.
One nesting box for at least three hens will suffice because they are not broody anyway.
Common Health Issues
With this in mind, it is important to keep an eye on pests and parasites like mites and lice. Also, consider keeping their surroundings or coop environment clean at all times.
What’s more, regularly replacing their water and food also helps protect your flock from infection.
While the chickens are best suited for cooler climates, they will survive the warmers as long as you avail plenty of shade for them and a constant supply of clean water.
From their beautiful plumage to excellent egg production to lovable personalities, Swedish Flower hens are a joy to keep.
Whether you are looking for an ornamental bird to add to your backyard flock or are a beginner looking for a forgiving breed to try out, you can never go wrong with the Swedish Flower hen.