The Swedish Flower Hen is one of the most unique chicken breeds due to their unusual name and coloration. Their feathers are reminiscent of flowers due to their heavy white spotting.
This species is not well known outside of Sweden. As their name suggests, this is where these birds originated from. In 2010, a few were imported into the U.S., but their numbers are still tiny outside of their homeland, where they aren’t even that widespread. They almost went extinct in the 1980s before they were saved through conservation efforts. Today, they are still relatively rare and difficult to come across.
Quick Facts About the Swedish Flower Hen
|Breed Name:||Swedish Flower Hens|
|Place of Origin:||Sweden|
|Male Size:||8 pounds|
|Female Size:||5 1/2 pounds|
|Production:||150–200 eggs per year|
Swedish Flower Hen Origin
The Swedish Flower Hen developed naturally over thousands of years. They were not carefully bred or created by humans. Instead, they naturally adapted to the Swedish environment and were eventually tamed by humans.
Careful breeding since then, however, has caused this species to change somewhat. However, they are not much different than they were during their earlier, wild days.
Since they developed naturally, no one knows precisely when these chickens came about or the steps that led to their creation. It’s all a bit of mystery.
These chickens have been in Sweden for a relatively long time. However, the rise of the “industrial” hen led to swift population drops among many native species, including the Swedish Flower Hen. These birds were almost extinct in the 1980s, and it took a special effort called the “Swedish Genetic Project” to bring them back from the brink.
Swedish Flower Hen Characteristics
As a “wild” bird, the Swedish Flower Hen tends to be more confident and assured than most other chicken breeds out there. They survived mostly on their own accord, so they are functionally independent and do not require much help from farmers to stay alive.
They spend most of their time foraging but will happily accept treats from their owner. They are quite friendly toward people. Even the roosters are said to be non-aggressive — though that doesn’t mean they aren’t loud!
This breed is hardy and can survive in freezing temperatures. They love to free-range and are quite predator savvy. However, they do not mind being contained if they have to be. Generally, they are easy-going animals. Most owners describe them as smart, which helps them survive in harsh conditions and various challenging situations.
Since they are non-aggressive, this breed is excellent for families with children. They are often readily accepting of a child’s attention — especially if treats are involved.
For the most part, these birds are quite problem-free.
These birds have a variety of uses. For instance, they are great egg layers. They produce about 150–200 eggs per year in Sweden and can produce more in warmer climates.
Eggs usually reach up to extra-large size, though they may remain small for a while before this occurs. Eggs are usually a light beige color, though some are white.
If you allow it, about 1/3 of hens will go broody. However, they do not become obsessively broody like some other hens, and they make good mothers for the most part. Therefore, they can be used as sitting hens in most situations.
Appearance & Varieties
Despite their small population, these birds have greatly varying appearances. Before the resurgence of their population, this breed occurred in small pockets, which evolved separately from each other, giving rise to different looks. However, they are still all recognized as the same breed.
Today, some of these different pockets have begun to mix, though appearance still varies.
Their base color can range from black to yellow and from red to blue. They have white-tipped feathers and are heavily spotted. They come in different patterns, with some being rarer than others.
This species can be crested or tasseled or have neither of these traits.
Usually, their bodies are round and quite large. The average rooster weighs about 8 pounds, while hens are smaller at 5 ½ pounds.
Technically, this bird does not have any “breed standard.” Due to their rarity, they are not recognized as a breed in many areas. Therefore, they cannot take place in shows and don’t need a standard. Some breeders are currently working toward a standard, though the diversity of the breed makes that problematic.
This species is not common. They primarily exist in Skane, a region in Sweden. All three of the pocket populations found in 1970 come from this region. Today, their numbers are around 1,592, as reported in 2014.
There has not been a headcount since then, though we hope that their population has increased.
A few birds have been transported outside of Sweden. For instance, we know that some were transported to the U.S.A. in 2010. Some were likely taken to other countries too. The sale and transfer of these birds are not always well-documented or easy to find.
Are Swedish Flower Hens Good for Small-Scale Farming?
While this breed is perfect for small-scale farming in smaller areas, the problem is finding them. Since their population is so tiny, there are often no birds for sale publicly. Most of the time, you need to know someone who owns one to purchase chicks.
Some of these birds do exist in the U.S.A., but getting your hands on one can be challenging. Luckily, there are a few hatcheries that are selling these chickens. You may be able to find one near you. Usually, these birds can cost as much as $30 a piece, which is a bit more than some other breeds.
That said, this breed is excellent for beginners because they do not have many problems. They are healthy and can take care of themselves. They are much hardier than most other breeds and have a low level of care, which is perfect for a small homestead.
There are no common health problems for this breed either.
They produce a good number of eggs each week — plenty to sustain a small family. They can also be used as meat because they reach a decent weight. Since they are so social, you don’t have to worry about them scaring your children or vice versa.
Featured Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock