Spitzhauben Chicken Breed
- Country of origin: Switzerland
- Primary uses: For eggs production
- Lifespan: 5 to 8 years
- Egg production: 150 to 180 eggs
- Size: Small to medium
- Egg color: White
- Cock: 4.5 lbs
- Hen: 3.5 lbs
- Cock: 24 oz
- Hen: 20 oz
- Colors: Black, Silver Spangled, Gold Spangled
- Useful to know: A very active and productive breed. They are flighty but still easy to handle with gentle care.
Many professional chicken raisers are interested in one of the most flighty and active breeds like the Spitzhauben. Despite some of their aggressive characteristics, they can bring lots of benefits to their owners.
If you are new to chicken breeding and want to find a suitable option, let’s read this article and determine whether or not Spitzhauben chicken is right for you.
Background and history of the Spitzhauben chicken breed
The history of Spitzhauben chicken is still a mystery until now. They are believed to have developed in the local monasteries in Switzerland.
In the 1950s, Spitzhauben chickens were coping with extinction. Luckily, a German breeder named Kurt Fischer tried his best to save this breed.
During the 1970s, Pamela Jackson started importing the Spitzhauben chickens into England. Since then, this breed has expanded their popularity again.
From the beginning, there were only 3 types of Spitzhauben including Silver Spangled, Gold Spangled, and Black. Then, the Chamois Spangled and Blue were introduced to the public. Nowadays, all of these variants are solely available in the UK.
Spitzhauben chickens are impressively beautiful compared to other chicken breeds. These chickens own stunning and smooth plumage. Besides, there is a wild-looking bunch of feathers on top of their heads, thus making them a notable crest.
Their combs are also V-shaped or they can be referred to as horn combs or devil combs. These combs appear in front of their crests. Compared to other breeds, They have larger and deeper nostrils.
This breed also has many other outstanding features including:
- Medium-sized wattles
- Dark brown eyes
- White earlobes from medium to large
- Attractive blue shanks
- No feathered legs
All Spitzhaubens are known as exceptional foragers. They would love to have a free lifestyle in an open-air environment.
They want to stay outside all day so that they can roam and explore everything. As free-rangers, they would prefer to forage their food than eating in a bowl. In general, they do not like the idea of being captured in a chicken coop all the time like other breeds.
Besides, they are very flighty and active, sometimes even wild. It is less likely for them to get along well with each other or any newcomer. Therefore, they need more time to make friends with any stranger.
Spitzhauben chickens are quite noisier than other chicken breeds. However, with gentle handling at very young ages, they would be calm enough to adapt to your farm.
Spitzhauben hens will get broody occasionally. They start laying their eggs when they are about 5 months old. These chickens tend to produce eggs throughout the year, even during the winter time.
They do not often want to sit on their eggs and hatch their chicks like other breeds. However, Spitzhaubens are still excellent at mothering skills. They are able to raise their chicks well without regular broodiness.
The Spitzhauben chicken productivity
Is the Spitzhauben chicken good for eggs?
This chicken breed is well-known for their good egg production. Spitzhauben hens seem to be very productive as they can lay 3 to 4 eggs per week. Normally, a mature hen would give you from 150 to 180 eggs per annum.
The climate changes do not have any significant impact on the laying process of Spitzhauben. The only period in a year that they stop laying their eggs is in their molt, like all other chickens.
Besides, due to their good motherly instinct, they are still able to keep their eggs and chicks safe and sound but do not need to get broody often.
Is Spitzhauben chicken good for meat?
In case you want to make use of their meat besides their egg production, Spitzhauben chickens could disappoint you a lot. Due to being not too large, they can not give you a huge amount of meat.
Common issues of the Spitzhauben chicken
Many chicken raisers choose to breed the Spitzhauben chicken because they have very good health conditions. A strong immune system helps these chickens stay away from many common diseases found in poultries.
However, it is still essential for you to have Spitzhauben chickens vaccinated fully. Instead of doing it by yourself, you had better contact a reliable poultry vet to ask for advice. After any vaccination, you have to keep an eye on them to make sure that it has no unusual signs arising.
Spitzhauben chicken is one of the most cold-hardy breeds. It has no difficulty for them to stay outdoors even under the snow. With their outstanding features, they are able to deal with both cold and rainy climates easily.
Although they can suffer from sub 50 degrees Celsius or a bit lower temperatures, it is necessary to prepare a suitable coop for them to avoid any frostbite. Their combs are more likely to get frostbite during the frigid or freezing weather.
Not only the cold, but They also have good resistance to the hot climate. They can survive well in both hot and humid environments.
Due to their high adaptability, Spitzhaubens chickens only require basic care for them when the temperatures become more intensive. So they are considered to be one of the best choices among hardy chicken breeds.
You may also like: Hedemora Chicken Breed: A Comprehensive Guide
Benefits and drawbacks of raising the Spitzhauben chicken
Benefits of raising the Spitzhauben chicken
- Good egg layers: Normally, a Spitzhauben hen can produce up to 180 eggs per year. They have a good ability to lay their eggs all year regardless of climate changes. Their eggs are small to medium-sized with a white color and beautiful shape.
- Excellent mothering skills: Compared to other non-broody chickens, Spitzhauben hens have very good mothering skills. And they can contribute to the increase in the survival rate of their eggs and chicks.
- Extreme temperature resistant: They are adaptable to all climate conditions. They are able to cope with both cold and hot weather in a good manner. So it is less common for these chickens to get many health diseases.
- Simple care: This breed does not have too many requirements about their living conditions. With the free-rangers like them, you can save a lot of money for their feeding. Besides, they have the ability to react quickly with many potential threats, except for much larger predators.
Challenges or drawbacks of raising the Spitzhauben chicken
- Small amount of meat: Spitzhauben chicken is not a fleshy breed. Compared to other chickens, you might have many difficulties when processing these chickens for much meat.
- Quite hard to manage: Without gentle handling from the beginning, it is hard for you to keep these chickens well-behaved. They would be flighty and noisy sometimes. So it takes more time to be suitable for a farming environment.
Besides, they tend to fly over if the surrounding fences are not high enough. So you need to have other options to keep your chicken inside in the long term.
Is the Spitzhauben chicken right for you?
If you are interested in a quite wild breed instead of too docile one, Spitzhauben chicken would be your most suitable choice. To raise them well, you should be more patient and careful compared to other breeds.
This is a challenge for you to handle such a flighty and active breed like the Spitzhauben. However, when you have more knowledge and skills, it is much easier to train them in the way you want.
To make up for these characteristics, it is worthy for you to keep a flock of Spitzhaubens. You do not have to worry much about their health issues as well as any sudden climate change because they are so hardy.
Besides, in spite of their non-broodiness, they are still good mothers who can take care of their chicks so well. Thus you can ensure the high quality of eggs produced by these hens throughout the year.
How to raise the Spitzhauben chicken?
Although Spitzhauben chickens are highly flexible with all conditions, you still need to consider many important factors as belows:
Set up a suitable fence:
These Switzerland-based chickens have the ability to fly quite well. Together with their flighty and active nature, it is quite simple for them to fly over short fences, maybe around 6 feet.
So, you should cover them with hardware cloth or poultry netting in order to keep them inside your backyard all the time. Besides, this could protect them from many larger predators.
Large living space:
It might take a lot of time for any Spitzhauben chicken to coexist with other chickens in the flock. So, you should give them a private space until they get along well with other partners.
Additionally, they need to have a large space for roaming and foraging throughout the day. This would have a positive effect on their mental health so that they can reduce their flightiness.
Inside the chicken coop, it is ideal to provide 3-4 square feet per chicken. So they can feel comfortable living under bad weather conditions.
For any baby chick, you should feed them with a good quality chick starter. This special diet would help your chicks have enough nutrients and energy for their growth.
When they are around 11 to 14 weeks old, you should transfer chick starter into a laying feed. It is possible to maintain laying feed for the rest of their lives instead of regular feed. Therefore, they can get a healthy plumage as well as better egg production.
Careful training before putting them into the flock:
As mentioned above, sometimes they seem to be wild and would like to roost in trees. This would make them more vulnerable to many dangerous predators. So you should train them to stay in a coop at a very young age to create a good habit.
Besides, you ought to treat them gently and show them how to get along well with other poultries. Once you do so, they would somehow be less flighty and more friendly.
So, is the Spitzhauben chicken suitable for you? If you have no problem with very active chickens, Spitzhauben chicken would be taken into consideration.
With this breed, you can assure that your chickens will overcome the intensive weather conditions easily. They do not have complicated requirements about daily feeding or living space as well.
Their hens are able to lay a good number of white eggs all seasons. And these chickens are good at looking after their chicks without regular broodiness.
However, it has some disadvantages when raising these Spitzhauben chickens in your garden. Spitzhaubens seem to be flighty or even wild relative to other similar breeds. So it might take a lot of time to get them under control. Besides, they also have disappointing meat quality.
Hopefully, this article can sum up some necessary and key information which can be useful and contributes to your right decision.
Links to useful resources:
- Savannah Brown, Appenzeller Spitzhauben Chicken: Captivating Egg Layers, Morning Chores
- Appenzeller Spitzhauben chickens: An egg-laying breed that thrives in the cold, The Feather Brain
- Spitzhauben, Greenfire Farms