Chicken Breed - Appenzeller
There are two types of Appenzeller their feathers and the head looks like they are wearing a fancy bonnet. The Barthuhner looks like it has a puffed out beard due to puffy feathers under the beak. These chickens are available in Blue, Black, Black-Red and Laced. The feather beards hide the wattles on the hens allowing them to withstand a lot more cold than chickens with exposed wattles.
The Appenzeller Spitzhauben is the national breed of Switzerland. The Appenzeller Spitzhauben is named after the fancy ceremonial lacy bonnet worn by women in Switzerland. The breed it thought to have been developed by monks in the North-eastern Appenzell canton of Switzerland. Its true origins are essentially unknown. It was in the 1950’s that the breed became better known as they were on the brink of extinction and a German breeder, Kurt Fischer, helped ensure the survival of these interesting chickens. They have since been bred in the UK, Australia and other countries around the world. The Spitzhauben is available in Gold Spangled, Silver Spangled, Chamois Spangled, Black and Blue. There is also a variety known as Cuckoo which has been created in the UK.
Appenzeller Spitzhauben chickens have a forward pointing crest, which is quite unusual, as well as a V-shaped comb. These are chickens that enjoy being free range and will often roost up in the trees. They are also good climbers and adapt well to homes at a height. They are good foragers, making them quite economical. They need to be handled gently from a young age to deter their natural flightiness. They don’t enjoy being held or cuddled too much though. Their colouring is essentially black and white speckles. They lay around 220 medium to large eggs per year, making them quite good layers. With handling they can be quite friendly but do need a large pen with a roof or net as they are excellent fliers. If you have the space, let them free range, as they are not crazy about being confined. They can be a little noisy but interact well with other breeds. Roosters can be a bit cheeky around breeding time so it may be better to only have 1 per coop. Socialize them slowly into the flock to ensure they settle well. They are okay around children and will tolerate gentle handling. They are quite sturdy chickens. Roosters can get close to 2,5kgs in size, while hens are around 2kgs maximum. They have brown eyes and large nostrils. These are quite hardy chickens and do well in heat and cold. They need a nice dry, airy place to roost which is not to draughty. They are social with other chickens and it is recommended to have at least 3 hens in a flock.
The Appenzeller are excellent layers and can also make decent pets if handled gently from youth. They are intelligent and curious chickens and make good company. They keep your garden pest free and socialize well with most other breeds. Due to inbreeding, they may have some immune issues, so it is always best to quarantine before adding them to your flock. It is recommended that they be kept with chickens that are more docile and gentle as they are not overly aggressive and will fall in with the pecking order.