We would like to eventually join the APA when they fully recognise the breeds that we work with. x
Icelandic chickens are an ancient landrace breed of domestic fowl which was brought to Iceland during the 9th century by vikings. In Iceland they are known as íslenska hænan or landnámshænan which means “Icelandic hen of the settlers.” They were developed to be tough and independent foragers with strong mothering instincts. Weak or undesirable birds likely succumbed to environmental factors, like food scarcity and predators, or became dinner. The Livestock Conservancy lists the Icelandic Chicken as a threatened rare heritage breed with an estimated 1000 birds in the USA and 4000 in Iceland.
By the end of the 18th century only a few icelandic chickens remained in iceland due to acid rain from a volcanic eruption. The breed almost went extinct later on because of import of other laying birds, such as the leghorn chicken, which easily outperforms icelandic in egg production. They only still exist today because of a few preservation farms in Iceland. There are 4 recognised lines of imported icelandic chicken, each coming from different preservation farms.
“The term ‘landrace’ means that these chickens were selected all over Iceland for the same suite of utilitarian traits—but not to conform to a specific breed standard. Thus a flock of Icelandics is a visual kaleidoscope.”
– The Livestock Conservancy
They come in a variety of colours and comb types and do not breed true to type. Even though the Icelandic landrace, by definition, was not created with a specific breed standard in mind, certain ideals should still be followed when selecting breeding stock. Individuals with barred feathers, feathered legs, muffs, ear tufts, beards, physical abnormalities, low vigour, and aggression should always be culled from a breeding program. Hens should be roughly 3-3.5lbs (1.36-1.59kg) with cockerels averaging 1-2lbs heavier.
“Friendly, curious, and independent. Has a stable temperament. Hens readily go broody and have strong mothering instincts. Character and personalities vary between birds. Both males and females have good fertility.” – Eigenda – og ræktendafélag landnámshænsna
[show icelandic egg next to white leghorn egg]
Hatching eggs – $6 each, $55 per dozen.
Chicks (local pickup only) – $9 each.
Started birds (local pickup only) - $20 each.
To place an order or reserve chicks, please send me an email at thecakeisawolf detailing your name what you’d like (i.e. the breed and the quantity of eggs/chicks) and I’ll get back to you with a paypal invoice. If what you want isn’t available I can add you to a waitlist and get in touch when I have it. I cannot guarantee hatch rates since I do not control the conditions the eggs are under once they leave my care, though I will replace broken eggs.
I collect all my eggs the day they were laid and date them with a pencil for easy identification. Eggs are viable for up to 10 days from their lay date, but significantly lose viability after 14 days. I don’t ship out any eggs older than 3 days from the date they’re laid. Once they exceed 3 days, if I have enough, I incubate artificially or put them under a broody.
Packages will not be labeled with “fragile” or “fertile hatching eggs” as it has been documented that marking them as such only encourages rough treatment. Instead I do my best to pack them to withstand a little mishandeling. I try to use as little non-biodegradable material as possible when I ship. Typically I’ll use whatever good material we have on hand. I wrap each egg in fluffed newspaper and tissue paper. I then place each egg in a box packed with shredded newspaper, straw, and occasionally wool from our katahdin hair sheep. We can only ship during certain times of year where
Check out my guide on incubating and hatching eggs.