Silver Spangled Hamburgs

Known to be a free-spirited bird, the Hamburg breed has earned themselves a reputation of being intolerant of confinement, partly because of their flying ability. They are characterized by a few key traits such as a good feed-to-egg ratio and quick maturation. This breed traces back to the late 1600's, and possibly before with an account of the Italian naturalist Aldrovandi, describing a spangled chicken the same in nearly every aspect of that of the spangled hamburgs. This entry was made in Turkey in 1599, which has led many to think that the Hamburgs came from Turkish origin, rather than a Dutch one. Either way, these chickens are a very ancient breed with deep roots, and their genetic origin is widely unknown.

  • Appearance:
    • Male: These roosters will have thin lacy (as in soft and wispy) white feathers with black dagger-shaped tips on the head, and hackle (back and sides of neck). On the saddle (swoop of back) there should be similar white feathers with black tips, but a bit stouter and less lacy qualities (click here for example). The saddle feathers may also appear similar to the hackle feathers. At the sickles (long tail feathers), the feathers will be longer and again with a slightly stouter tip. Throughout the rest of the chicken you should see a similar pattern to that of the saddle, but they may be lined up in row along the wing, as opposed to the appearance of randomness in other areas.
    • Female: The female has the appearance of being completely covered in the feather that is linked to above, with only marginally slighter tips on the head, and hackle. The female in general will appear to have a higher black-to-white ratio than the male.
    • Face: Red
    • Comb: Rose comb
    • Earlobes: White
    • Skin color: White
    • Beak color: Dark to light horn, for the base to the tip, respectively.
    • Eyes: Dark brown
    • Legs: Slate grey
  • Weight: Rooster-5 Hen-4 Cockerel-4.5 Pullet-3.5*
  • Purpose: Egg-laying
  • Origin: Though the name implies that the Hamburg chickens are of German origin they actually were initially bred in Holland, and before that it is said that they were from Turkey. Either way they are not German.
  • Common: Uncommon/Watch
  • Egg color: Hamburgs in general have a glossy-white egg.
  • Egg size: Small to Medium
  • Eggs a week/year: 4 or so eggs a week, and 200-225 eggs a year.
  • Broody: Almost never*
  • Confinement: Known as a flighty and sprightly bird, so they are somewhat intolerant of confinement.
  • Compatibility: They get along well with other chickens, and will be nearer to the top of the pecking order because the mature earlier and generally smaller chickens such as these are not as laid back in their attitudes.
  • Hardy: More cold hardy than warm, because of their developement in the colder, and damper region of Europe.
  • Bantam: Yes*
  • Personality: Generally a flighty bird, they are very active, and may try to fly over your chicken coop wall. If you have these chickens you may want to consider getting hawk-netting for their safety. They are also quite cautious and may avoid human contact, but this may be helped with handling while young.
  • Available from:*

    Though they lay a smaller egg, they lay a lot of them, and in addition they have a very exotic look to them. They used to be known for their usefulness in more ways than one, and this is what is valuable to the backyard chicken owner.


    Photo courtesy of Flickr user: reds_animals
    Information courtesy of: http://www.purelypoultry.com/hamburg-chickens-p-647.html
    http://books.google.com/books?id=aGVEAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA254&lpg=PA254&dq
    http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html
    *For more information on terms above see Key to Chicken Entries

    2 comments:

    1. I love the name of these birds. :-) It makes me smile. Interesting that they're so flighty and don't get broody very often.

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    2. I recently purchased 2 hens at an auction. I was so drawn to their color(black and white) maybe a tiny bit more black. They seem pretty calm and hang close by at feeding time. What really makes them different...they do not cluck. They make a low sound like a baby crying (wha ahh) Please someone tell me what they might be, I love them and want more. A guy at the auction said they were Wyandottes- No Way! Thanks

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