If I told you that I own a chicken that closely resembles a dalmatian or the petals of a flower, would you believe me?
The Swedish flower hen is just that! It is a beautiful speckled and spotted breed of chicken that originated years ago in Southern Sweden.
The unusual coloring, along with its dual purpose breeding, has contributed to the favorability of this landrace breed.
If you are interested in the Swedish flower hen, we can take a closer look at the breed profile to help you get the right chicken for your flock.
The History of the Swedish Flower Hen
Known as the Skånsk Blommehöna or Swedish flower hens, the breed is distinguished by its unique coloration, good size, and fair egg laying ability.
The Swedish flower hen is relatively new to the US, imported from its native country, Sweden, in 2010.
Although this chicken may not be as popular as the Rhode Island Red or Leghorn, it is certainly a beautiful breed sure to add diversity and interest to any flock.
This chicken is so exquisite to look at while foraging in the garden.
You may just mistake it for the surrounding flowers!
This is in part the reason for its name.
The translation of its Swedish name, “Skane Bloom-hen” means “flowers.” Many have been fooled by the spotted pattern on this chicken breed.
The Breed Origin
In the early 1970s to 1980s, the number of Swedish flower hens was declining.
Local chicken breeders quickly investigated the breed, and an association called the Swedish Genetic Project.
The purpose of their efforts was to preserve its heritage and even flock numbers.
Not only was it an important step in maintaining the origins of the Swedish flower hen, but it also prevented these colorful chickens from reaching the brink of extinction.
Astonishingly, the Swedish Flower chicken is known as a landrace breed.
A Landrace breed includes livestock that would roam across Icelandic conditions, and only the strongest animals survive.
The Swedish Flower was believed to have started with free range chickens from traders who survived on the farmstead while raising chicks.
This did not include human intervention or a selective breeding program.
Owing to the impressive hardiness of these chickens, the Swedish flower hen became Sweden’s heritage chicken breed.
What Does the Swedish Flower Hen Look Like?
This chicken has a mottled color across its feathers that resembles the patterns and speckles of Swedish flowers.
Its distinct chicken feather pattern is known as “Mille Fleur,” which means a thousand flowers.
Predominant color combinations in hens and roosters include brown and white, black and white, and three base colors of black, white, and pale brown.
Other Plumage Colors
The chicken is also available in blue, red, and orange.
You will also find a rare color in Swedish flower hens known as a snow leopard pattern. The black and white blend creates a mottled pattern that closely resembles the coat of the snow leopard.
Comb and Wattles
Some birds have a large floppy comb, although others have a small and serrated comb.
The Swedish flower hen has different types of combs owing to a diverse breed history.
The comb and wattles of the Swedish flower hen are red.
The comb, ear lobes, and wattles of a Swedish flower hen become bright red when they reach maturity.
These chickens can be crested and non-crested.
The eye color of a Swedish flower chicken ranges from deep yellow to orange.
Feet and Skin
A Swedish flower hen has yellow to black mottled skin.
Its legs are usually bright yellow, but a chick will have light pink legs and feet.
Over time, the color of the skin will become darker from chick to adult.
Weight and Size
The bird is a full, medium-sized chicken that can weigh up to 5 lbs.
A rooster is more robust and weighs 8 lbs.
The Breed Standard
According to the American Poultry Association, there is no breed standard for the Swedish flower hen; however,
This breed of chicken is well recognized and established in Sweden.
Owing to their variations in comb type, colors, and patterns, Swedish flower hens are not accepted as an official breed by the American Poultry Association.
Is the Swedish Hen a Good Egg Layer?
Swedish flower hens can start laying eggs as early as 17 weeks.
They are reasonably good egg layers and produce consistently hard-shelled eggs when fed the appropriate diet.
How Many Eggs Do Hens Lay?
The Swedish Flower breed can lay between 150 to 200 eggs per year.
She lays a light beige to a brown egg.
Swedish flower hen eggs will be small to medium in size in the first laying season.
With the proper feed and a safe area to nest, the eggs of this breed will increase to an extra large size.
To ensure your bird lays beautiful extra large eggs, provide a protein and calcium-enriched diet.
You can even add oyster shell and grit to aid in the digestion of feed and ensure your chickens receive their nutrients.
Along with essential nutrition, Swedish flower hens like their vegetables and greens a lot. They do well on a varied diet.
Signs Your Hen is Ready to Lay
Because of the variety of breeds in the bloodline of the hen, Swedish Flower chickens can lay eggs at different ages and times of the year.
The Swedish flower hen is a good egg layer. Within a year, she will reach maturity and should start producing eggs.
Remember, a female will begin to lay eggs when she is ready.
You cannot rush the process!
Let nature take its course, and as soon as the time is right, you will receive extra large eggs. To tell if your gal is preparing to lay eggs, let’s look at the three major signs:
Large Red Wattles and Combs
A young bird or pullet will not have much comb or wattle development.
As she reaches egg laying age, you will see changes such as a dark red comb and wattles grown in size.
Changes in Behavior
You should notice a behavioral change.
The hen will start to craft a nest or use existing roosts to prepare for laying. She will also get louder.
If you have a talkative hen, you may not tell the difference, but a quiet one will make chirps and squawks even when she is all in order and ready to roost.
The Egg Squat
The egg squat is a good indicator that the time to lay is near! As you reach toward the chicken with your hand, you will see her move down into a squat position with her wings slightly spread apart.
It is a motion that hens make when they are ready to accept a rooster, although it is also a telltale sign that she is preparing to lay an egg.
Getting the Nest Box Ready
Chickens do not mind one bit sharing a nest box, but just ensure the box is large enough to accommodate the number of hens you own.
This landrace bird will like to freely roam and is not too fussy when it’s time to lay an egg. Simply provide a sheltered and quiet area with nesting material.
It will keep your hens happy and laying eggs every other day.
You can allow the Swedish flower hen to free range and raise her to produce organic eggs.
If you notice changes in the condition of the eggs, examine the feed.
For soft shelled eggs, you can supplement the diet with much higher amounts of protein and calcium.
Is the Swedish Flower Hen Prone to Broodiness?
The Swedish flower hen is considered one good egg laying breed but does not tend to get broody.
Around a third of hens may experience broodiness, although it is short-lived.
These chickens make good moms.
They will raise their chicks with a strong instinct to protect them.
As the flower hen is not interested in spending time on the nest, you may have to place eggs in an incubator if you are thinking of breeding Swedish flower chickens.
You can also place the eggs of a Swedish flower hen under another type of broody bird to get them to hatch.
They are naturally curious and eager for treats.
You can get to understand the personalities of your chickens by providing a good scratch and observing their unique behaviors.
The free roaming chicken breed is also intelligent.
You can easily teach this bird to come when called and to recognize their coop.
They also tend to follow their keepers around and make good pets.
If you are looking for one beautiful chicken to add to your flock, then the landrace chicken from Sweden is a good choice.
Attitude Towards Other Breeds
These birds are generally friendly, and like a diverse flock they can forage with.
They do best with at least three other chickens in the backyard flock.
Because of their landrace breed history, these robust birds will fend for themselves.
To keep them happy, provide enough space for them to roam and a well-built coop for shelter and roosting.
The Temperament of a Swedish Flower Chicken
The temperament of the Swedish flower hen is best described as friendly and calm.
You can easily raise friendly hens with frequent interaction.
The Swedish flower chicken is not a skittish or shy bird.
They know how to find food and like to raise their chicks without much help.
Swedish flower hens are also not easily affected by noise disturbances.
If you live in an urban environment and not a quiet farm, then a Swedish hen may be a better choice than a leghorn or more sensitive breeds.
If you are looking for a friendly, independent, and smart chicken, then the flower hen is a good choice of chicken breed.
Whether you would like to add to your backyard flock or you are looking for a unique bird, the chicken with its white-tipped feathers and likeness to flowers would be a rewarding addition.
Is a Swedish Hen Good for First Time Chicken Keepers?
Even the first time chicken keeper can do well with this landrace breed.
Not only are they beautiful to look at, but they are also independent and fairly easy to look after.
You simply need to know what to feed these chickens based on their life and growth stage.
Whether you wish to raise day old chicks or much older birds, let’s look at special considerations for keeping Swedish flower hens.
Do Swedish Hens Have Common Health Issues?
When compared to most chicken breeds, Swedish flower hens do not suffer from common health issues.
If you are considering raising a young chicken such as a day old chick, they must be placed in a heated environment free of drafts.
A red lamp for heating and clean bedding can help baby chicks grow into strong adult birds. When caring for Swedish flower hens, it is important to consider seasonal changes because this breed is prone to molting.
How to Care for a Molting Chicken
All chickens molt with a change in season.
It is a natural process in which old feathers are lost and replaced by new, stronger feathers. Some birds molt with little change in condition, while others experience significant stress.
You may see weight loss and bare patches across the body with a severe molt.
To help Swedish flower hens with the loss of feathers, you will need to alter their diet during this time.
Even the largest hens will do best with a diet change
Loss of feathers during the spring and summer would not be too hard on the birds.
However, molting before or during winter requires careful observation, as a molting chicken is susceptible to respiratory illness.
This ailment can become worse during cold temperatures.
Coupled with fewer feathers, the affected chickens can rapidly decline.
To help molting birds recover, provide the distressed chickens a warm, sheltered environment.
Along with warmth, all molting birds need a well-balanced diet.
Protein becomes an important part of improving the health of molting Swedish flower hens.
Cooked eggs, grains rich in protein, and calcium grit are much-needed additions for the growth of new feathers.
Space and Climate Requirements
Consider the size of the coop and the run to keep Swedish flower hens successfully.
A Swedish flower hen would require around two or three square feet of space per one bird. They do well in a run where they can forage and free roam.
Although some coops may be fairly small in size due to urban property constraints, you can allow your birds to spend a fair amount of time in it to forage if you have a garden.
These tough landrace birds do well in any climate.
Even ice-cold conditions will not hold this little chicken back! Although Swedish flower hens are suited to most types of weather conditions, always provide much-needed shelter against harsh wind, rain, and frost.
The Best Steps to Raise a Swedish Hen
To ensure your Swedish flower hen thrives in your flock, we look at the following need to know steps to raise healthy hens:
- The Swedish flower hen is the easiest breed to rear compared to many other chicken breeds.
- They like to roam around outdoors where they can forage with other birds.
- Swedish flower hens do not need much care but rather a balanced diet to lay healthy eggs.
- These chickens are ideal for different climates.
- Hens are not too noisy. They like chirping and interacting with their keepers when raised around people.
An essential part of successfully raising a flower hen is the environment.
A fair amount of space with time to forage outside addresses much of the natural instincts of these chickens.
A well-built coop and run of a fair size with shade in the summer and shelter in the winter will help Swedish flower hens tolerate harsh conditions.
You should know that roosters are incredibly noisy and not suited to an urban environment.
Should you wish to keep roosters in your urban setting, speak to your neighbors first.
Should your neighbors hear the piercing sounds of a rooster crowing at 4 am, it will certainly not go down too well!
If you are considering rearing Swedish chicks, invest in an incubator.
Many chick keepers have found more success when hatching eggs in an incubator.
Breeding Swedish flower hens requires a secure environment where birds feel safe to hatch their eggs and raise chicks.
How Long Does the Swedish Breed Live?
The dual purpose breed can live up to 10 years.
Is the Swedish Hen the Right Beed for Farms?
A Swedish flower hen is a strong breed and comes from a lineage of birds that had to adapt for survival.
As these chickens are suited to many climates and like foraging around, rural or farmstead living is best suited to such hardy breeds.
Because the Swedish flower hen is an intelligent bird, she is wary of predators.
These chickens know how to hide and forage when raised on a farm.
The Swedish flower hen is Sweden’s largest heritage chicken breed.
Although the Swedish Poultry Association recognizes it, it is not considered an official breed elsewhere globally.
Swedish flower hens aren’t prolific layers but do lay up to 200 eggs annually.
The egg color ranges from light beige to brown.
Eggs get extra big in size in the second laying season.
The name Swedish flower hen comes from its resemblance to the petals of Swedish flowers.
When you see the color of the feathers, you might like the white edged wings and tails.
Base colors include combinations of black and white as well as brown and white.
The black, white, and brown patterns across the feathers also serve as a natural camouflage.
The Swedish flower hen is one of the most impressive looking chickens in the world.
The breed has become a popular addition to the backyard flock and many poultry breeding programs because of its outstanding qualities.
Swedish flower hens are tough, independent, and intelligent, preferring to forage and roam rather than remain confined to a coop.
The unique flower hen also will like the company of three or more flock mates.
So, be sure to keep them in a community of at least three friendly chickens if you can.
One simply cannot discuss the Swedish flower hen without mentioning its stunning feathers. The black, white, and brown millefleur patterns across the body of Swedish flower hens look like flower petals.
Although the base colors of the breed can vary, many will have distinct black and white tipped feathers.
If you are thinking of getting a Swedish flower hen, you must provide enough space for them to roam.
Even with their robust lineage, these chickens like a secure coop and a spacious run.
With its beauty, hardiness, and sweet personality to match, the Swedish flower hen is an incredible flock addition and could make for a great freely ranging chicken.