Chicken Breeds: Appenzeller

Creative Commons-licensed image courtesy of Flickr user RWayne
Creative Commons-licensed image courtesy of Flickr user RWayne

The Appenzeller is considered the “National breed of Switzerland.” This is a striking bird, white with black flecks, with a big pouf of feathers atop their heads. (The rooster’s crest is much more lavish than the hen’s.)

This Swiss breed is very cold-hardy, which makes it an excellent choice for colder climates. It is a modest layer of white eggs, and is typically kept mainly as an attractive addition to the flock.

A rare breed in the United States, the Appenzeller is better suited to free range foraging than to close confinement. This is a breed that was designed to fend for itself, which it does very well. The Appenzeller Spitzhauben is a smallish chicken (about 3-5 pounds) which likes to run and fly and roost in trees, and doesn’t adapt well to being kept in close quarters.

Technically there are two types of Appenzeller: Spitzhauben (with a crest) and Barthuhner (which has no crest). But from a practical standpoint, the Barthuhner is practically unknown.

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