Does Hamburg Chicken’s beauty and agility pique your interest? You should know there’s more to breeding this bird than having its black and white feathered body and multiple eggs in your pen or backyard.
Its energy and agility make the Hamburg Chicken breed prone to aggression in tense situations. Hence, it’s a handful to breed, even for the educated owner.
There’s much to learn about this domino bird, from its origin to its characteristics, temperaments, lifespan, health, breeding, and other fun facts. Once you commit to breeding Hamburg Roosters and hens, prepare to have the best flock using this guide.
What is the Hamburg Chicken?
Hamburg Chicken is a rare bird categorized under the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy Conservation Priority’s watch list because it’s endangered. It comes in different varieties of plumages and sizes, with each one carrying more value than the other.
Regardless of their variety, all Hamburg Chickens are prized for their laying ability and uniqueness.
Brief History of Hamburg Chickens
Hamburg Chickens have a history as fascinating as their appearance because everyone wants to associate with “stars.” Despite their prominent name, “Hamburg,” suggesting they’re German, these roosters were first recorded in the 14th Century, Holland per The Livestock Conservancy.
Almost four hundred years later, the roosters reached Western Europe through exportation and settled in America by the 19th Century. The bird was firstly a utility breed amongst poultry fanciers before becoming a show bird.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t yet known as the Hamburg, and its introduction/identification became a problem at poultry showings. This bird answered many other names, including Pheasant, Pheasant Fowl, Silver Pheasant Fowl, Yorkshire, and Yorkshire Pheasant Fowl.
English Reverend E.S. Dixon suggested grouping the black and white feathered birds under the Hamburg breed since it combined the European Pencilled Hamburgs, the Lancashire-Yorkshire Bolton Greys, and the Lancashire Mooney-Yorkshire Pheasants per Rare Breeds Survival Trust.
Since the Hamburg Chicken isn’t the only breed in its group, it’s essential to know its unique characteristics for identification.
Hamburg Chickens Physical Appearance
Typically, you’ll see Hamburg Chickens with white and black feathers and bright red crowns for the roosters or redheads for the hens. However, that’s one of the standard plumage varieties of Hamburg Chickens as stated by the American Poultry Association Standard of Perfection 1874.
They include black, golden (penciled & spangled), silver (penciled & spangled), and white.
Birds with thin feather lines formed in a contour are penciled. The feathers’ uniformity creates a laceless and no-trim edge arranged neatly. Penciled feathers are narrow and close-knit, with equal distance between each piece.
- Golden Penciled Hamburg Chicken
Golden Penciled Hamburg Chickens have a reddish brown feather base that appears golden underneath sunlight hence, the name. Its head has a red crown extending to its beak as a comb, while its shank and toes are lead blues.
- Silver Penciled Hamburg Chicken
The Silver Penciled Hamburg Chicken, the most popular variety in America, needs little introduction. Its feather base color is silver/white with many black overlays, a red comb, and a wattle (chin). This variety is small but light on its feet.
A Spangled Plumage is notable for its dual-tone and contrasting color scheme on the feather’s bottom. Depending on the variety, it forms a V-shape, half-moon, pear-shaped or rounded tip. The curved end is typically black, while the base could be golden or silver.
- Silver Spangled Hamburg Chicken
This American variety is famous for its silver base and magnificent green-black spangles. It’s a colorful rooster with a rosy comb, dark blue limbs, and white earlobes.
Silver Spangled Hamburg Chicks have an equal mixture of silver and green-black stripes on their backs in spiky feathers. Annually, Silver Spangled Hamburgs grow new white feathers during a molt where they shed their brassy faded plumage.
- Golden Spangled Hamburg Chicken
Golden Spangled Hamburg Chickens have reddish-brown (gold) bases with black spangles. They’re rare, unlike the penciled variety with a bright red rose comb and wattle, deep blue shanks.
White and Black
- White Hamburg Chicken
White Hamburg Chickens are as popular as the Silver Spangled Hamburg in America but not considered high-quality breeds in England. It has all the characteristics and appearances of the Silver Spangled Hamburg except its black spangle and flecks.
- Black Hamburg Chicken
The Black Hamburg Chicken lacks the famous gray-blue shank of the other varieties but possesses similar combs, wattles, earlobes, and eyes. The earlobes vary from bright white to blue; the former is considered the highest quality for show birds.
Other colors and varieties recognized in Europe include;
Blue, Cuckoo, Golden Blue Penciled, Lemon Penciled, and Yellow White Penciled
Hamburg Chickens Characteristics
Hamburgs come in standard small sizes and bantams which aren’t the same as petite chicks. Control their movements within the coop by building a tall fence around your hatchery because these small gorgeous birds can fly.
The Silver Spangled Hamburg is a proficient egg layer hence its nickname, the Dutch Everyday Layer. Although it produces beautiful white eggs for sale, it’s not a natural breeder. You must seek breeders if you’re buying a Hamburg for economic purposes.
Farmers and Chicken Keepers consider Hamburg Chickens’ ability to consistently lay eggs for the long term as the breed’s true gift, although other unique characteristics exist.
Hamburg chickens have sharp senses that keep them alert to their environment and safe from predators. This breed loves activities, so they’re avid foragers and don’t need their keepers to feed them consistently.
Create hedgerows for the Hamburg hens alongside low trees so you can easily access them regardless of their roosting height.
We recommend getting this breed for economic gain as it’s low maintenance.
See the table below for a comprehensive Description
|Size||Roosters 5 lbs, Hens 4 lbs, Cockerel 4 lbs, Pullet 3.5 lbs, Bantam Roosters 26 oz, Bantam Hens 22 oz.|
|Egg Size||Size (Medium)|
|Comb Color||Red Rose|
|Weather Preference||None (Hot and Cold friendly)|
|Laying Age||4 – 5 months|
|Laying Capacity||4/week | 200/annum|
|Lifespan||6 – 8 years|
|Plumage||White, Black, Yellow, Blue|
|Horned Beak||Short & Curved|
|Leg Color||Grayish-Blue with Shanks|
|Feather Style||Spangled, Penciled|
|Breeding Environment||Large Space Hatchery with Fence|
Understanding Hamburg Chickens
Knowing the Hamburg Chickens’ characteristics and appearance is only one step in understanding the bird. To be a good chicken keeper, you must study its temperament, health, and breeding technicalities.
What’s the Bird’s Temperament?
Hamburg Chickens are robust birds with high energy, so they hate confinement. It’s best to breed Hamburg Chickens in large open spaces so they have the free range to forage and explore their vibrant energy.
Separate the Hamburg Roosters from the hens unless it’s breeding time, as the male species is aggressive. However, the hens are calmer and don’t get agitated in groups.
The overall temperament of the Hamburg Chicken includes Restlessness, Alert, Jumpy, Active, Curious, and Wild.
The Incubation and Hatching Period
Because Hamburg Chickens aren’t broody birds, the Chicken Keeper must encourage reproduction between the roosters and hens and an incubator to keep the eggs warm before hatching. They’re ready to start producing and laying eggs from 4 – 6 months and have about four eggs daily.
Hamburg Chicken eggs incubate at the same temperature level as regular birds meaning 99 – 102 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. Use a thermometer to ensure the temperature remains regulated as excess heat leads to early hatching, which makes Hamburg Chicks soft with weak bones.
Standard Hamburg Chicken eggs are medium-sized and white hence pay attention to blemishes and abnormalities as signs of failing health.
Hamburg Chicken’s Health and Lifespan
A Hamburg Chicken can live for as long as four to six years when well cared for. However, the bird is vulnerable to Avian Influenza and Fowl Cholera – common bird diseases.
Keep the stress levels low for new Hamburg chicks to ensure healthy development. Don’t carry the bird during the daytime, as it’ll get flighty; wait until it roosts at night. Ensure your Hamburg Chickens eat a balanced diet, drink clean water, and pick their eggs daily.
Clean the nest and hatchery every morning and night to ensure your birds’ environment is clean and healthy. Check the feathers for fleas or ticks once to twice weekly, and deworm the Hamburg Chickens periodically to avoid infections.
Pay attention to your Hamburg Chickens for signs of failing health, including drooping eyes, odd droppings and discharges, and latency.
Feeding Hamburg Chickens (Daily Diet)
As avid foragers and active birds, Hamburg Chickens need to search for food themselves, or else they’ll get restless. However, as the Chicken Keeper, you must ensure they get their complete nutrients.
A balanced diet for eight weeks old Hamburg Chickens includes mash, pellets, and grains, while under eight weeks, chicks need the standard Chick Starter meal. Increase the calcium and protein portions for layer hens for healthy eggs.
Serve the birds their nutritious meals for breakfast, then let them stretch their feet foraging around the hatchery.
Why Should You Get Hamburg Chickens?
Having Hamburg Chickens in your coop improves the aesthetics of their beautiful birds. Besides beautifying your space, this breed boosts your economy as it’s a prolific layer of white eggs, and you won’t wait long to start reaping the profits of your labor.
It takes only four to five months for a Hamburg Chicken to mature and start laying eggs. These birds are small-sized and would only take up a little space, although they like to move around. Hamburg Chickens produce enough natural fertilizers when fed with a balanced diet.
You’ve learned every vital information about Hamburg Chickens, and it’s time to use them to your advantage. As a watchlist bird, this breed is only available at certified poultries and requires special licenses before you can become a Hamburg Chicken breeder.
Once you buy your rare birds, ensure you take the best care of them and preserve their legacy.