The Hamburg Chicken
The Hamburg breed of chicken comes as a standard size and as a bantam. It is small, active and comes in some very attractive colourations. The Hamburg is a very old breed which had its origins in the Netherlands and Germany before 1700. The American Poultry Association classifies the Hamburg as a Continental breed and it was included in the Standard of Perfection in 1874. It is popular as a show chicken and is a very attractive little fellow.
There are six varieties recognised as show exhibits in the United States with other countries allowing more colours.
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Two of these varieties are the silver spangled and golden spangled. Spangled chickens have a black spangle or large black dot on the end of each feather. The silver spangled baby chicks are really cute being silver grey with parallel stripes on the back. The golden spangled chicks are similar but with the stripes on a golden background. The head is an orange-red. The adult golden spangled has black spots on a golden brown base.
Other varieties include the silver and gold pencilled Hamburgs which have alternating parallel rows of black or golden brown and white stripes. Plain old White and Black are the other two show varieties.
Hamburgs are small with cocks weighing around 5 pounds and hens about a pound less. Interestingly the size varies according to the colour variety. The pencilled varieties are the smallest with the spangled intermediate and the solid colours the largest.
Bantams are, of course, smaller again, with cocks weighing 26 ounces and hens 22 ounces.
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Whatever the variety, the Hamburg has a red rose comb which is covered with small points. The earlobes and skin are white and the eyes reddish-brown. The legs are a dark bluish-grey.
Because of their small size and foraging ability the Hamburg is economical to keep and virtually trouble-free providing they are not confined. They do not tolerate confinement happily but are hardy and watchful so do well under free range conditions. They are flighty and good fliers, able to fly quite some distance. If given the chance, they will roost in trees and are very active birds. The Hamburg matures early.
The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy has listed the Hamburg’s status as ‘watch’, estimating that there are less than 5,000 breeding birds in the country.
This is a good breed choice if you’re looking for a backyard chicken and wish to do something for the breeds that are struggling to survive.