Appenzeller Barthunhner is one of the most attractive and cutest chicken breeds to exist and that’s more the reason why any homeowner should opt for these if they’re looking for convenient and upbeat pets.
Appenzeller Barthuhner literally means a ‘bearded’ chicken and its appearance alone makes you want to put your hands around it and keep it close to you!
However, not all birds and pets love being but the situation goes otherwise for these furballs.
As much as this pet attracts the owner, they don’t exist in a large population.
Throughout the world there exists less than 1000 Appenzeller Barthuhners including less than 3 large fowls in the UK, followed by just 12 in Germany.
It’s more the reason why these should be preserved and Green fire in Florida is making commendable efforts for it. It promotes great hopes that these will be long preserved.
The chicken breed – Appenzeller Barthuhner, an acclaimed breed befitting for the king, originates from the northeastern part of Switzerland in the 1870s in the Appenzell province.
The name was enunciated as the literal translation of Barthuhner meant a bearded chicken. This chicken breed is one of the most unique ones and is highly convenient for breeding in cold weather.
However, the breed is close to extinction and mass preservation attempts have been made ever since the Second World War ended resulting in lots of casualties in the poultry sector two.
A renowned individual Kurt Fischer who was a Zuffenhausen, Germany national deserves the credit for the revival of the breed.
In the 1950s, he was the leading breeder of the infamous Appenzeller Barthuhner and worked relentlessly for the breed’s preservation.
Given that the breed has origins in Switzerland, the cold climate is absolute. In the times of Lord Zust back in 1860, the breed first appeared and was considerably hardy for the cold Alpine winters.
Its built characteristics hold great importance for its combat abilities against the cold and harsh climates of the Alpine. They can also hold their ground firmly in Canadian weather.
Appearance and Behaviour
There’s a lot to say when it comes to describing an Appenzeller Barthuhner’s appearance. Given that they’re a breed originating in cold weather, Barthuhners are blessed with ‘beards’ to combat the climate despite often being called unusual.
They have small wattles and a rose comb appropriate in cold weather as it prevents frostbite in mountainous climates. With the wattles and throat being guarded by the beard, it offers extra insulation.
This is one of the defining factors why this breed continues laying eggs as they regularly do even in bitter harsh winters!
The male and female Appenzeller Barthuhners don’t vary too much in characteristics except that the female has an accentuated horizontal backline compared to the male.
Even though this breed is so friendly to humans, the same doesn’t apply in their territory.
They can be very aggressive towards other male counterparts, hence, for preventive purposes, one shouldn’t hoard more than one cock in a coop of females.
Notable Distinctive Facts and Varieties
Appenzeller Barthuhner did not originate as a new breed or discovered on its own but it was rather developed as crosses from various breeds making it a perfect mix of all of them.
The crosses that led to the origin of Appenzeller Barthuhner include Brown Leghorns, Polveraras – which are not extinct and Russian Beardeds.
Now, if you look at an Appenzeller Barthuhner and watch Foghorn Leghorn getting the screen time as your children enjoy Looney Tunes, you will see how there’s a familiarity there too.
There are three main varieties in color namely partridge, black-breasted red, blue, and black for this specific breed, and officially acknowledge the weight of standard males varies from 1.8 – 2.3 kg whereas for females it is 1.6 – 1.8 kg at max.
However, when it comes to the bantam breed, the weights vary a lot where the male clocks at only 680 g and the female counterpart at merely 570 g!
Barthunhers are amazing egg layers and you can expect a healthy Barthuhner hen to lay around 190-220 eggs throughout the years that weigh around 60 g individually.
Note that their eggs can be either cream or white so there’s no need to be alarmed if you have a lot and their colors vary!
On average, the hens lay about 3 – 4 eggs a week and what makes them reliable is that despite the cold climates, they don’t brood and continue to lay the average number and size of eggs as any other time of the year.
Personality & Temperament
Seeing a Barthuhner, you might want to get your hands around it and give it some love and why wouldn’t you to such a cute breed?
They are known to be very calm and docile birds and one doesn’t have to worry about their broodiness much. To top it off, they’re great foragers and would pace around looking for bugs, slugs, and snails.
Nevertheless, their food intake has to be governed properly to prevent overweight. For a bird that has foraging as a part of its personality, it’s advised to provide them free access to roam around.
In addition to that, one can say Barthuhners are very active and can get bored over time if not kept busy.
Therefore, if you plan on petting a few make sure you have a backyard big enough for them to pace around freely, branches to perch on, litter they can scratch about at and if you throw in a few distractions and corn around the field, they’re going to stay preoccupied all the time.
They are very tameable and show no hostility towards humans making them the perfect pet companion to own!
Over the years, many people have put effort into the preservation of the Appenzeller Barthuhners since there’s always been a small percentage existing.
Despite the impressive laying capabilities, the breed is on the verge of extinction and needs to be protected in every possible way.
There aren’t many crosses in chicken breeds with such docility and friendliness towards humans which makes them one of the best breeds to exist for petting!