Iowa Blue chicken is a great dual purpose backyard breed. It was developed in the early 1900s near Decorah, Iowa. And the breed is quite rare now. The exact origin of Iowa Blue chicken is unknown.
But is the subject of a folk legened that is said to have involved the mating of a White Leghorn hen and a pheasant.
The breed is not actually blue according to poultry standards, despite it’s name. Iowa Blue chicken has never been recognized officially be the American Bantam Association, American Poultry Association or any other breed standard.
Several hatcheries around Iowa sold the breed into the 1960s. But the Iowa Blue chicken nearly disappeared after those hatcheries either closed or stopped selling them. Some dedicated breed enthusiasts have preserved the breed into the 21st century (though their numbers remain small).
Since then they have been trying to distribute the breed to any interested parties in an effort to restore the breed. Review characteristics, behavior and full breed profile of Iowa Blue chicken below.
Iowa Blue Chicken Characteristics
Iowa Blue chicken is a dual purpose breed. It will produce sex-linked chicks when mated other breeds, especially with New Hampshire or Plymouth Rocks. The gender of the chicks can be determined by color upon hatching.
So it’s a great plus if you want to raise males and females separately from a very early stage. Iowa Blue chicken doesn’t have true blue feathering (despite being called ‘blue’).
Neck, breasts and head are white or silvery white, with a thin black stripe down the middle, which transitions to white-laced black feathers. And the remaining plumage in their body is bluish-black or gray with pencilling.
There are some differences between males and females in the back and saddle feathers. Iowa Blue chicken has red colored single comb, which is upright with six defined points.
They have red colored wattle and medium to moderately large sized red earlobes. Their shanks and toes are slate. Male Iowa Blue chickens weight about 3.2 kg and females about 2.7 kg.
Iowa Blue chicken is known to be a very good forager, and they will do well in free range conditions. They are vigorous breeders and are early maturing birds. This breed is not particularly flighty and fairly docile.
As a dual purpose breed, Iowa Blue chicken produce good number of eggs and can produce a fair amount of meat. Hens are great layers and will go broody. And they are also great mothers. Males being particularly competent hawk fighters are among the best guardians of a flock.
Now it can be difficult to find the Iowa Blue chicken and the breed is extremely rare. However, it’s a great backyard flock. And by raising this breed, you can enjoy it’s dual purpose capabilities and help to restore a near extinct breed. Review full breed profile of Iowa Blue chicken below.
|Dual Purpose (Meat & Eggs)