In 1934 white eggs brought premium prices at market; it was believed that white eggs had a finer, more delicate flavor. At that time most of America’s eggs were produced on small farms all across the country, and the small farmer preferred dual-purpose chickens as these provide a source of meat as well as eggs. Dual-purpose chicken breeds tend to lay brown eggs and white egg-laying breeds available at the time were light-weight and not well fleshed; this prompted Rutgers Breeding Farms to set about producing a dual-purpose breed that would lay white eggs resulting in the Holland Chicken.
You may wonder why an American breed of chicken is called Holland. The answer lies in the ancestry of the breed. Breeders began with light-weight stock originally imported from Holland, and mated it with White Leghorn, Rhode Island Red, New Hampshire, and Lamona. Through careful selection the White Holland was created. Simultaneously, the Barred Holland was created by mating White Leghorn, Barred Plymouth Rock, Australorp, and Brown Leghorn. The breed was admitted to the American Poultry Association Standard of Perfection in 1949.
In its time, the Barred Holland was much more popular with the farmers. This may have been because of the popularity of the Barred Plymouth Rock, or it may have been for the practical reason that a chicken with a pattern is less likely to suffer predation than a white chicken. The White Holland, never having enjoyed as much popularity, may well be extinct now.
While the Holland has never enjoyed widespread popularity, it is an excellent choice for homesteaders or use on small acreages. These chickens have yellow skin and legs, so will produce a carcass with the skin color most Americans favor. The Holland will produce plenty of medium-large white eggs, and one can enjoy the fact that they are helping to conserve what is likely the rarest, living breed of American chicken.
Characteristics: Holland Chickens have earned a good reputation as being ideally suited to farm conditions. They are good foragers with calm temperaments. The breed is fairly cold tolerant, though during periods of extreme cold the males may suffer some frostbite to their single combs. The hens can become broody and will sometimes raise their own offspring. Holland Chicken’s also tend to have a slow to moderate growth rate. But this fact must be weighed against their ability to rustle a significant portion of their own food.
- Standard Weights: Cock-8-1/2 pounds; hen-6-1/2 pounds; cockerel-7-1/2 pounds; pullet-5-1/2 pounds.
- Skin Color: Yellow
- Egg Shell Color: White
- Use: A good egg and meat producing variety.
- Origin: Holland
Interested in raising chickens, but not sure which breed might be right for you?
Things to consider:
Geography: Consider geography when selecting a breed. In cooler areas of the country, consider raising heavier birds. In hotter areas, consider lighter weight birds. Some birds have been specially breed for cold climates. Consider these birds if you live in a cold-climate area.
Space: Where will you be raising these chickens? Do you have a lot of farm land for the animals to be raised on, or are you planning to raise them in your backyard? If you have a small space in which to raise the birds, choose breeds with a calmer temperament and avoid birds that are listed as active. Active birds will not be happy in close confinement.
Temperament: When choosing a breed, consider temperament. Some breeds are calmer than others. If raising chickens in a backyard or in the city, you may prefer a calmer breed.