Iowa Blue Chicken
The Iowa Blue Chickens exact origin is unknown, but is the subject of a folksy legend that is said to have involved the mating of a White Leghorn hen and a Pheasant. This is especially unlikely considering that Leghorns are light-weight birds with white earlobes, yellow skin, and which lay white eggs.
Iowa Blue Chickens are have never been recognized officially by the American Poultry Association, American Bantam Association, or any other breed standard. In to the 1960s, several hatcheries around Iowa sold the breed, but after these hatcheries either closed or stopped selling them, the Iowa Blue nearly disappeared. Dedicated breed enthusiasts have preserved the breed in to the 21st century, though their numbers remain small.
It is listed as “Study” by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, entailing that is of conservation interest but lacks the documentation to be firmly categorized.
Characteristics: Iowa Blue Chicken are a dual-purpose chicken. With males weighing 7.5 pounds and hens 6 pounds, they can produce a fair amount of meat. Hens lay a good amount of brown eggs, and will go broody. They are also known to be good foragers, and will do well in free range conditions. The breed has red earlobes, and a single comb. They appear in a single color variety, which is not actually the blue color defined by poultry breed standards. It has a silvery white head, and the body plumage is dark brown or black with white lacing. The back is also white in roosters, and the overall color is technically referred to as “penciling”. When mated with other breeds, especially White Plymouth Rocks or New Hampshires, Iowa Blues will produce sex linked hybrid offspring.
- Standard Weights: Cock-7-1/2 pounds; hen-6 pounds; cockerel-6-1/2 pounds; pullet-5 pounds.
- Egg Shell Color: Brown
- Use: A good egg and meat producing variety.
- Origin: Unknown
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.