Iowa Blue Chicken Characteristics

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In the early 1900s near Decorah, Iowa (USA), the blue chicken was developed. Iowa Blue chickens are multipurpose breed, which has good meat and lay a lot of eggs.  They are exceptional foragers with good predator awareness, and the roosters are good flock protectors especially against hawks.

The humorous rumor of  blue chicken :

White Leghorn hen went broody and hid under a building to brood her chicks. When she finally came out she had a group of chicks that were unlike any chicks in the area.

Some of the old-timers that are familiar with the breed would tell you that the breed was sired by a pheasant.

Iowa Blue Chicken Characteristics

  1. Iowa blue chickens are vigorous breeders and are early to mature.  Though very aware of their surroundings in a free-range situation, the breed is fairly docile and not particularly flighty.
  2. Iowa blue chicken’s weight of male chicken is 8 Pounds, the weight of hen is 7 Pounds and a young rooster is 7 Pounds, Pullet is 6 Pounds.
  3. Blue chicken produces around 180 eggs per year, which is a significant number even after being labeled as a broody breed like silkieshamo, Ancona chickens, sumatra chicken
  4. Color of skin is white and color of egg shells, tinted.
  5. Comb, face, ear lobes, wattles are Red in color.
  6. Male: The back and saddle are similar to the neck. Female: The back is bluish to gray with penciling.
  7. Single significant comb, thick at the base,  with six well defined, evenly spaced points.
  8. The beak is medium length, slightly curved.
  9. The face is fine texture, free from wrinkles. Eyes are large, round, and prominent. Earlobes are medium in size, oval in shape, fitting close to the head. Round shaped medium sized head.
  10. The neck is moderately long, mild arch, forward and erect carriage.
  11. The tail is medium length, moderately well spread, carried at an angle of seventy degrees above horizontal.
  12. Wings are medium in length, carried close to the body under the saddle.
  13. Breast is strong, moderately deep, and well-rounded.
  14. The body is broad, deep, and full. Fluff is moderately full.
  15. Legs set well apart, straight when viewed from the front. Toes are four on each foot, medium length, straight, well-spread.
  16. A good layer of lightly tinted brown eggs.
  17. The crouching and rapid fleeing is that pheasant chicks exemplify this same trait. This trait no doubt rendered support to the claim that the Iowa Blue was “sired” by a pheasant.
  18. Iowa Blue’s like to roam. They like their space and are active foragers. They handle confinement well and without complaint, however, one will find the breed to flourish if given the opportunity to free range.
  19. Iowa Blue roosters have a reputation as flock defenders.
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Iowa Blue Hen picture @brucelanthier

Benefits of Iowa Blue Chicken

  • The Iowa Blue should make a great addition to a backyard or farm flock.  They are hardy birds that pull their weight graciously around the farm.
  • Being a medium sized dual purpose breed they require less feed than larger birds, produce good egg quantity and size for good meat.
  • The blue chicken hens are good layers, will go broody and are good mothers.
  • When the Blue roosters are used in cross-breeding they produce sex-linked chicks, such as Gray male chickenerels and Black Pullets when crossed with a White Plymouth Rock hen, or a Reddish Gray male chickenerel and Blackish Gray Pullet when crossed with a New Hampshire.
  • Iowa Blue roosters have a reputation as flock defenders, and it is a common occurrence to witness an Iowa Blue rooster aiding in the protection of its flock.
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Iowa Blue Chicks picture @Iowablu

Why Iowa Blue Chicken was developed?

Iowas harsh conditions like humid summers and ice cold winters made difficult for the normal chicken to survive and benefit farmers. So Iowa farmers required a breed which is hardy enough to handle to elements of nature; the wind and cold, the rain and heat, the threat of a predator while at the same time growing to a good size with minimal human support. Along with this a good amount of meat and enough eggs for a homesteader. To this expectation, the Iowa Blue would appear right breed.

So, in the early part of 1920, John set out to develop the perfect “Iowa Chicken.” What resulted was a breed that far surpassed his expectations. Not only did his creation thrive in Iowa’s climate diversity, but they embodied his same Independence and preferred to forage for their own keep, raise a brood of chicks without human intervention, and fight off invading hawks seeking to make a meal out of them.

Iowa Blue Chicken History

From an article in the Decorah Public Opinion, “The breed is the result of work begun by Lodgson of Canoe Township 25 years ago.  The first year [John Logsdon] mated a Chinese pheasant male chicken with a Black Minorca hen and Rhode Island hen.  He raised only eight birds from those mating – four pullets and four roosters.  The next year he mated what he regarded as the best rooster with the four hens and continued in that manner.  Logsdon picked the Black Minorca to start because that breed lays the largest eggs of any breed and the Rhode Island Red because it was, in his opinion, the leading breed of its type.  The male chicken pheasant was chosen because of its hardiness and ability to stand both cold and heat.”

The breed was carried by several Iowa hatcheries through the 1960s but was nearly lost when many hatcheries went out of business. The breed was rescued from a few remaining flocks and has been bred and preserved through the efforts of a few breeders since the late 1980s.

In the early part of 2012 individuals interested in preserving and promoting this breed, banded together and formed the Iowa Blue Chicken Club and quickly set in motion the necessary requirements to prevent this breed from experiencing extinction.

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Iowa Blue Rooster picture @brucelanthier

Brief characteristics of Iowa Blue Chicken

Breed NameIowa Blue
Other Nameblue chicken
Country/Place of OriginIowa, USA
Breed PurposeDual-purpose (Eggs and Meat)
Breed Sizemedium
Weight
Rooster(Male)
3.5 kg
Hen(Female)3 kg
Eggs180 eggs/year
DispositionFriendly with humans
Climate ToleranceGood, hardy in both heat and cold.

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