Skip to main content

Swedish Flower Hen

Crested Swedish Flower Hen Pullet
The rare Swedish Flower Hen has a unique story. Called Skånsk blommehöna (Bloom Hen) in their native country of Sweden this landrace breed was thought to be extinct in the 1970's. (The term landrace refers to the fact that S.F.H.'s were free to develop for nearly five hundreds years without interference from man, so to speak). But in the late 1980's the Swedish Poultry Country Club located isolated flocks in the villages of Esarp, Tofta and Vomb. The gene bank that was eventually created by the S.P.C.C. was successful and there are approximately 1,300 Swedish Flower Hens currently in Sweden.

While enthusiast of rare breeds continue to work hard to increase the numbers it is painfully obvious why they slowly fell out of favor nearly 100 years ago. Though rare and visually stunning they cannot equal the number of eggs some of the top laying hens produce in a peak yearly cycle. Swedish Flower Hens average around 150 eggs over the course of 12 months. Compare that with the nearly 300 eggs a year a leghorn will lay and little explanation is needed. They are average in weight with hens weighing around 5lbs so in regards to meat production they are not top of the list either. But, with that said, they are extremely hardy birds. They have to be to survive in such harsh winter conditions and they are considered reasonably calm chickens when compared to a number of other breeds. These are the attributes that caught my attention. Last winter it reached -20 degrees Fahrenheit in southern N.Y. and though my chickens made it through I began to rethink owning flighty Mediterranean breeds.
Swedish Flower Hens

In 2010 the first S.F.H.'s made their way to the United States. Paul Bradshaw of Greenfire Farms is credited with initially importing breeding pairs of Bloom Hens from Sweden. Within the S.F.H. family there are a small number who have crested heads. Bradshaw imported a group with crest the second time around to increase the gene pool.

Fast forward to the year 2015. Here at Bossy Hen Homestead we have half a dozen laying hens. As mentioned earlier I was interested in slowly working our leghorns out of the mix. Though productive layers they were aggressive and flighty hens. I decided to peek on craigslist to see if there were any interesting breeds available locally. I was surprised to find an add for Swedish Flower Hens. To be completely honest I had never heard of them. I quickly read about them online and was shocked to find out how rare they were. I immediately contacted the owner of these fine hens and told her I was interested!

Some of the old flock
I drove to a wonderful little farm in the hills of the Catskill mountains and met a friendly couple who were raising a number of beautiful chickens and ducks deep in the woods of Delaware County. I gladly purchased two crested head hens and brought them home to my excited children!

They were small pullets when I brought them home and I had learned my lesson the hard way when I brought my Ameraucana home, so I put them in a separate living area to begin with. Though within sight and scent of the main flock they are safely protected until they are ready to merge.

Tobias Whitaker blogs for Mother Earth News and Grit Magazine. Click on the Mother Earth News logo at the bottom of the page for all of his post. You can also find him on Facebook at Seed To Harvest: Bossy Hen Homestead which is a central location for his homesteading blogs and his homeschooling blog, A Mile In Her Shoes: Tales Of A Stay-At Home Dad found here  



  1. What a great article about the history and story of how you found out about the Swedish Flower Hens! Good, accurate contrast with the leghorns, but I, too, personally find their benefits outweigh their disadvantages for a backyard flock.

    I'm glad to hear and see they've grown into beautiful pullets!
    Hope the introduction goes smoother this time around.
    Thanks for the update!

    Paradise in Disguise Hobby Farm Blog


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

In Winter

I enjoy winter when it arrives at the homestead. Though the gardens are long since dormant there is still plenty to do.The rabbits and the chickens need constant care. A couple of times a day I have to break ice from the animals water and make sure they have enough warm bedding.

I don't mind though. No matter how cold it gets. There is poetry in the garden during summer. Birds sing with triumphant melody. Soft summer rains baptize new growth. But the winter features a more solitary form of art. For the most part there is a resonating silence that is a canvas for the occasional temperamental gust of wind and snow. These same squalls force the breathe from my lungs and scatter the frozen mist before my eyes. Then, once again, there is silence. As any good steward I try not to disturb this peace. If anything, I try to move unnoticed among it.

When it is cold enough the trees will produce an individual moan as they threaten to splinter in the darkness of the woods. They all have their…

The Land of Plenty

The idea that I am about to present to you is certainly nothing new. Wonderful organizations such as Ample HarvestPlant a Row for the Hungry and countless food banks and pantries across the country have been confronting the issue of hunger in our communities head on for some time.

Food insecurity is a cornerstone of the human condition. A little research will lead you to discover a long history of charity in opposition. For example, the seventh century Irish Benedictine monk St. Fiacre who was a master herbalist eventually settled in France and practiced a reverse tithe by keeping 10% of his harvest while giving away 90% to those less fortunate.

Life is complicated, as we all know. There are no easy answers to any of the problems that plague our society but there are some very simple issues that could be addressed that could in turn have a ripple effect on a number of other dilemmas such as poverty, health and even violence.

According to the USDA 40% of the $161 billion dollars’ (yo…