Let’s Meet the Barthuhners
This month we’re excited to introduce a remarkable new breed of chicken to North America, the Appenzeller Barthuhner. This rare breed originated in the 1870s in the Appenzell province of Switzerland. There, in the remote village of Wolfhalden, a local noble, Lord Züst, took it upon himself to develop a chicken breed that could forage in the woods and fields and survive the bitter cold of the Swiss Alps. The foundation stock for the Barthuhner breed included local chickens that were probably the ancestors of Russian Pavlovskaya hens. Züst sought to create a large bird with a small comb and wattles, a beard to warm its neck, and an ability to reliably lay large eggs throughout the winter.
After many years of selective breeding Lord Züst achieved his goal and produced a magnificent and hardy fowl, the Appenzeller Barthuhner. “Barthuhner” translates to “bearded chicken.” And, the beards on these birds can be extraordinary.