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Sicilian Buttercup Chicken: Crown of the Fancy’s Origin and Unique Beauty

Sicilian buttercup chicken breed

From its royal cup-shaped crown to its golden plumage with mottled feather pattern and iridescent greenish-black tail and green legs, everything in the Sicilian Buttercup chicken screams regal beauty.

But how does this ornamental breed perform in the egg and meat department? And is Sicilian Buttercup the right breed for you?

In this article, we’ll introduce you to the “crown of the fancy” and uncover:

  • The story behind its unique name
  • The science behind its green legs
  • How many eggs it can produce
  • How it socializes with other breeds and its human

Does the Sicilian Buttercup chicken breed intrigue you? Well, let us share with you something even more intriguing!

Sicilian Buttercup Chicken Crown of the Fancy’s Origin and Unique Beauty

Sicilian Buttercup Chicken’s Background and History

There are different theories about Sicilian Buttercup chickens. But basically, it got its name due to these three things:

  • The chicken breed’s Sicilian heritage
  • Their unique golden or buttery gold plumage
  • Their distinct, prominent cup-shaped comb 

Hence, the name Sicilian Buttercup chicken. It’s also known as the Sicilian Flowerbird because its comb resembles flower petals. 

The APA Standard of Perfection recognizes Sicily island near Italy as the origin of this breed. Still, others believe that the Buttercup chicken was developed in North Africa and brought to Sicily by Arabs. 

In his book Poultry of the World, Loyal Stromberg quotes Reverend Ray Trudgian from a “Poultry Overseas” article. Trudgian recalls following a cock’s crow near Bethlehem and coming into a flock of Buttercups guarded by guard dogs.

Trudgian is referring to Easom Smith’s 1976 book Modern Poultry Development. 

North African Origin

Buttercups, according to Smith, were developed by Arabs from North Africa who journeyed through Mediterranean countries. The breed possibly arrived in Europe via Sicily, where the birds got their name. 

Sir Edward Brown, citing Professor Ghigli of Bologna, Italy, echoes the North African provenance.

North African Buttercups are smaller than Sicilian Buttercups, and their combs are less plump. In Poultry Breeding and Production, 1929, he states, “He suggests that the latter is due to a crossbreeding North African and an Italian, further claiming that there are many crossings of European races, like as the Leghorn, onto the little African breed in Tripoli and nearby nations.”

According to the Standard, they made their way into the United States in 1835 through a captain who brought the chickens to provide fresh meat for his men during their voyage. 

The crew was pleasantly astonished to see that the Sicilian Buttercup hens constantly lay huge, white eggs throughout the voyage, and they quickly became the crew’s pets.

In 1860 and 1894, more Buttercups were imported to the United States. By 1912, the breed had gained popularity to the point where the American Buttercup Club was founded, with over 200 members in its first year. 

The American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection eventually accepted the Sicilian Buttercup in 1918.

Later, in the mid-nineteenth century, breeders seeking a tiny version of this lovely breed developed the bantam Sicilian Buttercup.

And the APA Standard recognized the Sicilian Buttercup bantam version in 1960. 

sicilian buttercup hens

Sicilian Buttercup Chicken’s Breed Standard and Appearance

Chicks

Sicilian Buttercup chicks are so adorable and innately beautiful. You may find them in patchy tan, light brown, or reddish shades with dark brown markings on their little heads.

They also sport dark brown outlines around their eyes, completing their irresistible look. 

Adult’s Standard Appearance

One of the most striking features of the Sicilian chicken breed is its beautiful plumage. Many breeders consider the female Buttercup chicken one of the most beautiful breeds, and here’s why. 

Sicilian Buttercup Chicken Color

There are noticeable differences between a Sicilian Buttercup rooster and a Buttercup hen’s plumage. So, to help you distinguish them from each other, we’ll point out the visual characteristics that set them apart. 

Hen

Female Buttercup chickens boast a golden-buff plumage with pure golden hackle feathers on their neck. The golden feathers with small, black, diagonal spangles complement each other to create a stunning color pattern and spread throughout its body. 

Some Buttercup may have black markings on the neck, but that’s less desirable by breeders than the pure golden neck feathers that create a contrast with the dark marking of the rest of their body.

When it comes to their tails, it’s colored black with green shimmers. 

Rooster

On the other hand, the roosters display a plumage with a reddish-orange hue on the body. But the hackle and saddle feathers are slightly lighter than the red on the body and breast. And that creates a subtle, eye-pleasing contrast.

When it comes to their tails, the rooster has an iridescent greenish-black tail.

Comb

The cup-shaped crown perfectly set on the Buttercup’s skull and surrounded by a circle of regular medium-sized points is one of their main highlights and distinct features. 

Its shape gives the Buttercup chickens a royal look. That’s why the American Buttercup Club likes to call the breed the “Crown of the Fancy”. 

The rooster’s comb is larger than the female’s but both displays the same unique look. It’s rare to find buttercup comb chicken breeds so this is surely a wondrous feature.

Legs

Another exciting Sicilian Buttercup characteristics are their unique green legs that hide a fascinating science. 

Some chickens, especially those bred for meat production, have white skin. On the other end, most egg production chicken breeds have yellow skin. 

Yellow skin is favored for egg-laying birds because it provides a source of yellow pigment for the hen and adds to the color of her egg yolks.

Leg color comprises two layers—the under-layer and the outer one. And the Buttercup chicken’s under-layer is blue. 

If they possess white skin like a meat-producing chicken Buttercups would have blue legs like several Continental European breeds. But because they have yellow skin and a blue under-color, their legs turned out greenish. 

Body Type

Buttercup chickens boast a long and smooth body with a deep abdomen for high egg production. 

Their smooth back line is evident from their neck to their tail. 

A soft, smooth transition from the back to the tail is preferred, whereas a severe angle from the back to the tail is not attractive.

A Buttercup’s tail should be fanned out and spread out at the base. It is for both production and aesthetic reasons. A well-spread tail at the base indicates that the bird has a deep abdomen with plenty of space for good egg production. 

If a bird’s tail is “pinched,” meaning it is curled up and less spread, it has less capacity at the back of its body for egg production.

Those with a widely fanned tail are considered more attractive than others. 

Now you may wonder how big can Sicilian Buttercups can get. We’ll talk about that later. 

But first, let’s get to know more about the Sicilian Buttercup chicken behavior including how it interacts with other flock members and humans. 

sicilian chicken breed

Sicilian Buttercup Chicken’s Personality and Temperament

They are lively birds, alert, flighty, and always on the go. It’s as if they always have errands to run.

They are well-known for their constant desire to explore. It makes Buttercup chickens quite entertaining to watch and hard to contain at the same time.

Some strains are wild, while others are friendly and docile. 

They aren’t aggressive chickens, but they aren’t the nicest either. Although roosters of any breed are assumed to be hostile, roosters have been described as friendly.

If you raise them and spend a lot of time with them from a young age, there’s a chance they’ll be a lot nicer. Some people even raised them as house chickens. 

You don’t have to worry about their socialization skills as they can blend with the flock and get along with others. They’re not the bully type despite having a little wilder side. 

But these birds may not like being touched or held but others can have a sweet side too. 

Now that you know how this breed interacts with other members of the flock and owner let’s see how it performs in the egg-laying department. 

Sicilian Buttercup Chicken’s Egg Laying Capabilities

Buttercup chickens can produce around 2 to 4 small to medium-sized white eggs per week and approximately 180 eggs per year. Therefore they fall into the moderate to good layer category. 

Most Sicilian Buttercups reach their full maturity and start laying at 5 to 8 months of age, but others start producing as late as ten months. 

Sicilian Buttercup hens rarely go broody since they’re mainly developed for egg-laying.

The advantage is that you won’t have difficulty collecting Sicilian Buttercup chicken eggs. However, it can cause a little problem if you want them to reproduce and hatch Sicilian Buttercup chicks. 

Egg color:  White
Egg size:  Small-medium
Starts laying at 5-8 months old
Eggs produced/week:  2-4
Eggs produced/year:  Up to 180

 

Sicilian Buttercup Chicken Chicken Meat Production

Since this breed is petite, they’re not ideal for mass meat production.  

They’re better suited for egg production and ornamental chickens due to their visually-appealing plumage. But even though it’s not a chicken meat breed material, it will still do if you want to serve it on your table. 

Sicilian Buttercup Chicken’s Common Health Issues

Sicilian Buttercup chickens are healthy and not susceptible to any ailment or disease. So if taken care of properly, they can live around 5 to 8 years. 

Where to Find Sicilian Buttercup Chickens For Sale

Since this chicken breed is rare, you may have difficulty looking for them at local breeders in your area. But if you’re wondering where to buy Sicilian Buttercup chicks, try to check out the following poultry farms:

But before purchasing Sicilian Buttercup pullet and chicks, kindly look at our buying tips below to ensure you get the best quality of Buttercup. 

Choosing Quality Sicilian Buttercup Chicken

If you want to get an excellent Sicilian Buttercup chicken that can pass APA’s Standard of Perfection, you must pick one that has the following qualities:

  • Legs that are willow green in color
  • A comb that stands up straight, doesn’t flop over, and with no third row of points
  • Brilliant red buttercup comb
  • Feathers from its head down t the cape must be lustrous reddish-orange
  • The tail should be black with a green sheen
  • The hen must be golden buff with tiny points of black within the feathers

Caring Tips for Sicilian Buttercup Chicken

Here are some tips to keep in mind if you’re planning to raise a Sicilian Buttercup or add it to your existing flock.

Feeding and Nutrition

Your Sicilian Buttercup’s egg production performance will depend on the chicken’s feed and nutrition. So, providing these chickens with quality food containing enough vitamins and minerals like calcium for eggshell creation would be best. 

Giving them vegetables can also help them stay in shape and lower the mortality rate. 

Housing and Fencing

1. Provide a secure home

They’re heat-hardy and can survive chilly weather, but they’re not cold-hardy. Extreme coldness can give Sicilian Buttercup painful frostbites. 

Therefore, you must ensure they have a comfortable chicken coop and provide them with the needed heat when winter comes. 

We recommend fitting a decent ventilation system to ensure good airflow and make it easily accessible to make cleaning easy. 

2. Build tall fences

Since Sicilian Buttercup chickens are flighty and hate confinement, they’ll always find a way to escape from the chicken coop. So, if you’re planning to purchase this breed, consider building tall chicken fences to keep them from escaping. 

3. Give them enough space

This breed is petite, but Buttercup chickens can still take some space, mainly because they love to roam. Giving them enough room can help appease them and fulfill their innate desire to explore. 

They need around 5 square feet of housing space in commercial production and will require more if you raise them for ornamental purposes or as pets. 

Breeding

Sicilian Buttercup chickens are naturally good breeders like other domestic birds. Keep a good hen to rooster ratio, and you won’t have difficulty breeding chickens and producing fertile eggs.

As a rule of thumb, keep one healthy rooster for around ten hens or less. 

Is Sicilian Buttercup Chicken the Right Breed For You?

This breed may suit your needs if you want a petite, heat-hardy, active chicken with a stunning goldy appearance and good foraging skills. 

They’re perfect for the free-range system but to ensure that you’ll make the right decision, here are the pros and cons of Sicilian Buttercup that you should weigh. 

Sicilian Buttercup Chicken

Pros
  • Exquisite appearance
  • Unique buttercup comb
  • Active
  • Heat-hardy
  • Excellent forager
  • Suitable for free-range
  • Males and females vary in colors
  • Socializes well with other birds
Cons
  • Flighty
  • Intolerant to confinement
  • Noisy
  • Small eggs
  • Low egg production (compared to other breeds)
  • Petite

Alternative if You Can’t Find A Sicilian Buttercup Chicken

If you can’t find a Sicilian Buttercup chicken, consider getting a Golden Fayoumi. Both chickens share similar color and visual characteristics. 

Furthermore, Fayoumis feature a tight double comb that looks similar to Sicilian Buttercup’s crown. 

Both breeds are active and alert, so expect them to be busybodies. 

Another breed that sports gold and black plumage is the Golden Campine. This chicken can be as striking as Sicilian Buttercup. 

However, Golden Campine chickens are better egg layers. They can produce 200 medium-sized eggs or more per year. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Sicilian Buttercup Chicken

Are Sicilian Buttercups rare?

Yes, this breed is rare since its popularity was short-lived because it can’t compete well in the egg department.

However, thanks to the efforts of some committed breeders, it’s slowly gaining momentum again. It’s still on the Livestock Conservancy’s Conservation Priority List, but its status has leveled up from “threatened” to “watch”. 

Are Buttercup chickens friendly?

Sicilian Buttercup chickens are active birds that can be quite friendly to people when they’re adults. Roosters are sometimes gentle, but they can have aggressive tendencies too.

They may not be the most amiable breed but can still get along with other chickens when mixed in a flock. 

How long do Sicilian Buttercup chickens live?

This rare chicken breed can live around 5 to 8 years if they’re living in excellent condition. But others can live longer when cared for properly. 

Generally, it’s a healthy breed with no known health problems. 

What color of the eggs does a Sicilian Buttercup lay?

Sicilian Buttercup chickens usually lay small white eggs about 2 to 4 weekly. They are moderate to good layers as they can produce up to 180 eggs a year. 

Their laying season starts at 5 to 8 months, but others may not start laying until their 10th month. 

Are Sicilian Buttercups Bantams?

There are Bantam Sicilian Buttercups, but they were only developed much later than the original fowl in the mid-1900s. 

And the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection accepted the miniaturized version in 1960.  

How big can Sicilian Buttercup chickens get?

Sicilian Buttercup breed’s average weight ranges from 4 to 5 pounds, but roosters can grow up to 6.5 pounds. 

On the other hand, bantam roosters average at 26 oz, while bantam hens usually weigh around 22 oz. 

Do Sicilian Buttercups go broody?

Buttercup hens rarely go broody. So you won’t have a hard time collecting their eggs. However, it can be challenging if you want them to hatch their eggs since they’re unlikely to do it. 

Sicilian Buttercup Chicken Breed Profile Summary

  • Color: Gold (hen), Red Orange hue (rooster)
  • Rooster: 6.5 pounds
  • Hen: 5 pounds
  • Bantam Rooster: 26 oz
  • Bantam Hen: 22 oz
  • Lifespan: 5 to 8 years
  • Temperament: Active, alert, flighty, busy explorers
  • Heat Tolerance: Exceptional
  • Cold Tolerance: Poor to Moderate
  • Noise Level: Moderate to High
  • Foraging skills: Good
  • Predator invasion skills: Good
  • Toleration for Confinement: Low
  • Level of Aggression Towards Flock Members: Low

Final Thoughts About Sicilian Buttercup Chickens

So, those are some of the most astonishing facts about the Sicilian buttercup chicken breed.

They may not be prolific egg layers and they may be tiny compared to other breeds, but they have their own charm. The unique features and striking plumage of this breed make it worth adding to your ornamental breed collection.

There’s no denying that they’re so much more than just their physical beauty. Despite having a skittish, active, and flighty nature, Sicilian Buttercup hens and roosters can have a sweet side too.

But if you want a prolific egg layer with beautiful plumage and remarkable brown eggs, check out this next breed because it won’t disappoint.

READ NEXT: Bovans Brown Chicken Breed: Everything You Need to Know

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