Swedish Flower Hen: Complete Breed Profile

Swedish Flower Hen Complete Breed Profile Blog Cover

A hen with such a pretty sounding name has to be special – and the Swedish Flower Hens (Skånsk Blommehöna) is certainly that. The name translates as ‘Skane Bloom-hen’; very appropriate since the feathers remind you of flowers.

It was relatively unknown outside of its’ native land of Sweden until 2010 when a few were imported to the US.

Even in its’ own country, it was virtually unknown until the 1980s when its’ plight came to the attention of Swedish preservationists as it was teetering on the brink of extinction.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about the Swedish Flower Hen including its temperament, egg laying ability, known health concerns and much more…

History and Background

Swedish Flower HenThe Swedish Flower hen has the distinction of being a landrace chicken. Landrace birds were not ‘engineered’ by mankind but rather adapted naturally to the environment in which they lived. The weak did not survive (Darwin’s principle at work).

They evolved to become very adept at survival in the sometimes harsh climate of southern Sweden and became the traditional farm hen of that region.

Although its origins can only be guessed at, it is likely that seafarers’ and settlers brought chickens to remote settlements in trade for other things and also as a food source.

It has been written about at least 300 years ago in various documents from that period.

They would have contributed eggs and meat to the farmer and the feathers were used to fill comforters, it’s unlikely that they were cared for as livestock. They would have fended for themselves and did a fine job of it too.

As with many older breeds, the rise of the industrial hen almost saw the extinction of this lovely, hardy bird.

By the 1970s’ very few were left in Sweden.  A few isolated flocks were found and a restoration and breeding plan was put into place by the Swedish Genetic Project.

The object of the Project is to raise the awareness and numbers of this endangered species and to preserve their status as a heritage hen.

Swedish Flower Hen Purchase Swedish Flower Chickens

Appearance of Swedish Flower Hens

The original flocks were found in three areas:

  • Vomb: crested fowl were found.
  • Esarp and the Tofta: Non-crested fowl were located.

As you may infer from the fact that there are crested and non-crested birds, the appearance of the hen can vary tremendously from one bird to the next.

In fact, several people who keep them enjoy the diversity of the breed – a mixed assortment if you will.

The base colors can range from black, blue, yellow and reds. The feather pattern is mille fleur (thousand flowers), the feathers are white tipped. The combinations are many and varied – black/white; white/red and a pattern similar to the Speckled Sussex hen.

The rarest coloration pattern is called ‘Snow Leopard’. Some of the white tips are replaced by black tips giving an overall picture of gold/white/black markings named after the rare Snow Leopard.

I find that words are inadequate to describe the sheer variety of colors as seen in this particular breed.

Birds can be crested, tasseled or not, depending on the line of birds you have.

Wattles, single comb and ear lobes are all red, eyes are orange/yellow in color.

The body is described as round and robust, a medium sized bird with the roosters weighing around 8lb, and the hens 5 ½ lb.

The skin can be yellow or black mottled in color, with legs being clean and light tan in color. Chicks’ legs can be a pink or grey color.

Breed Standard

The Swedish Flower hen has never been bred to any written ‘standard’ therefore there is no standard for this chicken as yet.

There are breeders working towards a standard, but you have to wonder what that standard will be and how it will affect the current diversity of coloration.

Temperament and Egg Laying

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The Swedish Flower hen is said to be a confident, calm and poised bird. It can function well independently when foraging for food and is friendly towards the flock keeper, especially if treats are forthcoming.

Even the roosters are said to be non-aggressive although they can crow quite loudly, so close neighbors might be annoyed.

The bird is hardy to a wide range of temperatures. Its’ homeland temperatures range from just below 32°F to around 70°F. The Swedish Flower hen loves to free range, is predator savvy and enjoys its independence, although they do tolerate confinement. They are curious about their surroundings and enjoy investigating new things.

They are also described as quick learners and very smart birds.

Egg Laying

These hens will lay in the region of 150-200 eggs per year. Eggs start small, but soon become large to extra-large in size. The egg color is a light beige tint.

The hens make good mothers when allowed to be broody, but are not known to be obsessively broody. Approximately 1/3 of hens will go broody if allowed.

In fact, the disinterest in going broody may have been partially responsible for the decline in their numbers.

Chicks are fairly quick to mature and the chicken itself is a long lived bird, 10 years old not being unheard of.

Is The Swedish Flower Hen Right For You?

The Swedish Flower Hen is certainly beautiful to look at and comes in a wide variety of colors.

The hens produce a decent amount of eggs per week. As a dual purpose hen the bird will dress out to a respectable weight. They are a non-aggressive breed, friendly and quite social, so acceptable for children. As they are not recognized as a breed, exhibition would be solely for the purpose of breed recognition at this time.

They would make a good project bird for young farmers or first-timers since they are more or less problem free and can function well independently of the keeper if allowed.

Also they are super healthy. No disease or common health problems have been noted for this breed. As always, be on the lookout for ecto-parasites.

Summary

Swedish Flower Hens are popular right now thanks to a few enterprising hatcheries who are trying to get the breed accepted as a suitable backyard hen.

Prices can vary tremendously with this bird, anywhere from $10.00-30.00. As with all things – buyer beware of the cheap deals.

They seem to be capable of being quite independent, although several sources say they seek out human company and are friendly to their keepers.

Do you have Swedish Flower Hens? If so, tell us about them in the comments section below…

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Comments

  1. Brenda says

    I have 2 yellow Swedish Flower Hens. They don’t appear to have the flowery mixure of features, but are rather just more yellow.

    Paid $30 each at a hatchery in Gold Beach, OR, near my home. It was the most ever paid for a hen by me, but it was a new breed for me at the time. (1 1/2 yrs ago) Everything said in the article matches my experience. They have no negative qualities; peaceful, friendly, good layers, etc.

    I also have Buff Orpington, Lace Wyandotte, Indian Runner, Barred Rock, Aumericana, White Leghorn, and a few Bantams. Highly recommend the Flower Hens, even in spite of the higher price paid. Well worth it. And hopefully, it is nice to know they may live for 10 yrs. We shall see.

  2. Annette Asbill says

    Do you have the Swedish flower hens? I’m interested in purchasing. Also, I’m looking for blue favorolles.

  3. Juliet M. Ramos says

    This is a very good reading on chickens of special qualities. Learning more about chickens and its origin will help us to understand more and care for them.

    Thank you for sharing.

  4. Jodi says

    I have a Swedish Flower Hen (Elsa) along with 2 Black Australorps and 2 Easter Eggers. They are 15 weeks old. They are all very sweet birds, but Elsa is the leader of the group. She is extremely smart and very curious about anyone who comes to visit. I can’t wait until she starts laying eggs-she is just now starting to get a little comb. She is a very pretty blue/gray color and just starting to get those white feather tips.

  5. Rachel says

    I have one Swedish Flower Hen pullet named Lena among several other hens and pullets (9 total.) She is by far the smartest of my five pullets. She was the first to learn how to come whenever called (treat driven,) and she is the friendliest of the bunch to me as the flock keeper. While she doesn’t look for trouble, she is certainly courageous when dealing with the four older hens. She has pretty coloring, primarily black with a white belly and face, and brown and white spotting. She moves in a jerkier fashion than some of my other girls which makes her fun to watch. I think I paid about $20 for her as a chick, and I don’t regret it. She’s been a fun addition to my little flock.

  6. Patty Wise says

    I purchased five one-day-old chicks, one of which is a Swedish Flower. Imagine my surprise when our Fleur started growing a “top knot” when her little comb started to appear! Her feathers are a lovely combination of brown, tans and chocolate with splashes of white. She has beautiful yellow legs and big feet. Fleur is so comical…when she runs to me, her puff ball helmet of feathers bounces up and down as she rocks back and forth on her long legs. Her personality is calm, gentle and inquisitive.
    Sometimes she is the leader of our little flock while other times she’s a follower. Fleur is such a joy.

    • Pamela Pickens says

      Hello! Patty,
      Your Fleur sounds just like my three Flower hens especially my little favorite Matcha. She has always been Mama’s baby since arriving as a two day old chick from Meyer Hatchery. Their little chicken run is the cutest on their exceptionally long yellow legs. They are so sweet and smart. I got nine chicks of three breeds at the same time but the hens lead the flock and Poppie another one and Matcha go back and forth with Verbena being the leaders of the flock. They are now 20 weeks but not yet laying. I guess it will be another month if I am lucky to have eggs at all this winter. I love my Black Orpingtons and my Cream Legbars too but the Flower hens are always going to be my favorites. Verbena is the watchdog of the flock. She thinks she is a dog I think and does bite. Me included a few times. I think it’s because they were raised in the house with our two small dogs! Lol they have never hurt the chicks. It’s the other way around. The chicks have pecked them and poked them and everything else. The dogs give them a wide berth and watch over them like good girls. But Verbena I believe thinks she is a male Turkey sometimes and even runs like one to get after the dogs, frequent passing cats or squirrels whatever and even the other chicks if she is into it with them but Poppie has her number. Well I just love my SFH. I hope you continue to enjoy yours for many healthy happy years. Take care!
      Pam

  7. Sandy Curran says

    We had a Swedish Flower rooster named Jack. He was very sweet and cared for his flock of 25 very well. Jack died protecting his girls from a coyote last year. We miss him very much and are getting another day old rooster in the spring.

    • Pamela Pickens says

      Aw. I’m so sorry. Coyotes and raccoons are prevalent here also. So much that our girls could never safely free range. They have a large coop and run though and they can fly high in it to keep in practice if needed to get to safety if needed. I hope you don’t lose another precious chicken to predators ever. Good luck with your new boy.

  8. Brittinie says

    I hatched 3 Swedish Flower Hens. About 3.5 months old now and very calm but curious. Beautiful birds. 2 are crested 1 not. Highly recommend them.

  9. Fred says

    Everything you said in the article and then some.
    They are friendly birds and the rooster will eat out of my hand. They lay large eggs. I would recommend them to anyone.

  10. Gregory Seay says

    We have just purchased the Swedish Flower and cannot wait until they become so tame as to eat from our hands..they have great temperament and we are watching them so that we can name them according to their color and temperament

  11. Kim says

    I have a flock of 30 Swedish Flowers and I love them. What initially interested me was the variety of color from chick to chick. I have hatched some earlier this month and have another batch hatching today. I can’t wait to see what colors come from the new hatch.

    • Pamela Pickens says

      Oh Kim! I can’t imagine looking out and seeing a flock of over 30+ SFH daily! That would be awesome to see! They are such a beautiful site to see. I just have three and I think my three with their variety is something to see because they are such gorgeous healthy birds and they are only 20 weeks old. They are sisters and very close to one another and you can see it in how they spat but never really fight seriously even doing their pecking order stuff. They are all three at the top and leaders of my small flock of nine. I have three black lavender Orpingtons and three Cream Legbars which are kind of dark also and the SFH break up the background and its very pretty I think. The big black Orpingtons are about a pound or two larger but they are not in control and the Legbars are much more docile as well. Good luck with your huge flock of beauties. I am so envious. You should sell tickets to that show!

  12. Darren A Hanson says

    I have 2 Swedish roosters and 1 hen. The oldest rooster and the hen are actually quite aggressive. Although, I hear they are not. She does not like the other breed of hens I have and constantly pecking at them. The older rooster is very aggressive towards all the birds on my farm and the young rooster; well, hes just a loner and none of the females will have anything to do with him. None of them are friendly towards people, so I dont know where this site got its statistics from?

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Temperament as a breed is not always what is observed because of the environment the chickens are in. The first question that comes to mind is how were they introduced, because of the inherit pecking order it sounds like the aggression is coming from rejection or isolation.

      Claire

    • Caroline says

      I also have an aggressive Swedish Flower hen (about 1 year old). I try to remember I’m the third ‘owner’ of her .. I know the 2nd ‘owner’ and they were good to her, but called her Spaz. She is definitely a funny bird! My most curious chicken (I have 1 rooster and 13 hens) by far and very independent. (Miss) Flower, as I call her, is scrappy. She’s been getting broody lately and sitting on the other chickens while they lay eggs.. because ‘that’s her egg!’ .. ?? .. it doesn’t seem to matter that the egg is still inside the other chicken.. it’s hers. She also pecks a LOT at my other hens. Flower is beautiful .. a reddish brown bird with a crested white mohawk on her mid to lower back. It’s good to know as a breed they are not aggressive, as I enjoy her antics and maybe in time she’ll calm down. We’ll see. ?

  13. Jeri Kramer says

    I am part Swedish and would love to get Swedish Flower hens. I live in central Texas.

    Would these hens do well in our triple digit summers?

    • Neely says

      I’m in Northeast Texas, I have Svart Hona and Swedish flowers, both breeds seem to do fine in the Texas extreme heat.

  14. Lisa says

    I obtained a “retired” Swedish Flower Hen rooster. Thor was part of the SFH breeding program. He is an attentive & thorough protector of my hens. Great temperament & absolutely beautiful! I free range on our 13 acres of mostly wooded lake property. When the weather is nice he leads the hens on field trips and is ever vigilant for danger! ?. I got him for free but drove 120 mi round trip to get him. Well worth the time!

  15. Suzanne says

    In this bit here you have an extra apostrophe. An apostrophe is not needed as the word already carries the idea of possession, just as we don’t use them in the words ‘his’, ‘hers’, or ‘theirs’.

    “The bird is hardy to a wide range of temperatures. Its’ homeland temperatures range from just below 32°F to around 70°F. “

  16. Erika Hunneman says

    I got 8 flower hen eggs and five of them hatched. How do you tell the difference between male and female in these kind of chicks?

  17. DP says

    How early does a Swedish Flower chick (pullet?) start to crow? We have 4 chicks and one of them is making a distinct roo like sound but is only about 7 weeks old!

  18. Brittany says

    Where did you find your hens?! I have been looking now for a while and cannot seem to find breeders. ALso looking for icelandics

  19. Tracy says

    My wonderful Wizzygig (an Ameraucana) went broody for the sixth time since March so I threw my arms up in the air and contacted a breeder who had a small flock of Swedish Flowers. I had never heard about this breed until I a came across your article. As of yesterday, Wizzygig is the proud Momma of 4 baby Swedish Flowers. The chicks are bright, sweet, and extremely fast, zipping all-around inside their brooder. I am so excited because each one of the chicks are completely different in their coloration! Thank you for your article…I am so excited!!!

  20. Carmen says

    I bought my Swedish flower hens from a relative and got them just for me, just for pets! they have so much personality! they’re all that you said and more. The rooster, Millie, is a very protective rooster. He’s not mean but then, you’ve go trouble if one of them cackles too loud! He really keeps watches out for them when they’re out in the yard. The hens are really laid back!

  21. Rachel says

    We have two! Paid $10 to the breeder in Alaska and they are just the friendliest birds. They run right up to me when I go outside and are the only two that will stare our dogs down when they’re trying to bother them in their coop.
    They are happy to have us hold them, and even let me daughters pet them. We love our Swedish “Followers” (as we aptly nickname them because they follow me everywhere).

  22. Ramona Patterson says

    I purchased my SFH chicks in April and have had so much fun with them! I’ve always has Auracana hens which are awesome but these girls are exactly as you describe. They come running up to me every time I go into the yard and one of the 3 likes to be held. They are fun to watch as they run around the yard and check every little thing out! We were just blessed with a tiny beige egg from each (one each day) and look forward to the eggs getting larger. I am so grateful to have picked out such beautiful hens who provide so much entertainment! They are each a different color. Lana is light gray with black, Lucy is reddish brown and Lola is a beautiful black with white flowers. I really appreciate being able to find info on your site!

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