Thursday, October 6, 2011


Greenfire Farms down in Florida is sending me some chickens this month, and I'm thrilled to ad the new blood to my coop. Next week a dozen Swedish Flower Chicks will arrive, but this week they sent up four young Isbar pullets. They arrived yesterday. They came to the place most of my mail comes: the office. While at my desk working on "spend £100 save £25" promotion I got an email from the mail staff that went like this.

Subject line: Your birds
email content: are here.

They are used to my shenanigans, and I love them for it.

So I scuttled up to the mail room to get my box of chickens. Inside were four wild looking beasts, like as if a pigeon and a hawk had a night in a cheap hotel room and left me the evidence. I brought them down to the truck and Tim took these photos of the new gals. Not sure if you are familiar with the breed, so here's what the GreenFire Farm's site says about them...

Every nation seems to harbor its share of backyard biologists and mad monks who are irresistibly drawn to tinker with the chicken genome in the quest for a more perfect bird. Sweden is no exception, and its monk –literally in this case—was Martin Silverudd, a Catholic monk who in the tradition of Gregor Mendel before him plumbed the depths of genetics and created a number of chicken breeds in the 1950s and 1960s. Silverudd had in mind the goal of creating auto-sexing breeds that laid a high volume of unusually colored eggs. (For a more detailed description of the auto-sexing function, please read the description of the cream legbar.)

To a remarkable degree Silverudd was successful in his quest and along the way created breeding protocols that would later be studied and adopted by sophisticated university geneticists and animal scientists. But, perhaps his greatest achievement was the creation of the isbar (pronounced ‘ice bar’), a breed as practical as it is beautiful and the only green-egg-laying single combed chicken breed in the world.

Father Silverudd created a number of fancifully named breeds including the fifty-five flowery hen, the Queen Silvia, the molilja, and, of course, the isbar. There are a few varieties of isbar, and Greenfire Farms was lucky enough to locate one of the last remaining flocks of blue isbars, the most spectacular variety of the breed. Probably fewer than a hundred blue isbars exist in the world; a tragedy given the beauty and usefulness of this variety. Roosters have shimmering metallic hackles that overlay deep blue body feathers. The hens are also striking with their blue feathers, and splash color patterns are common within the variety. Because of the genetics of the blue coloring, the auto-sexing feather patterns in chicks are not as pronounced (and may be altogether absent) when compared to other auto-sexing breeds like the cream legbar. The chicks produced by blue isbars can be blue, black, white, or splash. These cold-hardy birds are thrifty foragers that will produce 150-200 moss green eggs a year. Whether speckled or pure green, the isbar eggs are as fantastic and exotic as the birds themselves.

photos by


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am jealous...I love love crazy colored eggs! Make sure you post pics when they do start laying!

October 6, 2011 at 12:46 PM  
Blogger Deltaville Jamie said...

Lately I've been toying with the idea of chickens at my 1/2 acre rental home. Your posts aren't helping me stay on the rational "do I really need chickens and will it tick off my landlord" frame of mind. Today, I might just throw caution to the wind and look into procuring a coop.

October 6, 2011 at 1:15 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

They're really cute. Cant wait to see what they look like when they're grown.

October 6, 2011 at 1:34 PM  
Blogger Goat Song said...

Congrats! I've been thinking about getting some birds from Greenfire for awhile now.... Love the pics!

October 6, 2011 at 2:13 PM  
Blogger JeanineH said...

So jealous on the upcoming Swedish Flowers, my next chickens (currently Rhode Island Reds) will be either Swedish Flower or Chanteclers due to their cold hardiness and apparent laying ability year round ;)

Love the looks of the Swedish Flowers though.

October 6, 2011 at 3:09 PM  
Blogger Ngo Family Farm said...

I'm with Ashten, can't wait to see pics of those eggs!

October 6, 2011 at 3:55 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

I love the line about a hawk and a pigeon! They really are wild looking.

October 6, 2011 at 10:11 PM  
Blogger Loco Lindy said...

I can't wait to see the color of their eggs- moss green? We love having a variety of colors in our small flock.

October 7, 2011 at 9:31 AM  
Blogger Pit Stop Farm said...

Wow....4 Isbars worth $400 according to the Green Fire website. I would love to order some of their hens however, it appears as though most of their chicks sell for at least $100 each. I can't wait to see pics of their colored eggs!

October 7, 2011 at 1:13 PM  

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