Monday, May 16, 2011

Appenzeller Spitzhauben








From the slopes of the Swiss Alps comes a very hardy little chicken with a rather unique look, the Appenzeller Spitzhauben.  It was bred in the 15th Century to survive the harsh mountainous environments of isolated monasteries whose communities required a breed that could fend for itself quite well – foraging along the rocky slopes; be a fairly productive layer as well as a tasty table bird; and be able to survive the harsh climate without too much difficulty – no large combs or wattles to freeze.


Madonna del Sasso Monastery, Switzerland
Photo Source: Places Pack

The Appenzeller Spitzhauben is ideally suited to life in the mountains as they are excellent climbers especially on steep rocky ground and can fly well, often making nests and roosting in trees.  They are even known to have stayed in the trees throughout winter.  

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Gold Spangled Flock Roosting with Unknown


They are active foragers, constantly being on the move scratching the rocky ground for insects and tidbits of greens.  Hens are early layers capable of producing plenty of medium-size white eggs on very little food thus making them ideally suited for free range systems.

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Silver Spangled Flock
Photo Source:  Manuela Silvestro

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Gold Spangled Flock
Photo Source: Förderverein Schweizer Kleintierrassen



They are often said to be a “flighty” bird, nervous and high-strung but in fact they settle well with regular handling and contact. Appenzellers are intelligent and do prefer very little interference.   They are as independent as chickens can be. If confined, Appenzellers need a very high fence or a covered pen, since they are known to be able to fly very well. 

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Silver Spangled Flock in Covered Run
Photo Source:

Appenzeller Spitzhuaben - Silver Spangled Flock
Photo Source:  French Poultry Forum

Appenzeller Spitzhuaben - Black Flock
Photo Source:  French Poultry Forum

Appenzeller Spitzhuaben - Gold Spangled Pair
Photo Source:  French Poultry Forum







The head of the Spitzhauben is what gives it its unique look. It is of medium size, held high, with a pointed crest bent forward similar to the traditional hats the ladies in the Appenzell region wear, thus the name Spitzhauben, German for “pointed hoods”. 



Photo Source:  Manuela Silvestro

Photo Source:  Manuela Silvestro




Women in the Traditional Costume of Appenzell, Switzerland
Photo Courtesy:  Swiss World



Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Close Up of Silver Spangled Hen
 Photo Source:  Manuela Silvestro


Both male and female Spitzhaubens have an almost walnut-shaped, rounded body. Their breasts are full and carried rather high, like a soldier when at attention. Backs are of medium length - males slightly sloping while females almost horizontal. The Spitzhauben’s wings are rather long and are carried close in to its body; tails rather full, well-spread and carried at right angles to the back.  The wattles are moderately long, yet thin; the white earlobes are of a medium oval size. The birds have strong beaks with a small fleshy knob at the front.  They have large, cavernous nostrils and prominent brown eyes that always seem very alert. The comb is almost like a horn consisting of two small rounded spikes, separate and without any side sprigs.

Photo Source:  Manuela Silvestro

Photo Source:  Manuela Silvestro

Photo Source:  Manuela Silvestro

Photo Source:  Manuela Silvestro


History of the Appenzeller Spitzhauben

Although there are no exact records for its creation, it is widely believed that the Spitzhauben came about as a result of crossings of Brabanter, La Flèche and Crèvecoeur. 

Brabanter
Crèvecoeur

La Flèche - Head Shot
Photo Source:  Unknown



Also mentioned is the possibility of a Russian crested breed used instead of - or with - the Brabanter.  This would probably have been the Pavlovski, a very old crested breed greatly resembling a Brabanter, but having feathered legs. 

Pavlovski
Photo Source: www.komovdvor.spb.ru 

Pavlovski
Photo Source: www.komovdvor.spb.ru

The Pavloski are probably the ancestors of the Brabanter, Sultan and Spitzhauben breeds as it is documented to be much older and exported from Russia prior to the development of the aforementioned breeds. Unfortunately, we will probably never know as the Pavloski was rare and then basically wiped out during the Russian Revolution and subsequent wars.*

“Abosin in 1895 said: "Pavloski chickens are currently extremely rare. This breed undoubtedly will disappear and probably soon be completely removed from the list of modern breeds of domestic chickens." - Translated from www.komovdvor.spb.ru
Pavlovski
Photo Source: www.komovdvor.spb.ru
  
Also it is interesting to note the following:

Bruno Dyurengen in his "Poultry" in 1886: "If we compare what they write about these crested chickens - the old writers, data researcher Pallas - you will recognize the native Russian breed (old) crested chickens and they are simiar with all those features that are inherent in our current Sultan (Turkey), Padua (Brabanter) and Holland (Poland), with the only difference is that now we do not recognize the Brabanter (Padua), with feathered legs. But before they had feathered legs in Germany … " - Translated from www.komovdvor.spb.ru
Pavlovski
Photo Source: www.komovdvor.spb.ru
 "... researcher Pallas knew that at the time when he traveled to Europe and the Asian part of Russia from 1768 to 1773 - these domestic chickens were already in those countries: namely - silver / white and black-colored / with feathered legs and a golden / yellow and painted black.
 Continuing this theme, Bruno Dyurengen in 1906, in his new book, wrote: "As the actual source or mother of the current breed of crested breeds of chickens, considering crested hens with beards, and feathered legs, and its homeland Russia, where [these features] were developed as a means of protection from the harsh climate. … Prominent scholars of this species share this opinion, which confirmed my latest observations in Russia. This is an old Russian chicken, which for hundreds of years is considered to be in Russia and found there yet with all the intended features and colors that we find in our current Sultans, Brabanter and Padua (Polish) chickens." - Translated from www.komovdvor.spb.ru 


Pavlovski
Photo Source: www.komovdvor.spb.ru

Pavlovski
Photo Source: www.komovdvor.spb.ru


At first, Spitzhaubens- at that time known "Gässerschnäpfli" or "Tschüpperli” - were kept only by the religious orders; commoners were not given the pleasure of having them. By the mid 16th century, the breed was in the hands of the common farmers and they had spread throughout most of the areas that make up today’s Switzerland. Throughout the wars and upheavels of the 16th and 17th centuries, the Spitzhauben remained primarily a bird of Switzerland, very few – if any – raised outside of the Federation’s cantons.

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Silver Spangled Flock
Photo Source:  Manuela Silvestro

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Silver Spangled Flock
Photo Source:  Unknown


By the 19th century the Spitzhauben had practically become extinct.  A small number of birds were discovered in the Cantons of Appenzell  and a small breeding effort began.  The breed pretty much stayed within the Appenzell Cantons and it was not until the latter part of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th Century that the breed became known as the Appenzeller Spitzhauban.  Up to this time, they had been known as "Gässerschnäpfli" or "Tschüpperli” or “Tyrolerhühner”.

The breed flourished for a few years, but after World War II, the numbers declined so drastically that they almost disappeared for good.
In 1953, Kurt Fischer, a German poultry fancier, imported to Germany Spitzhaubens representing the three colour varieties that remained. 


Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Gold Spangled Cock
Photo Source: Kippen Encyclopedie

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Gold Spangled Hen
Photo Source: Kippen Encyclopedie

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Silver Spangled Cock
Photo Source: Kippen Encyclopedie

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Silver Spangled Hen
Photo Source: Kippen Encyclopedie

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Black Cock
Photo Source: Kippen Encyclopedie


Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Black Hen
Photo Source: Kippen Encyclopedie


Mr. Fischer ensured that the Appenzeller Spitzauaben varieties were included in the German Poultry Standards, thus preventing the breed’s loss to the Poultry World.  Through dedication and hard work, the breed was revived and colours re-created.  German breeders are credited with the creation of the Blue and Chamois Spangled colour varieties Spitzhaubens


Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Blue Cock
Photo Source: Kippen Encyclopedie


Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Blue Hen
Photo Source: Kippen Encyclopedie




Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Chamois Spangled Cock
Photo Source: Kippen Encyclopedie


Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Chamois Spangled Hen
Photo Source: Kippen Encyclopedie



The Dutch are credited with creating the Barred and the Lemon Spangled colour varieties.


Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Citron Spangled Hen
Photo Source: Kippen Encyclopedie
Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Barred Hen
Photo Source: Förderverein Schweizer Kleintierrassen


Originally the Spitzhaubens could be found in ten colour varieties, but today the majority are mainly found in two colours, Golden Spangled and Silver Spangled.  However, Black, Blue, self-Gold, White, Chamois Spangled and Barred do exist in Europe, but in North America only one, the Silver Spangled, is found. 

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - White Cock
Photo Source: Huhner Forum

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - White Hen
Photo Source: French Poultry Forum

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - White Flock
Photo Source: French Poultry Forum


Hopefully, with the interest in Rare Breeds, more varieties of the Spitzhauben will make their way across the pond and North Americans will be treated to the colour varieties of this breed.


Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Silver Spangled Cock
Photo Source:  Manuela Silvestro

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Chamois Spangled Cock
Photo Source:  Manuela Silvestro


Appenzeller Spitzhaubens were not found in Britain until the early 1970's when Mrs. Pamela Jackson imported hatching eggs from Switzerland.  In 1978, the "Appenzeller Breed Society" was formed catering to both the Appenzeller Spitzhauben and the Appenzeller Barthühner, a separate breed not to be confused with the Spitzhaubens.  

Appenzeller Barthühner Pair
Photo Source: Unknown
Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Silver Spangled Pair
Photo Source:  French Poultry Forum


Continual importation from mainland Europe through the years has not only broadened the gene pool but has also improved the quality and standard of British birds.  Currently, five colour varieties of the Spitzhauben are found in Britain – Gold Spangled and Silver Spangled being the most popular followed by the Blacks, Blues and Chamois Spangled.  

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Chamois Spangled Cock
Photo Source: Förderverein Schweizer Kleintierrassen 

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Chamois Spangled Cock
Photo Source: Förderverein Schweizer Kleintierrassen

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Chamois Spangled Hen
Photo Source: Förderverein Schweizer Kleintierrassen

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Chamois Spangled Flock
Photo Source: Förderverein Schweizer Kleintierrassen

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Blue Flock
Photo Source: Förderverein Schweizer Kleintierrassen

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Blue Cocks Squaring Off
Photo Source: Förderverein Schweizer Kleintierrassen

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Blue Cock
Photo Source: Unknown


Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Black Cock
Photo Source: Förderverein Schweizer Kleintierrassen

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Black Flock
Photo Source: Förderverein Schweizer Kleintierrassen


Unfortunately the Appenzeller Breed Society folded in 2001 even though interest in Spitzhaubens continues to grow, especially with the explosion of the back yard poultry movement. Beauty and productivity – what more could one ask of a breed!

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Silver Spangled Cock
Photo Source: Manuela Silvestro

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Silver Spangled Cock
Photo Source: Förderverein Schweizer Kleintierrassen

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Silver Spangled Flock
Photo Source: Förderverein Schweizer Kleintierrassen

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Silver Spangled Flock
Photo Source: Förderverein Schweizer Kleintierrassen

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Silver Spangled Chicks
Photo Source: Förderverein Schweizer Kleintierrassen 


British Standards for the Appenzeller Spitzhauben are as follows:

Silver Spangled

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Silver Spangled Cock
Photo Source: Manuela Silvestro

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Silver Spangled Hen
Photo Source: Manuela Silvestro

Male plumage: Pure silvery white ground colour, with each feather ending in distinct black, fairly small spangle, not circular, less pronounced on the head and neck. Primaries, secondaries and tail feathers, silvery white with black tips. Abdomen and fluff grey; undercolour dark grey.

Female plumage: Head, crest and the neck silvery white with black tipping. Breast, wing bows, back and tail silvery white with distinct black spangling. Flights as for the male. Undercolour dark grey.


Gold Spangled

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Gold Spangled Cock
Photo Source: Manuela Silvestro

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Gold Spangled Hen
Photo Source: Unknown


Male plumage: Gold-red ground colour, spangling as for the silver spangled. Flights; outer web golden yellow, inner web as black as possible. Breast and flanks gold with black spangles. Abdomen and undercolour greyish black. Tail as brown as possible with black tips, a blackish brown tail allowed.

Female plumage: Golden-yellow ground colour, tail golden-brown with black spangling. Otherwise as for the male, having regard to the necessary sexual differences.


Black

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Black Flock
Photo Source: Unknown

Male and female plumage: Shiny greenish-black with a dark grey to black undercolour.


Blue




Male plumage: Head, neck, saddle and wing-bows dark slate-blue. Remainder medium blue, free from mealiness, sandiness or bronze. Black splashes in the tail permissible. Undercolour grey-blue

Female plumage: Medium blue throughout, free from mealiness, sandiness or bronze, except head and neck which are a darker shade, but not so dark as in the male. Undercolour grey-blue.


Chamois Spangled

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Chamois Spangled Cock
Photo Source: Unknown

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Chamois Spangled Cock
Photo Source: Unknown


Male plumage: Golden-buff ground colour, with each feather ending in a distinct creamy-white, fairly small spangle, not circular; less pronounced on the head and neck. Flights; outer web golden-buff, inner web creamy-white. Breast and flanks golden-buff with creamy-white spangles. Abdomen and undercolour creamy-white. Tail as golden-buff as possible with creamy-white tips, a buff/white tail allowed.

Female plumage: Head, crest and neck golden-buff with creamy white tipping. Breast, wing bows, back and tail golden-buff with distinct creamy-white spangling. Flights as for the male. Undercolour creamy-white.

In both sexes and all colours
Beak bluish
Eyes dark brown
Comb, face and wattles bright red
Ear-lobes bluish-white
Shanks blue

Weights
Male          1.60 - 2.00kg (3.5 - 4.5 lb)
Female      1.35 - 1.60kg (3 - 3.5 lb)

Scale of points

Type and carriage
25
Colour and markings
25
Head points
25
Legs and feet
15
Condition
10

100

Serious Defects:
- Comb other than horn
- Side sprigs
- Narrow or roach back
- Squirrel tail
- Breast too deep or narrow
- Low wing carriage
- Tail lacking fullness
- Crow beak
- Nostrils not cavernous
- Bad stance
- Any sign of feathering on shanks
                                               - from www.appenzellerspitzhauben.co.uk


Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Silver Spangled Flock
Photo Source: Unknown

Photo Source:  Unknown

Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Silver Spangled Flock
Photo Source:



In Holland, Spitzhaubens are recognized in four colours: Silver Spangled, Gold Spangled, Lemon Spangled (a little different from the British Chamois Spangled) and Self-Black; although the Lemon Spangled and the Black are somewhat rare. The Dutch Standards speak of tipped or spangled feathering.  With the Spitzhauben, the markings are really in between tipped and spangled with the black tips at the end of each feather in the Spangled colour varieties not as prominent as those of the Spangled Hamburgs. The result of this smaller “tipping” or “spangling” is a lighter looking bird; not as black or dark looking which would be a fault. Tail feathers are also spangled.

Weights per the Dutch Standards are as follows:

Large Fowl                                               Bantams
haan
hen
haan
hen
1,5-1,8 kg
1,2-1,5 kg
700-800 gram
600- 700 gram




Appenzeller Spitzhauben - Silver Spangled Flock
Photo Source: Förderverein Schweizer Kleintierrassen





Appenzeller Spitzhaubens from the Appenzeller Europashow
November 2010 in Wapenveld The Netherlands 
(Photo Source: Herman van Olst  www.spitskuifkriel.nl)



















Bantam Appenzeller Spitzhaubens

Herman van Olst (www.spitskuifkriel.nl) , a Dutch breeder is credited with the development of the Bantam varieties. Starting around 1980, he began his breeding program with a crossing of Bantam Dutch Owlbeards (Uilebaardkrielen) with the Large fowl Spitzhauben.  This proved not to be a wise choice as resulting birds were larger than the Appenzeller itself.

The second attempt was a crossing using Dutch bantams and the results showed more possibilities.  For ten generations, Mr. van Olst
concentrated on attaining proper bantam size and an upright Spitzhauben-like crest.  The crest proved to be the hardest property to attain. In 2003, after more than 12 generations of crosses, Mr. van Olst achieved his goal.  At the 2003 NHDB show, his Silver Spangled bantams were recognized by the Dutch Poultry Standards and his Gold Spangled bantams recognized in 2004.








 Documentation as to when the first Spitzhauben arrived in North America has not yet been found.  If anyone knows the history of this breed in North America or knows of any sources which might shed some light on this, please contact Cameron at mcattack_ca@yahoo.com


*There is currently work going on in Russia to re-create the Pavloski through genetic tracing and other means.


I would like  to thank Manuela Silvestro for giving me permission to use so many of her photos.  She has a great site that is well worth viewing:

http://www.appenzeller-spitzhaube.com

Many thanks are also in order to Mr. Herman van Olst, the creator of the Bantam Appenzeller Spitzhauben.  Please take time to visit his website at:
http://www.spitskuifkriel.nl


I would also like to thank Dean Shuck for all of his help and for reminding me of the  Russian link in the history of the Spitzhauben. I apologize for any errors made in the translations, be they from Dutch, French, German or Russian.













9 comments:

  1. Best resource for Appenzeller Spitzhaubens I have ever seen. Wish we had more of these wonderful birds in the US.

    Carla Allen
    Texas, USA

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello,

    A message from the Netherlands. You have some pfoto's publiced from the website www.spitskuifkriel.nl. Pherhabs you can publiced the source.

    Robert Ellenkamp
    webmaster spitskuifkriel.nl

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great resource! We need much help with our Brabanters here in US.

    ReplyDelete
  4. We have 2 Silver Appenzellers, 14 weeks old, I really enjoyed reading your blog, great source of information.
    If you would like to know more about our hens, come and visit our blog - http://tuftyandwhitey.wordpress.com/
    Regards
    Clare

    ReplyDelete
  5. Please contact me as you are using my pictures with the Hookbilled duck information without my permission!
    I will grand you permission but do contact me first.

    Mariano Zamorano
    Nutztierarche Tripsrath- Germany
    Facebook: nutztierarche tripsrath
    Curator breeding programs for rare domestic Waterfowl breeds.
    Email: nutztierarche@t-online.de
    Phone:+49 2451 4844474

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love your blog. Thank you for telling me what kind of chickens I have(Old English Duck Wing Gamefowl). I have had them for about four years. Everyone around here calls them 'Gallo Giro'.
    Anyway, I love them. I have a blog about them It is mostly pictures. I update the blog everyday. Please, visit:
    http://ranchogiro.blogspot.com/
    I thank you in advance!
    Kwai Chang

    ReplyDelete
  7. Excellent information on the Appenzeller Spitzhaubens! You will have to update soon as we do have more colors than the Silver Spangled in North America now =) Again thank you for the blog.
    DeAnna Haase
    Oregon/USA

    ReplyDelete
  8. I also raise the silver spangled Appenzellars. I have chicks now! If any Appenzellar lovers would like to connect, visit my blog: http://lana88blog.blogspot.com I love these birds and would love to connect with others that love them also!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi..I m Münir GEZER. I m from Turkey and I am a Teacher.My Hoby is ornamental poultry.I want to buy 75 gold and light appenzeller spitshauben hen eggs that is ready to give birth.I will pay 1 euro for each.I can send the cost of eggs and transportation to your bank.I will be happy if you can help me.Thanks

    Münir GEZER
    05447345234
    Aygaz Bayii ivrindi
    BALIKESİR-TÜRKİYE

    ReplyDelete