Isbar Chickens: Complete Breed Guide

Finding the ideal breed of chicken can be challenging, especially when there are so many breeds in existence. It is important to consider your goals when forming a productive flock. If you are looking for hens that lay plenty of eggs throughout the year, or if you want to add a bit of dazzle to the carton of eggs you sell, consider the Isbar chicken breed. This is a delightful breed of chicken that gives you beautiful green eyes throughout the year.

Wondering if the Isbar chicken is right for your farm or backyard? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know.

Isbar Chicken Breed Overview

Here are some facts on this impressive egg-laying breed:

Place of OriginSweden
PurposeEgg laying
Weight4.5-5.5 lbs
Feather ColorBlue, black, or splash
Lifespan5-10 years
Egg Production200-250 eggs per year
Egg ColorMinty or mossy green
Cold ToleranceHigh
Beginner-FriendlinessHigh

History of the Isbar Chicken

isbar baby chicks

Pronounced “ice bar,” the Isbar chicken hails from Sweden. During the 1950s and into the 1980s, a Catholic monk named Martin Silverudd started to develop this breed. His goal was to create an egg laying chicken that was hardy and easy to raise and came in a wide variety of colors. Presently, there are several kinds of Isbar chickens, including the imported Blue Isbar, also known as the Blue Silverudd. You can also find black and splash coloring.

Interestingly, Silverudd had hoped to create an auto-sexing breed, but only some of the colors are auto-sexed. Silverudd combined Rhode Island Reds, Cream Legbars, and New Hampshire Reds with the Australorps he raised on his farm. By combining the blue and brown egg genes, he was able to develop a chicken that lays distinctly colored green eggs.

Turns out, Silverudd is credited with developing many chicken breeding protocols that are still used to this day. In 2016, the Isbar breed’s name was officially changed to Silverudd’s Blue during a gathering of the Swedish Hen Cultural Association. Therefore, you will see Isbar chickens most often called Silverudd’s Blue or Blue Silverudd.

Furthermore, the Association wanted to clear up any misunderstandings caused by the name “Isbar,” as some people thought this breed had “barred” or striped feathers.

Isbar Chicken Appearance

The Isbar is a beautiful chicken that comes in a variety of colors. On average Isbar hens can weigh anywhere from 3.3 pounds to 4.5 pounds, while roosters can get as heavy as 5.5 pounds. They are single-crested, single-combed birds that come in blue, black, or splash coloring. As chicks, Black Isbars may have black down or black down that is spotted with white. As they mature, the white starts to disappear,leaving them with pure black plumage that has hints of green and teal iridescence.

The Silverudd Blue variation is the most lovely but also the most rare. Upon hatching, the chicks can range from light bluish gray to indigo. They may also have solid colors or lacing. Both sexes will have even blue coloring on most of their bodies when they are matured and a small trace of birch or yellow-ish features around the neck.

Splash Isbars are unique. They can be black, white, and gray or pure white mottled with buttery notes.

This video below gives you a good idea about the appearance of this gorgeous breed:

Procreation and Coloring

One side note that you must be aware of if you hope to hatch some Isbars of your own: These chickens do not breed true to their colors.Fascinatingly, the offspring tend to be lighter — either blue or splash. Black often breeds true.

This chart represents the different colors you may end up with when breeding two Isbars:

Parents | CrossBlue OffspringBlack OffspringSplash Offspring
Blue and Blue50%25%25%
Blue and Splash50%0%50%
Black and Blue50%50%0%
Black and Black0%100%0%
Black and Splash100%0%0%

Isbar Chicken Personality and Temperament

Do you want chickens that are friendly enough to be your companions? Then you will love the Isbar breed. These lovely birds want to be your pals. They are docile and even-tempered. Most of the time, they want to be with you rather than wandering around the yard. Because of the Isbar’s sweet personality, more and more people are seeking to add this new breed to their backyard or small farm flock.

When first hatched, the chicks can be a bit flighty, but they tend to socialize very quickly. If you spend a little time with them, you will form a bond. Adult Isbars are rarely aggressive towards humans and other birds. However, Isbar chickens are very protective of one another when a predator is present.

Though small in size compared to some other breeds, an Isbar rooster is vicious when defending his family. He will fiercely attack whatever threatens his hens and chicks. Strange humans may also come under scrutiny, but Isbar roosters generally tend to be considerate. Over-breeding is also rarely an issue, as Isbar roosters do not have a strong drive.

Isbars are excellent at foraging. They have a high amount of intelligence. Plus, they are great for backyards in suburban areas, because they are not very chatty. The roosters do like to crow once in a while, however.

Egg Production and Broodiness

Isbar hens are perfect for homesteaders who want a never-ending supply of eggs. A single Isbar hen can produce 4-5 eggs a week, averaging around 200-250 eggs per year. Not only that, but they lay green-tinted eggs with brown or black speckles, which are considered a novelty and may sell for a higher price than white or brown eggs. Despite being small in size, these chickens will lay large or extra large eggs. The only time you may get a smaller egg is when a pullet lays one. Those tend to be around 2/3 the size of an average Isbar egg.

Being that this breed was produced in Sweden, where winters are cold and long, they are very cold hardy. Therefore, most mature hens will not stop laying, even when there is snow on the ground.

There is an off chance that your hens may lay a tan egg. This is what happens when two brown egg genes are passed on instead of one blue and one brown gene. As per the standards of Silverudd Blue breeders, any chickens that lay tan eggs have to be weeded out to maintain the integrity of the green egg gene.

Lastly, do keep in mind that Isbar mothers tend to be broody. It can be a bit of a challenge gathering eggs from these hens, because they are a bit protective. When their chicks are hatched, the hens become disciplinarians. You may see them corralling their little ones or giving them pecks on the head when they act out of line.

Caring For Your Isbar Chickens

Now that you have learned about the appearance and temperament of this wonderful Swedish breed, let’s learn how to care for them.

Health Concerns

Although the Isbar chicken breed is generally healthy, there are some health conditions that you should know about. Some Isbar chickens are inbred and will suffer from immunosuppression. In other words, the immune system cannot function properly. The best way to avoid this problem is to get your chicks from a reputable breeder, preferably one that brings their chicks in directly from a Swedish bloodline.

Another issue is chronic respiratory disease, or CRD. You may see Isbar chickens sneezing and coughing. Again, this is sometimes caused by inbred-related immunosuppression. If you notice that your Isbar chicks or chickens are showing symptoms of CRD, get them to a veterinarian, as only antibiotics can help.

The third most common issue with Isbar chickens is salmonellosis. Since these chickens love to free roam, there is always a chance that they are exposed to bacteria. Sometimes, they come into contact with disease-carrying pests and contract salmonellosis. Signs and symptoms include poor appetite, diarrhea, excessive thirst, shut eyes, and lethargy or depression. You will need antibiotics to cure your chickens of salmonellosis.

Feeding

Being that the Isbar breed is self-sufficient, there is not much you have to worry about in terms of feeding. Do as you would normally do for other chicken breeds. Ensure they are getting a good chicken feed with about 16% protein. Supplement with fresh vegetables and fruits. Let them roam freely, picking up their own bugs and seeds and grit.

These are small birds, so they will not need to eat as much as a Jersey Giant.

Since Isbar chickens are susceptible to some common ills, you want to maintain a clean environment. Sweep up any leftover food to keep pests away. Sanitize their water containers at least once a  month to prevent bacteria from contaminating their drinking water. Do not let your Isbar chickens drink from anywhere but their designated source. Puddles, ponds, and other sources could make them very sick.

Habitat

In order to keep your Isbar chickens happy and healthy, it is important to give them plenty of space. These are very active birds who will not tolerate a cramped space very well. They need a large run. Try to keep other animals away from them, especially if you have an Isbar rooster or two running around. Even your cats and dogs could cause some stress, as the males are very protective of their flock.

In the coop, provide a number of roosts and nesting boxes. Isbar chickens tend to like sleeping higher up. Clean the coop of waste and broken eggs regularly.

They can adapt to a wide variety of environments, but these chickens do best in cooler areas. As such, make sure the coop is well-ventilated in the summer and provide them with enough shade.

Final Thoughts on Isbar Chickens

The Silverudd Blue or Isbar chicken breed is a phenomenal addition to any yard. Prolific egg layers and docile companions, they bring a lot of value to your flock. Plus, they are quite lovely to see in person. Whether you are a breeder, farmer, or simply love keeping chickens as pets, the Isbar breed is one choice you will regret.

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