Appenzeller (chicken)

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A Silver Spangled Appenzeller Spitzhauben trio: two cocks (at left) and a hen

The Appenzeller is a breed of chicken originating in Appenzell region of Switzerland. The Appenzeller comes in two varieties. The Spitzhauben, meaning "pointed hood" (which comes from the frilly hat worn by the women in the Appenzeller region in Switzerland. Brought to America by a doctor who successfully introduced the breed for the long term here.) has a V-comb and feather crests in males and females. The Barthuhner ("bearded hen") has a rose comb and no crest. Both types appear in either black, golden spangled and silver spangled plumage. They are mostly a show breed, but are decent egg layers.

Today the breed is largely an ornamental one kept for showing, but it lays also a respectable quantity of white eggs. It is a light chicken, with hens weighing an average of 3.5 lbs (1.6 kg) and roosters 4.5 lbs (2 kg). Behaviorally, it is an active breed that doesn't do well in tight confinement, can forage well, and will roost in trees if given the opportunity. In North America, it is very rare and is recognized officially by neither the American Poultry Association or other breed registries. The silver spangled Spitzhauben is the most common variety found abroad.

Though there is no standard in North America, the UK does recognize the breed and accepts it as a standardized breed. There is, however, a push in the United States for the Spitzhauben to be recognized by the American Poultry Association.


  • Ekarius, Carol (2007). Storey's Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds. 210 MAS MoCA Way, North Adams MA 01247: Storey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-58017-667-5. 
  • Graham, Chris (2006). Choosing and Keeping Chickens. 2-4 Heron Quays London E14 4JP: Octopus Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7938-0601-0. 

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