Hamburg chicken

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Silver-Spangled Hamburg Sam dinner.jpg
A Silver-Spangled Hamburg cock
Conservation status Watch
Other names
Country of origin
  • Holland
  • United Kingdom
Standard NHDB (in Dutch)
Use eggs
Weight Male: 2–2.5 kg[1]
  Female: 1.6–1.8 kg[1]
Skin color White
Egg color White
Comb type Rose
APA Continental[2]
PCGB Soft feather: light[3]
Gallus gallus domesticus
Citron Spangled Hamburg bantam hen

The Hamburg, Dutch: Hollandse Hoen, German: Hamburger, is a breed of chicken which originated in Germany and Holland prior to 1700. The name may be spelt Hamburgh in the United Kingdom and in Australia.[4]

Appearance and behavior[edit]

It is a small breed or medium breed cocks weigh 2–2.5 kg and hens about 1.6–1.8 kg,[1] with slender legs and a neat rose comb. Ring size is 16 mm for cocks and 15 mm for hens. Eleven different colour varieties are recognised in Germany and Holland, including Silver Spangled, Golden Spangled, Golden Pencilled, Citron Pencilled, Silver Pencilled, White, Black and Citron Spangled;[5] six of these are included in the American standard of perfection.[2] Penciled breeds are smallest and self-coloured birds are largest. There are also Bantam Hamburgs.[1][6] Hamburgs are hardy, active, flighty birds, and are often jumpy around humans.


Hamburgs mature quickly and are considered good egg producers. Their eggs weigh about 50 g,[1] with glossy, white shells.

Famous Hamburgs[edit]

Lalia Phipps Boone argued in 1949 that Chauntecleer and Pertelote, the chickens in Chaucer's "Nun's Priest's Tale," are Golden Spangled Hamburgs.[7]

Perhaps the most famous devotee of the Hamburg chicken was L. Frank Baum, author of the Oz books. In 1880 he began a monthly trade journal, Hamburgs, and his first book, published in 1886, was on that subject: The Book of the Hamburgs: A Brief Treatise upon the Mating, Rearing, and Management of the Different Varieties of Hamburgs.

In Baum's third Oz book, Ozma of Oz, he introduces Dorothy Gale's chicken, Billina. He must have drawn on his experience in breeding Hamburgs when creating her character, as she is appropriately spirited and active.

Approximate weight[edit]

Cock 1.8 - 2.3 kg
Hen 1.8 kg
Cockerel 2 kg
Pullet 1.75 kg
Bantam Variety Hamburgh
Rooster 680 - 790g
Hen 620 - 740 g


  1. ^ a b c d e Hollandse Hoenders (in Dutch). Nederlandse Hoender en Dwerghoenderbond. Accessed August 2014.
  2. ^ a b APA Recognized Breeds and Varieties As of January 1, 2012. American Poultry Association. Accessed August 2014.
  3. ^ Breed Classification. Poultry Club of Great Britain. Accessed August 2014.
  4. ^ Australian Poultry Standards, 2nd Edition
  5. ^ Liste des races et variétés homologuée dans les pays EE (28.04.2013). Entente Européenne d’Aviculture et de Cuniculture. Accessed August 2014.
  6. ^ American Poultry Association (1998). The American Standard of Perfection. Petaluma, CA: Global Interprint. 
  7. ^ Lalia Phipps Boone, "Chauntecleer and Partlet Identified," Modern Language Notes 64 (1949): 78-81.
  • Green-Armytage, Stephen (2003) "Extraordinary Chickens", New York: Harry N. Abrams Publishers

External links[edit]