Wondering which chicken breed is right for you? Our chicken breed guide will help you decide! This time, we’re looking at Hamburghs, which are handsome birds laying plenty of white eggs

Overview/Summary of the Hamburgh chicken
A breed known for its handsome appearance and good laying capacity, the Hamburgh (or Hamburg) isn’t quite what you would expect in terms of its name. The preserve of the exhibition scene these days, they still make an attractive addition to any flock.

Origins of the Hamburgh
Despite its name, the Hamburgh has no traceable connection with the German city. In fact, the true origin of the Hamburgh is quite the mystery. They are a beautiful breed that lays well and they have a history that can be traced back 300 years to the pubs and hostels of Yorkshire and Lancashire where the quality of one’s Pheasant fowl and Moonies, as they were known, were a source of competition.

Physical features of the Hamburgh
Hamburghs are officially classed as a light breed and they are one of the smaller large fowl, making them quite capable of short flight. Coming in five different plumage types, they are lively and active characters who thrive when allowed to free range.

  • Hens: The Hamburgh hen weighs 4lb (1.80kg) and sports a medium rose comb with a short leader. Spritely in appearance, this lightweight country fowl lays well, but is rarely known to go broody. As with a number of the layer breeds, bantam versions are available. These obviously lay a smaller egg, although their productivity is comparable with their larger counterparts.
  • Cocks: The Hamburgh cock is bigger and more upright than the hen and weighs around 5lb (2.7kg). He is lightweight and jaunty in appearance with a full rose comb and a reasonable length leader. Both sexes have dark red eyes and featherless legs. Unlike some of the layers breeds, the Hamburg has no real table qualities.
  • Eggs: The eggs of the Hamburgh are white like many of the good laying breeds. Some strains are still capable of prolific egg production so, if this is an important characteristic of your breed selection, be sure to source your stock carefully.

Hamburgh temperament
The Hamburgh is an alert and wary breed that does not tame easily. They do, however, recognise the difference between their keeper and strangers and so will engage and respond with caution to the patient handler.

Caring for Hamburgh chickens
Hamburghs are hardy birds that require stimulation and are not suited to containment in a small run. Roofing is recommended if the intention is to contain them within a suitable enclosed space as they will push beyond any boundary eager to range and explore.

Hamburgh availability
Hamburghs have a long and illustrious history among poultry keepers of old, but they are becoming increasingly difficult to find in some areas of the UK. Show specimens can exchange hands for good money, although prices can be much more reasonable for those who won’t make the standard of the show bench.

Image(s) provided by:

Getty Images/iStockphoto