Sulmtaler

History

The Sulmtaler originates from the Sulm valley in Austria, which lies south/southwest of Graz. Tal means valley in Austrian. They are classed as a heavy breed and were bred for high quality fattening for use as meat birds. In the late 1800's, they were crossed with Cochin, Houdan and Dorkings, but were crossed back to the original bird from a local strain of Sulmtaler from Stiermarken. In 1900 they were classed as a breed in their own right and introduced to Britain, Germany and Holland. The Sulmtaler is a favourite amongst European chefs, renowned for the meat quality. Both males and females have a feathered head crest.

Behaviour

The Sulmtaler is a very hardy breed coping well with all weather conditions. It grows quickly and is very easy to fatten up, therefore it is best to allow them to free range, to prevent them getting too large and lazy. Even though they were originally bred for meat, the hens lay a reasonable number of cream coloured eggs; around 160 per year and of a decent size. Hens can be slow to start laying, but once they do, they lay consistently. Flocks are very friendly towards each other and squabbles are quite rare. They aren't aggressive, even when in a mixed flock. If they are to be confined to a run, it is important to give them plenty of space as they enjoy free ranging and are very good at it. Although they are sometimes described as flighty, if handled often they become friendly, docile birds, which can become very tame indeed.

Varieties

White, Gold duckwing, gold wheaten, silver wheaten, Blue wheaten.

Status

Fairly common

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