Blue Splash Marans and Jubilee Orpington Chickens Add Flair to Your Flock
Swedish Flower Hens and Mille Fleur d'Uccle Bantams add mottled beauty to your chicken yard.
Reading Time: 4 minutes
Adding birds like Jubilee Orpington chickens and Blue Splash Marans can liven up a traditional chicken yard.
I’ve had chickens for more than 10 years, and I have kept many different breeds in that time. For the most part, my flock has consisted of the traditional, well-known breeds such as Barred Plymouth Rock, Black Australorp, Buff Orpington, Easter Egger, Rhode Island Red, Welsummer, and Wyandotte. These beautiful and enjoyable breeds are widely available at attractive prices at farm stores. I will always have several of these classic beauties in my flock. As much as I love all of these breeds, it’s also fun to add an extra flair to your flock. If you are willing to spend a few more dollars for some eye candy, here are some colorful and speckled breeds that I enjoy having in my flock, both for their beauty and fun personalities.
Blue Splash Marans
The Marans breed is well known as a layer of dark chocolate eggs. They are a heavy breed and are known for being quite hardy. The French varieties have feathered feet, which is an attractive feature as long as your climate and mud season don’t make them a nuisance for your chickens and your efforts to keep eggs clean. There are many beautiful color variations of this breed, and you’re likely familiar with two of the more common varieties: the Black Copper Marans and the Cuckoo Marans. If you haven’t heard about the Blue Splash Marans variety, I highly recommend this stunning beauty.
My Black Copper Marans have always been bold ladies that didn’t much care for human interaction. To my pleasant surprise, my Blue Splash Marans are very much the opposite and are among the most docile, friendly birds in my flock. They are calm and curious and are always the first in line for treats. The feather colors of the Blue Splash variety vary in the amount of blue and black. Some will have a strong splash pattern with darker blue and black feathers, while others may be primarily white with a lighter splash pattern. I find all of the splash varieties quite lovely, although the bold mix of white, blue, and black that one of my girls has is stunning.
Swedish Flower Hen
The Swedish Flower Hen is a “landrace,” meaning that humans did not intentionally create it through a breeding program to develop certain characteristics. Instead, it developed through natural selection as it adapted to the environment in which it lived. It is a medium-sized bird that lays a light cream to light brown egg.
The feathers can vary considerably in base color, from black or blue to red or yellow, but the characteristic they all share is white polka dots or white tips on their feathers, giving the appearance of many flowers. This speckled flowery appearance leads to their name, which comes from their Swedish name meaning “Bloom Hen.” Because they have not been artificially selected for certain traits, they have a lot of genetic variation that makes them genetically and physically hardy. They have confident and independent personalities and are also quite curious and friendly. They are one of my new favorites!
Mille Fleur d’Uccle
Mille Fleur d’Uccle is a very showy-looking breed, and they are known for captivating the hearts of almost everyone who sees them. The feather coloring is a beautiful deep orange to red with black and white tips. Mille Fleur means “thousand flowers” in French, which is an apt name for them. This is a true bantam breed, meaning that there is no full-size counterpart. They have feathered feet and a full beard, further adding to their beauty. They are tiny, ranging from one to two pounds at maturity.
Mille Fleur d’Uccle Bantams are primarily kept for ornamental reasons or as pets rather than for egg production. They lay very small cream-colored eggs. Mille Fleur d’Uccle can be kept in a smaller coop and are generally easy to handle, making them suitable for kids or beginner chicken keepers. They will delight you with their fun personalities and endearing appearance.
The Buff Orpington has long been a flock favorite among chicken owners, and they are known for being big friendly birds that are fabulously fluffy. In addition to the popular buff coloring, several other rare plumage colors include the Jubilee Orpington: rich mahogany with black spangles and white tips. It was created to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. The coloring and speckled pattern are similar to that of the Speckled Sussex, but the Jubilee Orpington has a bigger body and rounder shape.
I have found the disposition of my Buff Orpingtons to be quite bossy and peckish, and they do not have the friendly personality that they are supposedly known for. However, my Jubilee Orpington is shy and docile. She started near the bottom of the pecking order but gained confidence and is now finding her place in the flock and on my lap. After feeling like I got the short end of the personality stick with my Buff Orpingtons, I’m quite pleased with this lesser-known of the Orpington varieties.
Stay tuned for the next issue of Backyard Poultry, in which I’ll discuss a few of the flighty Mediterranean breeds that add even more beauty and enjoyment to the flock.
Originally published in the December 2021/January 2022 issue of Backyard Poultry and regularly vetted for accuracy.