Lakenvelder Chickens - The Dutch/German Chicken with an ancient Jewish Past


(Photo:Livestock Conservancy website)

We have a new addition arriving at the farm soon, The Lakenvelder Chicken. The Lakenvelder is a small chicken that may have been developed in southern Holland just over the German border, There seems to be a dispute as to whether it was bred in Holland or Germany but we do know that its first appearance in a poultry show was in West Hanover in 1835. However the Livestock Conservancy states that "Around 2,000 BCE, there was an immigration of Indo-Aryan wise men who, upon arrival in Mesopotamia, became known as the Holy men of the Brahmaputra River, or Ah-Brahman. These men from the Indus Valley brought with them the first domestic chickens. Some of the Ah-Brahman settled in Palestine in the city of Armageddon (also known as Tel Megiddo) where they breed their fowl, valuing it primarily for the crow of the roosters and, later, for eggs. One of the first people groups to incorporate chicken eggs into baking were the Semites who created the bagel. Around 1 CE, Jewish immigrants to Holland and Germany brought with them their Tel Megiddo chickens. So it is then that the ancestors of the Lakenvelder chicken arrived in Europe."

The Lakenvender is classified as threatened on the Livestock Conservancy's priority list. During the height of it's popularity it was considered a good layer. Although it is small it is known for it's delicious meat. They are great foragers, very active and predator savvy but can be flighty. Also known as “Shadow on a Sheet,” Lakenvelder chickens are as beautiful as they are useful. In Dutch, their name translates to ‘white spread over a black field;” with “laken” meaning sheet and “veld” meaning field. For more information on this beautiful bird follow this link to the Livestock Conservancy's breed profile: https://livestockconservancy.org/heritage-breeds/heritage-breeds-list/lakenvelder-chicken/

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