13.02.2014 | Age: 9

Cappeln/GER: Vorwerk Chickens

At our Gestüt Vorwerk in Cappeln/GER there are now also Vorwerk chickens.

Fotos: Becker

Our veterinarian, Dr. Uschi Barth, discovered this breed of chicken that had been close to extinction for awhile and gave us five of them for Christmas - a rooster and four hens. 

The Vorwerk chickens are easily recognized by the unique, same markings that both sexes have: Beneath the velvet-like feathers around their neck, their feathers are a bright golden yellow all the way down to their deep black tails. Their legs and feet are slate blue and they have red faces and white ears.

In spite of what you might think with their name, Georg Vorwerk, the former owner of Gestüt Vorwerk and genius breeder of horses, cows, sheep and dogs, had nothing to do with these chickens. The Vorwerk chicken was bred in Hamburg starting in 1900 by an Oskar Vorwerk, who crosed Lakenfelder, yellow Orpington, yellow Ramelslohern and Andalusier with each other.

And if you want to know even more about breeding chickens ... The Vorwerk chicken is a so-called dual purpose chicken that not only lays eggs but also supplies meat - although we will never slaughter any of them to eat for sure! But we have eaten their eggs - and they are delicious!

Vorwerk chickens can stand our winters, are easy to keep and can't fly very high which will make it easier for us to build an aviary in the spring.

The breed was presented in public for the first time in 1912 but they were only recognized after the First World War in 1919. In the years between 1920 and 1930 the Vorwerk chickens were found in Schlesien, Sachsen and Thüringen, mostly because Oskar Vorwerk made sure that they spread all over by giving them away. After World War II, there were only two roosters and 26 hens left. They had been saved during the war and the hard times afterward by the wife of the Saddle Master, Karl Schmidt. This small population formed the foundation for todays population which is nearly 5,000 animals - at least in Germany.