Uses: Exhibition / Ornamental.
Origin: Europe – Mostly The Netherlands.
Weight: Cock: 2.25 Kg, Hen: 1.80 Kg.
Bantam: Cock: 680 – 790 g, Hen: 620 – 740 g.
Colours: Black, Silver Pencilled, Gold Pencilled, Silver Spangled, Gold Spangled.
Useful to Know: Active birds that require free range / large grass runs. Difficult to breed.
Photo: A Silver Spangled Hamburgh hen. Photo courtesy of Rupert Stephenson.
Hamburgh chickens were being entered into competitions at pub gatherings in Yorkshire and Lancashire in the North of England for some years before the first poultry show at London Zoo in 1845.
It is thought Black Hamburghs descended from Black Pheasant Fowl and Gold Pencilled and Silver Pencilled from a number of ‘local’ breeds in Lancashire and Derbyshire that were probably derived from the Dutch Assendelftse Hoenders. When poultry shows and Standards started to emerge, there was little interest in maintaining local standards so these local breeds were modified to suit two standards: the Derbyshire Redcap and the Hamburgh.
The Hamburgh was for many years one of the most popular breeds at poultry shows and the British Hamburgh club was formed sometime in the early 1890’s, followed by a number of regional clubs including Scotland and Wales. As with many breeds, the First World War caused shortages in feed and a serious decline in their numbers. In the case of the Hamburgh, their numbers never recovered.
Hamburghs have thankfully survived in Britain, thanks to a small number of dedicated fanciers.
Be careful if you are planning on importing birds or hatching eggs because British, American and European Standards are subtly different.
For the best results you can double mate Black and Spangled varieties although this isn’t absolutely necessary. Hen feathered Spangled males will produce better exhibition pullets for example. Double mating is required for Pencilled varieties.
These are the breed clubs for Hamburghs:
- UK: The Hamburgh Club