Swedish Hedemora Chicken – Colors, Eggs, Meat & More

Sweden is known as the home for some of the hardiest chicken breeds in the world. The Hedemora chicken is absolutely no exception to this rule. In fact, there are some that claim that the Swedish Hedemora chicken is one of the hardiest chicken breeds in the world.

hedemora chicken

Facts at a Glance

Eggs+/- 150 per year
Egg Shell Color Light brown
Temperament Calm and fearless
UseEggs + meat
WeightMale: 3.5 – 4.5 lb. (1.5 – 2 kg)
Female: 4.5 – 5.5 lb. (2 – 2.5 kg)
Country of originSweden
ForagingVery good
Admitted to APANo
Swedish Hedemora Breed Facts

The Origins of the Hedemora Chicken

The Hedemora chicken is what is known as a landrace chicken. This means that it is a breed that has not been specifically bred. Instead, it is a chicken that has naturally evolved to fit the area that it lives in.

In this case, that would be the Hedemora chicken. Now, we have absolutely no idea how long this breed of chicken has been around. However, we know that it has been spotted in this part of Sweden for at least 500 years.

This is a breed of chicken that is exceedingly rare. There are just a few thousand Hedemora chickens in the world. The bulk of these are split between the United States and Sweden. It is not a breed of chicken that is at the risk of dying out any time soon, though.

This is because those that live in Hedemora still raise this chicken extensively. The only reason why we have so few of these chickens is the fact that not a lot of people actually live in Hedemora.

The Hedemora is a rare Swedish landrace breed of chicken named after the town of Hedemora where it originated. This hardy historic breed makes a great addition to backyard flocks. Let’s learn about the origins, characteristics, temperament, and care needs of the distinctive Hedemora chicken.

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Hedemora chickens were first developed in the 1800s by crossing local Swedish birds with imported Asian breeds. Their ability to withstand harsh Nordic winters was prized.

Hedemoras were first recognized as a standardized breed in the 1930s. They came close to extinction by the 1970s until a breeding program revived the population. Today they are critically endangered with fewer than 500 breeding birds left globally.


Hedemoras have a unique appearance with attractive feather patterning:

  • Plumage colors include black, gold, silver, brown, and citron
  • Neck and saddle feathers feature lustrous beetle green sheen
  • Clearly demarcated black and white barred plumage on wing feathers
  • Bright red single combs and wattles
  • Skin color ranges from white to yellow to slate blue
  • Four-toed feet with white feathers
  • Medium sized breed with roosters weighing 4-5 lbs and hens 3-4 lbs

The vibrant, orderly plumage sets Hedemoras apart from other barnyard chicken breeds.


Despite their refined appearance, Hedemoras have a hardy, active disposition. Personality traits include:

  • Foraging ability – Excellent free-rangers adept at finding their own food
  • Independence – Require less oversight than many breeds
  • High alertness – Instinctive wariness helps avoid predators
  • Cold tolerance – Thrive in frigid conditions thanks to their northern origins
  • Broodiness – Hens display strong maternal instincts
  • Dog friendliness – Generally unaggressive and calm around other pets

While not cuddly lap chickens, their vivaciousness and self-sufficiency make Hedemoras fun to watch.

Egg and Meat Production

Hedemora hens lay a moderate number of small white eggs, around 150-180 annually. Though not prolific layers, they produce reliably thanks to their hardiness.

The breed is also valued for meat production. Hedemora chickens have lean, well-muscled breasts on their compact frames. The flavorful meat is suited to free-range, organic systems.

Care and Housing

Hedemoras are low-maintenance chickens that do well in basic housing:

  • Cold hardy – Require minimal heat even in frigid winters.
  • Great foragers – Free-range happily eating bugs, seeds, and vegetation.
  • Unfussy diet – No specialized feed requirements.
  • Minimal grooming – Wash-and-wear plumage needs little upkeep.
  • Disease resilient – Strong immunity developed over generations.

Provide around 4 square feet of coop space per bird. Ample outdoor range lets them exhibit natural behaviors. Hedemoras thrive when allowed to follow their instincts.

In summary, Hedemora chickens have much to offer small flocks beyond their ornamental appeal. Their athletic abilities, self-reliance, and winter hardiness make them well-suited to backyard homesteads. As awareness grows, hopefully the breed’s endangered status can be reversed.

The Look of the Swedish Hedemora Chicken

Because this is a landrace chicken, there is no standardization of the Hedemora breed. This means that this breed will differ from chicken owner to chicken owner. What we can say, however, is that it is evident that the Hedemora chicken has adapted itself to colder environments. This is a process that has taken them hundreds of years.

For starters, this is a smaller chicken. it is a little bit larger than what you can expect a bantam chicken to be. The smaller size means that they are able to retain heat a lot better than other chicken breeds.

hedemora chicken

This means that they are going to be able to deal with the colder environments a lot better than other chicken breeds.

In addition to this, their comb and their wattle will be incredibly small. This is to help combat the chance of frostbite. If you own this chicken, you may still want to put a small amount of protective vaseline onto their comb and wattle during the colder months, but there is less of a requirement to do that with the Hedemora chicken.

In addition to this, and probably the main feature of the chicken is their feathering. Their feathers do not even seem like feathers. Some have likened the feel of their feathers to that of fur.

The color of their feathers will be mostly white, but there may be a small pink tint in them here and there.

There is a bit of diversity in the chicken breed in relation to feather coloring. However, the bulk of the diversity of the breed seems to be focused on their legs.

Some Hedemora chickens will have feathers on their legs, while others won’t. Of course, the ones with feathers on their legs do even better in colder climates.

The Swedish Hedemora Chicken as a Show Chicken

This is not a show chicken, and it never will be a show chicken. Because it is a landrace chicken, there is no standardization of the breed.

This is a chicken that has evolved to adapt to an environment. It has never been bred to look as good as possible. Even if there was a standard for the breed, there are just so few breeders of the Hedemora chicken that it would never make chicken shows viable.

Remember, you have this breed spread about two countries, separated by hundreds and hundreds of miles. There are only a few thousand chickens.

It does make a good ornamental chicken if you have land in a colder location, though.

As a Meat Chicken

This may be a smaller breed of chicken with hens weighing 3.5 – 4.5 lb. (1.5 – 2 kg), while a Hedemora rooster can grow up to 5.5 lb. (2.5 kg). But that hasn’t stopped it from being used as a meat chicken breed.

It is not going to be producing a huge amount of meat, but if you live in a colder location, you pretty much have to take what you can get!

By all accounts, the Hedemora chicken tastes pretty decent, so it probably doesn’t matter that it isn’t able to produce a ton of meat anyway. You still end up with a decent chicken.

The Hedemora Chicken as an Egg Chicken

The Hedemora chicken that can lay almost 200 eggs per year. As you can probably guess, the chicken is able to continue to lay these eggs throughout the colder months of the year.

In fact, if you wd version of this chicken will be laying eggs throughout the place. Some people will even hunt down those eggs for food.

This chicken is a good mother to their children and they can get quite broody. This means it shouldn’t be that difficult to raise. Many people, however, do suggest that if you are planning on raising the Hedemora hens, you should probably raise the eggs in an incubator.

This is because most of these chickens are going to be breeding in colder locations, and you probably do not want to be running the risk that the mother is not able to adequately raise their young.

Hedemora Chick

Raising the Hedemora Chicken

This is a hardy chicken and it is one of only a few chicken breeds that is able to cope with the snow. However, as we said before, you will probably want to be spreading a small amount of vaseline on the comb of this chicken in order to ensure that they can thrive in the colder weather.

We would not run the risk of raising this chicken in a warmer location. The thick, fur-like feathers could result in them suffering from heat stroke.

If you want a friendly chicken breed, then the Hedemora Chicken does well to bond with its human owners.


  1. What climate conditions are Hedemora chickens well-suited for?

Hedemora chickens thrive in cold climates thanks to their hardy northern European origins. Their small combs and heavy feathering allows them to tolerate frigid winters well. They require minimal supplemental heat even when temperatures drop below freezing. Their natural cold tolerance makes them excellent backyard chickens for northern regions.

  1. What is the temperament of Hedemora chickens like?

While not cuddly lap chickens, Hedemoras are active birds with friendly, docile dispositions. They exhibit high alertness and foraging skills allowing independence. Their wariness helps avoid predators. Hedemoras get along well with children and other pets when raised from a young age. Overall they are pleasant-natured chickens that like human interaction on their own terms.

  1. How many eggs does a Hedemora chicken lay per year?

The Hedemora is considered a moderate layer, producing around 150-180 small creamy white eggs annually. They don’t achieve extremely high egg yields, but lay reliably thanks to their hardy genetics. The birds remain productive for 3-4 years on average. Their brooding tendencies may result in hens going “clucky” and suspending laying for periods.

  1. What colors and patterns can Hedemora chickens exhibit?

Hedemora recognized color variations include black, gold, silver, brown, and citron. All have lustrous beetle green feathers on the neck and back. Their most distinguishing feature is the cleanly delineated black and white barred patterning on the wing feathers. Combs and wattles are bright red. Skin color ranges from white to yellow to bluish slate.

  1. Why are Hedemora chickens critically endangered?

Hedemora numbers dropped dangerously low by the 1970s as industrial agriculture replaced small Swedish homesteads. A focused breeding program reestablished genetic diversity, but global populations remain under 500 birds. Their rarity means most live in conserved flocks. Promoting the breed’s merits among small and backyard chicken keepers could help improve their long-term outlook.

Final Thoughts

The Hedemora is a rare Swedish heritage breed of chicken named after the town of Hedemora where the breed originated in the 1800s. Over the centuries, the hardy Hedemora developed the ability to thrive in cold Nordic winters, making them well-suited for backyard flocks in colder climates.

Hedemoras have a distinctive appearance with beautifully patterned plumage. Their neck and saddle feathers have a lustrous beetle green sheen. The most recognizable markings are the clearly delineated black and white barred patterning on their wing feathers. Bright red single combs, compact size, and four-toed white feet further distinguish them.

While their ornamental feathers may seem delicate, Hedemoras possess an active, hardy disposition able to fend for themselves. Their high alertness, independence, and foraging skills serve them well in free-range environments. Hedemoras are also calm and docile once accustomed to caretakers. They tend to be very cold tolerant and avoid predation thanks to wariness.

In terms of productivity, Hedemora hens lay a moderate number of small creamy white eggs, around 150-180 per year. Hens also make attentive mothers, commonly going broody. The breed is reared for meat as well, producing lean, flavorful carcasses on an organic free-range diet.

Care for Hedemoras is relatively simple. They thrive when allowed to forage and express natural behaviors. A basic coop and access to ample range suits them well. Hedemoras are not finicky about climate or diet. Their resilience serves them equally well on diversified small farms or family backyard homesteads.

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