The Altsteirer or Stryian hen is a very ancient breed from the Styria region of Austria and Slovenia. The first record of its existence can be traced to the 13th Century, but this area has been populated by humans for 250,000 years and was a major trade route for millennia. The Altsteirer could be one of the first identifiable chicken breeds that developed in Europe. White earlobes and other traits associated with Mediterranean breeds hint that this may be a foundational breed for many more modern breeds. Also, the Altsteirer bears a resemblance to and may have played an important role in the development of the Sulmtaler, itself considered an ancient breed but not as ancient as the Altsteirer.
The Alsteirer is a dual purpose breed. It is a medium-sized breed that lays a large number of white eggs each year. The body is round and makes for an excellent meal, and the prolific nature of the hens adds to its practical appeal. The breed exists in a number of color patterns including partridge, white, cuckoo, and black breasted red. Greenfire Farms imported from Europe black breasted red birds, and we found them to be as hardy and productive as their reputation suggests. The hens are calm and rarely go broody.
If you are looking for a breed that is easy to care for, has a fascinating history, is beautiful, very rare, and produces food in large quantities, the Altsteirer may be the breed for you. We have found this breed to be an excellent addition to America’s poultry inventory, and we look forward to working with this breed for years to come. So will you.