Olandsk dwarfs are perfect for the space-constrained chicken enthusiast who seeks the extreme in rarity, beauty, and hardiness. These friendly birds are ideally suited for the backyard garden. Belying the flighty reputation of most bantam breeds, dwarfs are relatively calm and quiet and do well in a free-range environment. Despite their delicate beauty, dwarfs also have a very useful function: They lay an enormous number of small white eggs each year. There is no more productive egg layer on our farm than the Olandsk dwarf. What the eggs lack in size the hens seem determined to more than make up for in production volume. If you have a few of these hens you’ll be making nano-omelets almost every day for years to come.
Olandsk dwarfs are possibly the rarest chicken breed ever raised at Greenfire Farms. In 1989, there were 54 Olandsk dwarfs on the planet, and today there are fewer than 200. They hail from Olands, the second largest island in Sweden; a strip of land about 85 miles long and 10 miles wide anchored near the mainland along the southeast coast. Here, centuries ago birds simply known as British garden hens were brought to the island, and from these birds the Olandsk dwarf emerged as a distinct breed.
Dwarfs are true bantams; they have no larger counterpart. They are cold-hardy birds that lay a large number of smallish white eggs. Their feathers are a wild, splattered canvas drawing from a palette of red, black, white, and gray. The roosters have a metallic copper and gold sheen in their hackle feathers that creates a dramatic effect. Like most landraces there is considerable variation within the breed. Rosecombs are not unknown (although all the birds at Greenfire Farms have straight combs).
Birds of this breed are active foragers and socialize well in a flock. Rival roosters tend to strut more than fight, and so drama is usually kept to a minimum. With a little effort dwarfs become quickly accustomed to human handling. Dwarfs are an unlikely and compelling combination of livestock, pet, and clockwork toy. These diminutive birds are destined to be a favorite of America’s poultry hobbyists.
Olandsk Dwarf: Hatching Eggs, 1 Dozen