The Smaaland is a little-known auto-sexing breed created a half century ago by Sweden’s Martin Silverudd. They are a medium-sized breed created from Leghorns, Rhode Island Reds, and New Hampshires. Smaalands are both reliably auto-sexing and reliable layers, producing a large volume of tinted eggs. The hens sport a red breast that beautifully contrasts with the complex pallete of grays and whites that cover most of their bodies. Unlike many of Silverudd’s breeds, if allowed to sit on eggs Smaaland hens will go broody and hatch and raise their own chicks.
The Liege Fighter, or Luikse Vechter, is an exceedingly rare breed of game fowl that originated in Northern Belgium in the 1800s. The breed was probably derived from crossing the native Bruges Game with Malays; a combination that resulted in a very tall and heavy fighting bird that often has black skin. How large are they? A full-grown rooster can weigh as much as 12 lb. and have a foot as large as the palm of your hand. The hawk-like heads, dark pigment, and powerful bodies create one of the most sinister-looking chicken breeds, yet their behavior towards people is generally friendly. Greenfire Farms was the first to import this breed to North America, and they will be made available to the public in 2017.