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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Icelandic Chickens - Save the Breed, Spread the Word! Sustainable, Permaculture, Viking Birds!

Please help by being a Team Member on this Indiegogo Campaign! 
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Tom (that's me) has worked for the past fourteen years carving out a farm in the central highlands of Maine.  
Craig is in Afghanistan risking everything to protect people and make the world a better place. He will be home early next year.
Together we will be sharing with the world a newly rejuvenated breed of chicken and create an educational research retreat deep in an ancient wilderness.
We both know the best route to a better world begins with enough food and water. Icelandic chickens are uniquely special yet they are at risk of extinction.  Please help preserve these wonderful animals and help provide and superior ancient breed for permaculture farmers around the world. 
Icelandic Chickens: 

For the Sustainable Permaculture Farm

Icelandic Chickens (Viking Chickens) are self-reliant and prefer open space to being cooped up. They forage first and only rely on purchased food a very small amount of time. Harvey Ussery, in a recent issue of Mother Earth News recounted a flock of these birds managed by his grandmother. She rarely needed to augment the diet of her birds..  Their quest for wild food was nearly all they needed. Her flock provided for her, improved the landscape and did it all for free! 
While foraging, Icelandic Chickens help with the home chores, controlling insects, making compost and tilling cover crops. They are foragers first!
Icelandic Chickens, as a breed, are in danger of being lost forever. Iceland was one of the Norse Viking's destinations.  Circa 700 A.D. the Vikings brought these birds with them to Iceland.  Nearly extinct in 1950, there are only @3000 birds left in the world.  These bloodlines are in extreme danger of being lost due to interbreeding with modern species which have had their survival skills bread out of them.  Modern birds are able to survive with intensive, artificial and inhumane intervention. Not so these "Icies".
All the birds still alive are descended from a very small group of fowl saved in the 1970's. The Icelandic chicken is significantly different genetically than modern chicken breeds. According to an interview with the former president of the Icelandic preservation association (Júlíus Baldursson), a 2004 study of blood samples from the Icelandic chicken, done in Britain, revealed that 78% of the DNA of the Icelandic chicken was unique and could not be found in any other chicken breeds in the world. 

We will not keep any other breeds of poultry. We wish to insure the purity of the Icelandic chicken genetics. We hope to provide a premier poultry resource for other sustainable agriculture farmers, large and small. 

The average factory farm chicken house cost is over $420,000 and produces a huge negative impact financially and environmentally to the farmer and the earth.  We have every finger and toe crossed a vision of sustainable, healthy poultry production will emerge from this project.  Help us multiply the knowledge we gain from our experience, improving the lives of thousands of people and the birds they care for


  1. Say, Mr. DeCoste. I know your blog only focuses on the Icelandic chickens, but have you ever heard of the Kadaknath? They're a breed of chicken native to India, and they're in a pickle as well due to overconsumption caused by the popular belief that their black meat and eggs contain medicinal properties. I also know of an organization called The Livestock Conservancy whose goal is to breed and preserve rare, endangered heritage breeds. Anyway, I thought I could be resourceful, and I also want to tell you good luck with your "Icie" breeding program.

    1. Hi Janet, This particular post does focus on the icelandic chicken and its value to the permaculture farm. The blog does focus on many other topics, most notably Seabuckthorn or seaberry plants and culture. I have never heard of the Kadaknath and thank you very much for pointing out their existence and very unique qualities.