North Holland Blue Chooks

A Rare Breed of Dutch Origin

North Holland Blue cockerel
North Holland Blue cockerel from a laying strain

One of the most underrated heritage breeds, the North Holland Blue is a top notch layer.

Unfortunately North Holland Blues have been crossbred with Barred Plymouth Rocks, introducing size and exhibition looks. However, the egg laying in these crossbreds often leaves a lot to be desired. This also means yellow legs pop up from time to time in flocks of North Holland Blues who should have white or light grey legs.

The barring in the North Holland Blue is called ‘cuckoo’ and is caused by the same gene as the barring in Barred Plymouth Rocks which are much more finely barred. The reason is the speed of feathering up. Barred Plymouth Rocks are slow feathering and only a fine stripe of black, interrupted by white, is deposited, until the whole feather has emerged and has been ‘painted’ Speed up the feather growing while continuing to paint at the same speed and you get wider bars of black and white and the black is more diluted, giving a ‘Blue’ appearance when viewed from a distance. This colour pattern is called ‘cuckoo’. As a general rule, fast feathering birds mature at a younger age and lay more eggs than slow feathering birds.


North Holland Blue pullet
North Holland Blue pullet
North Holland Blue cockerel
A very well bred North Holland Blue
cockerel at the 2012 National Show
in the Waikato
Thanks to Marina Steinke for supplying the above information and photographs.

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