With the advent of the commercial type chickens, the Icelandic breed was nearly extinct by the 1950’s. All these birds now existing are descended from a very small group of fowl saved in the 1970’s. The Icelandic chicken is significantly different genetically than modern breeds. According to an interview with the former president of the Icelandic preservation association, Julius Baldursson a 2004 study was done in Britain. The results revealed that blood samples taken from the Icelandic chicken contained DNA that is 78% unique and could not be found in any other chicken breed in the world. It is for this reason that the group strongly discourages crossing these birds with any other breed. Any offspring or descendants from cross can never be considered Icelandics.
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Lyle Behl of Behl Farms is responsible for bringing this wonderful chicken to the US.