Posted Feb 10, 2013
In my village we usually have Balkan varieties of poultry. Last year, we bought five Croatian hens. According to the seller, it is a breed with very good productivity, both egg-wise and meat-wise. He didn’t lie. We bought the hens as one-month-old chicks and within two months they turned into well-grown, robust fowls, weighting approximately 2,5 kg and laying unwaveringly one egg per day (except of the winter months, when their egg productivity falls into 3-4 eggs per week).
However, I wouldn’t suggest them if your aim is fast and massive production. These birds grow in a normal rate and don’t have excess fat. They are well muscled and sinewy, if grown in a healthy, free-range style, and their eggs are not very large, although they have excellent taste and nutritional quality.
An important feature of the Croatian hen is its good constitution and health. They remind wild foal in the way they sustain harsh weather conditions and love to roam around all day long. They are the most independent and free spirited chickens I’ve ever seen.
And that’s a reason to be cautious with them. They tend to wander far and wide, and they won’t hesitate to nest upon a tree for the night. If annoyed by the human presence they might even try an escape attempt. They are as headstrong as chickens ever go. Thus, I would advice good fencing and a wide area for their keeping.
Aesthetically, they are handsome and healthy looking chickens and they can grow very friendly with their keepers. Our hens keep following my mother around the field like loyal hounds. They are smarter than your average chicken and can alert you of threats like wild foxes or snakes. I believe they are the perfect choice for small home farms and healthy free-range production units.