traditional Czech chicken breeds
History of Czech chickens
Czech chickens are an old landrace, the history of which can be traced back for centuries. The first mention dates from 1205, when a flock of the Czech chickens was presented to Valdemar II of Denmark as a wedding gift on his marriage to Czech princess Margaret of Bohemia. They used to be kept in a larger number of colors, most often in a combination of gold and wild colour. Czech chickens come from peasant chickens, indigenous chicken breeds commonly kept on the Czech Republic territory until the half of 19th century. Since the mid-19th century, these autochthonous chickens were cross-bred with imported chicken breeds from abroad and pure Czech chickens were threatened with extinction.
Therefore, in August, 1913 Karel Škoda (born 3rd February 1862, died 1st May 1927) from Havlíčkův Brod created a flock from the rest of the peasant chickens found in the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands and in the Humpolec region. Karel Škoda settled two strains - one from the chickens from Komorovice village, the second from the chickens bought from a farm in the village Český Šicendorf (now part of the village Stříbrné Hory). In 1924-1925 the strain from Komorovice was recognized and named as Czech gold brindle chicken and the strain from Český Šicendorf as Czech partridge chicken. Čestmír Sedlák (born 1890, died 5th June 1957) settled a population from the remains of indigenous chickens kept in the Klatovy and Dobříš regions. Both populations were later blended. Czech gold brindle chicken was classified as an economically important livestock in 1936. There were 3,600 chickens in controlled breeding in 1985. Czech gold brindle chickens were included into Czech genetic resources in 1992. The Bantam variety of Czech chickens were created during the 20th century.
Original Šumava chicken was old land-race kept mainly in the foothills of the Bohemian Forest (in Czech called Šumava). It is likely that it was one of several regional variants of Czech chickens. Unfortunately, the original Šumava chickens became extinct. The modern history of this breed began after 1945. For regeneration chickens were selected from Vimperk and Kašperské Hory region, which most resembled the original Šumava chickens. These chickens were crossed with several medium-size chicken breeds like Rhode Island, Wyandotte, Plymouth Rock, New Hampshire and later with the Czech chickens. The result of the breeding process is currently known as the Šumava breed, which is, however, somewhat different than the original one. Šumava chickens are kept only in a gold colour with black spray over the body and a black tail.