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Meet Delilah the White Sultan: Our First "Fancy" Chicken



Back in 2009 when I first started raising chickens, I made a deal with my husband. 

He was okay with us having a backyard full of chickens, but he put in the "contract" no fancy chickens.

None of the breeds with funny topknots, or crazy hairdos, no floufy or frizzled feathers, no feathered feet...


No Fancy Chickens! 

I'm not sure of his reasoning, except that he, like me, was more a fan of the more traditional breeds of chickens - the Rhode Island Reds, and Buff Orpingtons, the Australorps....so that's what he wanted to see when he looked out the window.

Being of like mind at the time, I readily signed the "contract" and we dove headfirst into the world of chicken keeping.

I was perfectly content choosing from the dozens and dozens of other breeds of chickens. 

Until I wasn't.

So slowly I started to expand our flock.

And feathers started appearing on the feet of Marans and Faverolles.  

Puffy cheeks started appearing on Ameraucanas and Olive Eggers.

And my husband either didn't notice - or by that point didn't care.

But that was as far as things went.

Until this spring.

I Need a Fancy Chicken!

For some reason I got into my head that I needed a "fancy" chicken. 

But I didn't choose a frizzle chicken - those are the chickens who look like they got caught on the leading edge of a tornado or stuck in the clothes dryer. Not really a fan of that look.

I didn't choose a Polish chicken with the high pouf - I've heard that they're not the brightest hammers in the tool box. 

And I didn't choose a Silkie chicken -  I've been told by those who raise them that they should really be housed separately from other breeds, fed a different diet, and that they aren't terribly cold-hardy.

They also tend to be super broody...

So they were crossed off my list. I already have enough girls who want to be Moms each spring.

Plus, all these fancy breeds just seem so trendy.

And I'm more of a trend-SETTER.

Delilah at just a few days old

Delilah the White Sultan

So I chose to add a single White Sultan chick to my order from Meyer Hatchery last April. 

Now, prior to this, I have had some divas in my flock. My Lavender Orpington, Violet, and my Ameraucana, Clara Belle for example...

But I had never had a DIVA (all caps!) in my flock. 

Thanks to Delilah, now I do.

Delilah at 3 weeks old
The White Sultan Breed

For those not familiar with the breed, White Sultans originated in Turkey way back in the time of the Sultans (hence their name!).  

In fact, according to Wikipedia, the original name of the breed, Serai-Tavuk, in the Turkish language literally translates to "fowls of the Sultan".

One of the few breeds with five toes versus the four toes a typical chicken has, they were bred purely for looks and enjoyment.

In addition to the extra toe, White Sultans sport feathers on their feet and legs, and poufy hairdo as well as puffy cheeks and a beard.

They clearly got in line a few extra times when feathers were being handed out!  

Sultans are generally kept for exhibition purposes. They supposedly make great show chickens because they're very friendly and calm.

Delilah at 5 weeks old

The DIVA

So that explains the diva - sorry, DIVA - attitude. Delilah showed her spunk and sass right from day one when we received her.

And its a good thing, since they certainly weren't bred for production. White Sultans have to get by on their looks and personalities!

A White Sultan hen will usually only lay two to three small white eggs a week. Not even enough for a frittata!

But because of her somewhat limited vision under all that hair and feathered feet, it's likely that Delilah will be far easier on our lawn, garden and flowers than some of our other chickens. 

In fact, legend has it that White Sultans were used a "living ornaments" in Sultan's gardens. So, a true "ornamental" chicken! 

Delilah at 7 weeks old
I'm already seeing evidence of this as Delilah hops up onto a stump or log (or into a bucket!) while the others are free ranging - like a queen surveying her kingdom. 

She's perfectly happy to preen and pose high off the ground instead of getting her toenails and feathers filled with dirt.

She's not really a fan of walking on the grass - or any ground for that matter. 

She actually doesn't even really walk. 

She sort of hops straight up in the air and then comes down before quickly hopping up again. It's rather amusing to watch honestly.

Delilah at 7 weeks old
My husband has to have noticed the extra toes and all the extra feathers...but hasn't brought up my breach of contract.

Although he does call Delilah "DQ" as in Drama Queen...

But I think she's growing on him!

I guess it's a good thing I only got one White Sultan. I can't imagine a whole flock of DIVAS.

But Delilah should fit in perfectly around here. 

I hope.

Except there's just one problem.... Delilah is a BOY!

Delilah at 9 weeks old
Get your own Delilah from Meyer Hatchery

Further Reading:
Beginners Guide to Raising Chicks
https://livestockconservancy.org/index.php/heritage/internal/sultan
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sultan_chicken


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