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The Orust is an extremely rare landrace of chicken that emerged on the western coast of Sweden where it survived by free-ranging along the rocky shores of Orust island, a windswept and desolate place that is home to only 1,800 hardy seafarers. Orust are so rare that even learned chicken experts often are unfamiliar with the existence of this landrace of chickens. The Orust is a small to medium-sized large fowl that learned to scavenge a varied diet to survive. It has been known the eat fish, for example. Its exotic origins are matched by its exotic good looks: it has a wonderful black and white mottled feather pattern that is virtually unmatched in the chicken kingdom, and the pattern often carries through to a mosaic of black and white scales on its legs. The chicks are equally beautiful with their panda-like fields of black and white down.
We have found this to be a very hardy breed, and one unusual characteristic is that the roosters’ wattles become a bright iridescent violet color whenever they become agitated; a state that is often encountered because they are protective of the hens. The hens are reasonably prolific egg layers, and they produce a small to medium-sized white egg.