The Norwegian Jaerhon is the only breed of chicken that originated in Norway. The breed was developed from chickens raised in southern Norway.

Not surprisingly, the Jaerhon is known for being very tolerant of cold weather. It’s a hardy, active chicken that does well in all climates.

Norwegian Jaerhons are small compared to other chickens, but they are productive layers of large eggs. The Jaerhon is not a common breed. The first individuals arrived in the US in the 1990s and can be hard to find, but worth the effort according to many Jaerhon fanciers.


Quick Facts about Norwegian Jaerhon Chickens

Breed Name:Norwegian (or Norske) Jaerhon
Place of Origin:Norway
Rooster (Male) Size: 5 pounds
Hen (Female) Size: 3.5 pounds
Color:Yellow or Brown, with Barred Feathers
Lifespan:5 years
Climate Tolerance:Cold tolerant
Care Level:Easy
 Chick Sexing:Auto-sexing at hatch by color


Norwegian Jaerhon Chicken Origins

The Norwegian Jaerhon was developed in the 1920s at a breeding station in Norway. The station was active until the 1970s. The breeding stock was then transferred to an agricultural college.

The Jaerhon was created to be an auto-sexing chicken, which means that male and female chicks can be identified at hatching based on their color and markings.

It was also created to be a productive egg-laying chicken, with minimal broodiness.

Norwegian Jaerhon Chicken Characteristics

Jaerhons are small but lay large eggs for their body size. Hens are normally under 4 pounds in weight. Eggs are white and weigh around 2 ounces.

Jaerhon chickens are productive egg layers. They lay over 200 eggs per year. They are hardy and do well in cold climates. They tend to be active, quiet, and friendly.

They are known as good flyers and some owners report that their Jaerhons can be escape artists and need to be kept in covered runs.



The Norwegian Jaerhon is a laying chicken, specifically bred to be a good producer of large white eggs.

They were also bred not to be broody, which means that they generally do not have the urge to sit on and hatch a clutch of eggs. They continue laying and are very productive.

Appearance & Varieties

There are 2 color varieties of Jaerhon chickens: light and dark. Light Jaerhons have yellow coloring and dark Jaerhons have brown coloring. Both varieties have barring on the feathers.  They have a single red comb, yellow beaks, and yellow legs that are clean of feathers.

Chicks can be sexed by their color differences as soon as 1 day old. Male light chicks are all yellow and females have dark striping on their backs. Male dark chicks have a large white spot on their heads and females have a small white dot on their heads.

Both male and female Jaerhon chickens are small-sized chickens. Males weigh 5 pounds and females weigh 3.5 pounds.

The Jaerhon is a rare breed of chicken. It was developed through selective breeding methods around 100 years ago. You can find Jaerhon chicks for sale outside of Norway, but they are not very common.

The overall population of Jaerhon chickens worldwide is small compared to other chicken breeds. The UN’s Domestic Animal Diversity Information System has classified the breed as endangered. A 2016 population estimate of Jaerhons in Norway was around 400 individuals, mostly females.


Are Norwegian Jaerhon Chickens Good for Small-Scale Farming?

The Norwegian Jaerhon is a good choice for small-scale farmers who are looking for good laying hens. They are active and can fly a bit more than other chicken breeds. Experienced owners recommend keeping them in covered runs for safety.

They have good temperaments and roosters are generally not aggressive. They can be a good choice for novice backyard chicken keepers as they are quiet, small, and easy to handle.

The Norwegian Jaerhon is an interesting, rare breed of chicken, created to be a reliable egg layer with little broodiness. It was also designed to be easily sexed after hatching. That Norwegian ancestry also makes it a hardy and cold tolerant breed.

If you’re looking for a unique and appealing little chicken that will also produce plenty of eggs, the Jaerhon could be the right choice for you!

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Featured Image Credit: Bearpaw, Jærhøns, Creative Commons(CC BY-SA 3.0), Wikimedia