The Sultan or Serai Taook
Part of our Breed Profiles series, the Sultan chicken originated in Turkey as an ornamental bird.
The breed first arrived from Turkey to England in 1854. Known as the Serai Taook in Turkey, this rare breed had been bred as an ornamental meat bird for the royal court in Istanbul.
Elizabeth Watts, editor of the The Poultry Chronicle, had been gifted several birds from a friend in Istanbul. She successfully bred them in England and descendants of those birds were brought to the U.S. in 1867 where George Brown noted that they were quite tame birds with pleasant dispositions. Sultans were recognized as a distinct breed by the American Poultry Association in 1874.
Primary Use: Ornamental, rare
Temperament: Calm, easy to tame
Size: Large fowl and bantam varieties,
Egg production annually: 50-60
Egg Color: large white
Average Weight: Small size in large fowl, females weigh 4lbs, males 6 lbs
These lovely birds have a v-shaped comb, crest, beard, ear muffs, feathered legs, and 5 toes. Their shanks and toes are slate blue underneath the feathers.
The APA only recognized the white variety, however, due to crosses with Polish chickens, Blue and Black Sultans have been produced.
They lay well from March to Sept in northern hemisphere. Sometimes used at table bird as they are large breasted with delicately flavoured meat.
Easy bird to show as they are calm and allow judges to hold and exam them.
Sultans are poor layers overall and equally poor brooders. Your best bet for breeding them is to incubate the eggs as the hens rarely sit their nests.
Health and Safety
While Sultans are not cold hardy, they do tolerate heat quite well. They also work well in confined runs and coop spaces, making them ideal for small back yard ornamental birds.
Carol Ekarius, Storey’s Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds