Sapphire Gem Chickens are not your average bird. If you like unique chickens with a purpose, then it’s time to go shopping!
My husband DID get me a wedding ring, but after years of learning what matters most and a cultivated love for chickens – I might just trade it in for one of these “gems.” After all, I can’t even wear my wedding ring these days, between my fingers swelling from milking goats and that extra 20 pounds I put on. But I have an eternal love for my Sapphire Gem chickens!
What is a Sapphire Gem Chicken?
Don’t confuse this beauty with the Sapphire chicken breed. It might be a small nuance, but the “gem” in Sapphire Gem is VERY important. If you send your spouse to get a gallon of milk AND a Sapphire Gem – you will be surprised for sure if they bring you back a Sapphire chicken.
I wouldn’t worry about it too much though. Sapphire Gems have pretty much taken over and it’s actually hard to even find the “gem-less” Sapphire chicken. But if you are curious, they are all white chickens (some described them as small white birds) that lay bright blue eggs. Oooh, tempting…another day…keep pressing on to learn about the Sapphire Gems.
The History of the Sapphire Gem Breed
Sapphire Gems can be traced back to the Czech Republic, but the true origin is unknown. To be quite honest, there are many theories and there are just some things in life that will always be a mystery. This may have to be one of them.
It is thought that the breed was created by crossing a Blue Plymouth Rock (a cross between a native Andalusian male and a Plymouth Barred Rock female) and a Barred Plymouth Rock (a heritage chicken). You can definitely see the Old Andalusians in their look. In the end, Sapphire Gems are a hybrid chicken bred for their beautiful color AND egg production.
We do know that these are a fancy breed, sold as specialty chickens. Although we aren’t exactly sure when they were first introduced as a breed, we know they have become exceedingly popular and a new favorite in recent years – and you will soon see why.
Are Sapphire Gems Recognized by the American Poultry Association?
You may, or may not, be interested in knowing if the American Poultry Association recognizes the Sapphire Gem breed as a standard breed. The answer is no. But that’s no surprise since we already know this jewel is not standard, it is…special.
According to the American Poultry Association’s website, you can apply to add a new breed or variety. There is a lengthy process to ensure quality and proper standards, but it can be done.
Sapphire Gem Appearance and Personality
What does a Sapphire Gem look like anyway? With a fancy name like it has, it better be good-looking. And it is! These birds truly do stand out in a crowd of poultry.
These specialty chickens have what is called an “upright appearance” and they are alert. I personally find these to be funny descriptions, as most of my chickens would fit these adjectives. I don’t know of many chickens that walk around hunched or droopy, and unaware. But maybe my flock is advanced (wink, wink). Regardless, they do stand out!
Are They Really Lavender or Blue?
The Sapphire Gem hens plumage consists of shades of lavender, gray, blue, gray, and…gray (soooo pretty). They have a darker span of feathers around their necks (like a necklace made to impress the judges at a beauty contest). Did you notice I mentioned gray a couple of times?
Well, don’t for one minute think this point makes them any less pretty – but don’t expect a mystical, purple, unicorn-type hen. The lavender/blue color most often used to describe this birdy is really more of a gray in the same way a redbud tree is named (they are really not a true red, they are more of a purple or pink).
The roosters are pretty too. Of course, that’s normal in the bird world so I don’t think Mr. Rooster would be offended by being called pretty. Males are usually a blueish color with a white spot or white dot on their head.
I think it’s pretty safe to say they are indeed just a bit flashier than most common breeds.
Roo or Lady – How Do You Know?
Female chicks versus male chicks, how does one know? The Sapphire Gem breed is a sex-linked breed. That label has always confused me. So here’s the meaning in laymen’s terms. Sex-linked chickens are made by cross-breeding heritage breeds in order to get certain attributes in the chickens. When this is done, it also makes it easier to determine whether or not you have a rooster or hen when the chicks are very young.
A Sapphire Gem female will generally have completely lavender or blue feathers (or gray) and a male will usually have a white patch/spot on their wings or head. The cool thing is you can tell whether they are male or female on the day they hatch. Hatcheries love this!
When they are full grown, they are similar to other breeds and definitely easy to tell apart. Roosters are larger, have bigger combs, and crow.
Both roosters and hens have single combs so they are considered to be part of the single-combed breeds.
How Big Are Sapphire Gems?
These stunning birds are considered to be medium-sized chickens. They will weigh around 6 to 7 pounds.
What is the Sapphire Gem Temperament Like?
These treasures are equally as sweet as they are beautiful. They can easily be lap chickens. They may not be quite as lap friendly as Silkie chickens, but they do seem to like their humans. These sweeties are not barnyard troublemakers. They make great farm workers as well as family pets and they are great for kids.
Pretty much, they would win a popularity contest if you held such an event at your coop. They are fun chickens to look at, and just as entertaining as any other chicken to watch (if you are looking for chicken entertainment that is).
Egg and Meat Production
Are Sapphire Gems good for eggs or meat? Let’s find out.
Sapphire Gem Egg Production
One of the great things about this specialty breed is that they are special AND useful. That’s a bonus. These beauty pageant winners have more than just looks, they are excellent egg layers that produce about 290 plus extra large brown eggs each year. Fried eggs and egg salad sandwiches all year long, yummy!
Do Sapphire Gems Lay Colored Eggs?
If you consider brown to be a color, then yes. They lay 290 plus eggs per year. And although brown may not be as fun as the Easter Egger’s colored eggs, they more than make up for it in beauty and temperament.
Sapphire Gem Meat Production
Gulp. Who wants to eat their show-stopping dazzler? Well, maybe I don’t…but perhaps my cruel husband does (ha ha). Although they are not listed anywhere as a meat bird, they can be eaten just like other standard breeds around the farm. However, you wouldn’t buy this breed as a meat chicken.
Sapphire Gem Care
Are these treasures of the coop harder to take care of than standard breeds? Are they high maintenance or low maintenance? I think you’ll like the answer.
Do Sapphire Gems Like to Forage?
They do like to forage, and they are good at it. Sapphire Gems love to free-range and hunt and peck for bugs all day long. They are such hard workers. I love watching mine find the tastiest morels around the yard. It’s quite entertaining to see them run away with their freshly caught prize so none of their feathered friends will snatch it from them!
Are Sapphire Gems Hardy in Various Weather?
I’m glad you asked! Yes. Or should I exclaim YES!? These fluffy friends are very hardy. It’s one of the things I love most about them (other than their role in replacing my wedding ring)!
As I mentioned early on in this article, it’s hard to find conclusive facts on this relatively new breed. If you search the internet to find out if this breed is hardy, you will see many articles stating that they are good for cold climates and warm climates… but you won’t see many scientific facts about this.
However, I can confirm by my own experience. I personally own this breed and I know that they are hardy. I live in a climate that is very hot in the summer, and we have quite cold winters (including rounds of ice and snow). Our temps range from 0 to 105 (and sometimes outside of that range in both directions). My coop is in my barn which is not heated or cooled. I’ve never had a problem with my precious gems.
Do Sapphire Gems Get Sick Easily?
This falls into the “hardy” category as well. This breed is not a high-maintenance, fragile breed. They do not have a tendency to get sick. This makes them great beginner backyard chickens. As with all flocks, you will want to keep them as parasite-free as possible. Most seasoned chicken owners know, parasites can be a problem. That’s why your chickens should have a healthy diet and a clean coop.
What Kind of Coop Do I Need?
Sapphire Gems may be unique in appearance with their fancy color, but they should be treated just like any other chicken you own – they don’t need a fancy house to match their fancy look.
It’s best to have a place for them to seek shelter in cold weather, harsh winds, or in the heat of the summer. They like to roost as most chickens do, so you will want to have roosting bars somewhere in the coop. And, since they do lay eggs they will need a laying box available as well.
If you are free-ranging you should provide about 4 square feet per chicken in the coop. If you are not free-ranging, then they probably need about 10 square feet each – plus a run of some kind for exercise, sunshine, and relief of boredom.
For the most part, they will be content with plenty of shade and water. And if you have the ability to let them free range, they love that too. But they will still need a coop to rest in safety at night.
Can Sapphire Gems Free-Range?
They certainly can, and they love it. They are alert chickens and well aware of their surroundings, which makes them a good fit for free-ranging. I’m not going to say they are kung-foo fighters, but they are pretty savvy. I’ve owned this breed for years, all the while free-ranging, and I have never lost one to a predator of any kind.
Should I Free-Range My Chickens?
Of course, it depends on your setting. I have free-ranged most of my chicken-owning life. But I have open fields around the coop. There are patches of woods nearby, but I do not live IN the woods. I also do not live WAY out in the wilderness, therefore I may not have as many predators looming around looking for dinner. I certainly have opossums, raccoons, coyotes, neighbor dogs, hawks, and the like.
When considering free-ranging chickens of any kind, you have to take the details of your surroundings into consideration. You should also be mindful of your schedule. Will you be able to shut the chickens up at dark regularly? Are you home during the day to keep an eye (and ear) on the happenings outside? And so on.
Should I Get Sapphire Gems?
Yes. Yes. Yes. Based on their docile nature, their beauty, their hardiness, and their egg production – there is no good reason not to add this breed to your backyard flock! It’s time to go shopping for your personal beauty queen!
A happy wife, mother, teacher, writer, hobby farmer, lover of chickens, and contributor to Pampered Chicken Mama!