The Rhineland Chicken


© by C. Witzmann

Rhineland chickens are part of the rural Rhinish heritage. They are a local breed, recognised by the German Federal Association of Poultry Breeders and were developed by Dr. Rudolf von Langen in Euskirchen (near Bonn) in 1893. Dr. Langen was co-founder of Pfeiffer & Langen sugar enterprises with its base at Euskirchen-Kuchenheim, which still exists as one of Europe's leading sugar producers; still with its base in Kuchenheim.

While setting up sugar beet production contracts with farmers in the Eiffel region, Dr. Langen noticed the lack of a high performing chicken for the rather poor peasants. What was required, was a chicken that could withstand the harsh climatic conditions of that region.

Dr. Langen hybridised the Rhineland chicken from the "Eifeler Landhuhn" with strains of the French breed "Le Mans". His selective breeding focused on three aspects: cold tolerance, meat yield and high egg production.

In 1907 the new breed was first displayed at a poultry exhibition at Berlin-Lichterfelde. The "Sonderverein der Züchter des Rheinlandhuhnes" was founded on the 14 May 1908; today members come from all over Europe. In 2008 the Federal Association of Poultry Breeders declared the Rhineland Chicken as "Breed of the Year".

The German Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food (BLE) lists the Rhineland Chicken in Category IV of their Red List of rare and endangered breeds".

It is our intention to conserve a piece of our valuable cultural heritage by keeping Rhineland chickens; thereby we hope to inspire others with these beautiful birds.


Rhineland chickens are characterised by their triangular shape due to the long back bone. The crown is reduced and the large white ear blotches are prominent. The German standard description recognises eight different colours: black, white, blue speckled, black-white colombia, partridge coloured, blue-grey, silver, blue-partridge. They are available as dwarfs.

Laying between 200-280 eggs p.a. the Rhineland chickens are characterised as high performers amongst the other traditional breeds. The eggs weigh between 50 – 65g and are white shelled. Rhinelander's are rather shy and not as tame as other breeds.

The Rhineland

The Rhineland is a historic region in the west of the Federal Republic of Germany. Towards the west it stretches along the borders of Luxembourg, Netherlands and Belgium. Its eastern boundaries are the Siegerland, Bergisches Land and the Ruhr Area. The Rhineland is roughly defined as the area between the cities of Aachen to Siegen and Krefeld to Koblenz. The traditional Rhineland refers to the area west of the river Rhine (West Bank of the River Rhine). It includes the cities of Cologne and Bonn. The hilly mountainous Eiffel with its vast National Park is part of this region.