Article from the Decorah Public Opinion; 02/28/1955
New Breed of Chicken Developed by John Logsdon North of Decorah;
New Iowa Breed Has Heavy Breast, Dark Legs, and Lays Brown Eggs
A new breed of chickens has been developed over a period of 25 years by John Logsdon, who lives eight miles north of Decorah on Highway 57.
The breed has been named the Iowa Blue because of its distinctive coloring and also to give the state of Iowa a chicken of its own.
The feathers are basically white but are marked with a bluish gray marking that closely resembles the markings of a pheasant hen. Generally, the birds heads show more of the white, while the feathers toward the tail bear darker markings.
The Iowa Blue is a heay breed, cockerels reaching a weight of seven to eight poinds while the mature cocks reach nine to ten pounds. Pullets weigh six to six and a half pounds while the old hens weigh seven to seven and a half pounds.
Started 25 Years Ago
The breed is the result of work begun by Logsdon of Canoe Township 25 years ago. The first year he mated a Chinese pheasant cock with a Black Minorca hen and Rhode Island hen. He raised only eight birds from those matings – four pullets and four roosters.
The next year he mated what he regarded as the best rooster with the four hens and continued in that manner, always keeping the roosters as long as possible and mating them with the previous year's pullets.
Logsdon picked the Black Minorca to start because that breed lays the largest eggs of any breed and the Rhode Island Red because it was, in his opinion, the leading breed of its type. The cock pheasant was chosen because of its hardiness and ability to stand both cold and heat.
Characteristics of the Iowa Blue include an extra large breast, dark legs, a brown egg and extra hardiness and resistance to disease. The baby chicks when first hatched were varied in color from red or brown to grey, dark blue or smoky blue, but when they feather out they are all alike.
Last year, Logsdon sold all the eggs from his newly developed breed of chicken to W.C. Fenton of Strawberry Point, Iowa. Fenton now has three flocks in addition to the one at Strawberry Point.
Fenton says that Leghorn hens mated to Iowa Blue roosters produce a pullet that will lay a large white egg, and he expects to hatch some such crosses as well as some Iowa Blue – White Rock crosses.
He believes the breed has a bright future because of the large eggs produced, it's suitability for producing capons or heavy springs, and its extreme hardiness and disease resistance.
While it is still so new that egg production records are few, Fenton says his four laying flocks have demonstrated during the past fall and winter that they will lay as many eggs as any heavy breed.