Farming equipment company VB Landbúnadur decided to support the restoration of the Icelandic Settlement Hen stock at the farm Tjörn on Vatnsnes peninsula in northwest Iceland, which was destroyed in a fire on March 28, by presenting the farmer at Tjörn, Júlíus Már Baldursson, with a Fiem Maya hatching machine worth ISK 120,000 (USD 955, EUR 760).
Icelandic Settlement Hens. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
All of Baldursson’s 200 hens and four cats were killed in the fire, along with 970 eggs that were about to hatch. “There were only three days before the chicks would have appeared; I heard them twitter inside the eggs,” the farmer describes to Morgunbladid.
All the outhouses, the animal shed, barn, equipment storage and two garages were destroyed in the fire. “All equipment, tools and devices were destroyed, everything I owned,” Baldursson said. His house was also damaged. “I live in some sort of ruins.”
Yet Baldursson is determined to continue farming and restore his hen stock. “Life continues despite setbacks. One just has to be tough and continue. There is no other option. Of course I’ll continue,” he iterated.
Baldursson was the most active breeder of Icelandic Settlement Hens and Tjörn boasted the largest hen stock in Iceland, which turned 30 in August 2008. The Icelandic hen stock is a special breed of hens; the birds are known for their colorful feathers.
The hen stock is believed to have been brought to Iceland by the settlers in the 9th century—hence the name—and been isolated on the island since. There were only a few hundred birds left of the hen stock in Iceland when farmers like Baldursson stepped in.
People who want to support Baldursson’s work can make donations to an account in the local savings bank, Sparisjódur Húnathings (account number: 1105-15-200235, identification number (kennitala) 011260-2259).
Click here to read more about Baldursson and the Settlement Hen stock at Tjörn.