Super friendly and easy to care for, the “Sapphire Gem” chicken is believed to have been created in the Czech Republic. They are a cross between two color types of Plymouth Rock, the Blue and the Barred. They are also known by other names, including Blue Sapphire or Sapphire Blue. Let’s find out more about these wonderful lavender beauties.
Table of Contents
- Good egg producers
- Attractive blue or lavender feathering
- Heat and cold tolerant
- Very friendly and easy-going
- Great for beginners and kids
- Hardy and simple to care for
- Good foragers
Background and History of the Sapphire Gem Chicken Breed
All the information I can find about the sapphire gems states that they originated in the Czech Republic, although I cannot find any proof to substantiate this fully.
What we know for sure is that this beautiful medium-sized chicken is a hybrid. The cross used for its creation is a heritage Blue Plymouth Rock and a hybrid Barred Plymouth Rock.
Plymouth Rock chickens were developed in Massachusetts, in the USA, during the 1800s. They are known for their easy-going, friendly temperaments.
According to the American hatchery that has trademarked the name Sapphire Gem, these chickens are very close in type to the old Andalusian chickens, which are a heritage breed also dating back to the mid-1800s.
Sapphire gems have a dominant blue gene which is what gives them their attractive blue or lavender-colored plumage.
Sapphire Gem Temperament and Behavior
The sapphire gem is very calm, friendly, and easy to handle. They don’t get stressed by much and will happily take most things in their stride.
Because they are also hardy, weather tolerant, and able to adapt to living both free-range or in a coop, they make ideal backyard hens well suited to beginners or children.
They are medium-sized birds, and their good dispositions mean they get on well with almost all other flock members and even family pets.
Being both heat and cold hardy, the sapphire gem will happily forage for food year-round and help to lower your feed bills in summer or winter.
Of course, they still require a suitable hen house to retreat to and roost safely at night.
Like most hens, there will be some egg calling and alerts to danger, but the hens are generally quiet. Roosters will crow in the early mornings and periodically throughout the day, so it’s best not to keep them if you have close neighbors. If you just want to keep hens for eggs, then there’s no real need to have a rooster anyway.
Because they are hardy, you can expect these lovely hens to live for five to ten years or more, although their egg production will diminish as they age.
Hens tend to become broody when they reach the age of three, but this is not the case with all sapphire gems. If they do hatch eggs, they make good attentive mothers.
Breed Specifics and Traits of Sapphire Gem Chickens
Despite being a medium-sized breed large enough to be used for meat, this is not something they are generally kept for.
Their excellent egg-laying abilities and good dispositions make them far more popular as a mixed egg and pet breed.
Roosters weigh around 7 lbs, while hens are closer to 6 lbs on average.
Because these birds are essentially a type of Plymouth Rock, they have the same general appearance. They are sex-linked, meaning you can distinguish the boys from the girls when they hatch.
The male chicks have a white dot on the top of their head and sometimes white on their wings, while the females are a deeper color and can sport a necklace of gold and gray spots.
This breed is not currently recognized by the American Poultry Association, and because they don’t breed true, there is still work to be done before they will be. It is probably more likely they will become simply known as Lavender Plymouth Rocks, but time will tell.
Currently, chicks can sometimes be born much darker than the desired grayish-blue or lavender.
It isn’t uncommon for roosters to have some barring in their feathers when they mature. Barred plumage appears as alternating bands of light and dark color presenting at a right angle to the feather’s main axis.
Both males and females have a single red comb and wattles. Clean, gray legs and four toes.
They can fly to some extent and will do so to try and evade predators, although no chicken is a match for a hungry fox or dog. But they do stand more chance if they can fly up into trees.
Health and Disease
There are no specific health concerns associated with the sapphire gem. However, just like all chickens, they must be treated against lice, mites, and worms.
The causes of bad health in chickens are often down to poor care and living conditions or inappropriate food and not to the chicken’s susceptibility to any particular ailment.
Food and Feeding
Only feed good quality food from a reputable supplier that is age-appropriate for your birds. Chicks should not be receiving the same food as a laying hen, for example.
This can all seem a bit daunting and confusing to a newbie chicken keeper, but your local feed merchant will be happy to help you out. You can also read our article on feeding chickens to help you too.
Laying hens don’t just need food; they need additional calcium in the form of ground oyster shells. This is soluble and should be fed ad-lib so the hens can take what they want and need.
Chickens also require non-soluble grit to help grind down their food in the gizzard as they don’t have any teeth.
Not providing sufficient calcium to laying hens results in soft egg shells. However, feeding too much calcium to chickens that are not laying can result in health issues arising.
Space and Housing
Although sapphire gems can be kept confined to a large coop, where each bird has a minimum of four square feet, they will be far happier if allowed to free-range.
Another advantage of allowing them to roam is that they will find additional food in their environment, which can help keep them healthier and reduce your overall feed bills, so it’s a win-win.
Coops must have an inside space with roosting bars for the chickens to use at night. These must be set at a height that is not too great, as it can cause foot problems (bumblefoot) when the chickens jump down onto the floor in the morning.
You also want to ensure that the coop is well insulated from heat and cold and well ventilated to allow the escape of ammonia which can quickly build up and damage the bird’s lungs if it is permitted to accumulate without venting.
Good ventilation doesn’t mean a drafty coop. It means building in air holes at roof level to allow gases to be released easily.
Sapphire Gem Eggs
Sapphire gem hens mature relatively quickly and can start laying eggs by 16 to 22 weeks of age. This will be slightly seasonally dependent.
Overall, they are excellent egg layers with a capacity to produce five or six large to extra-large brown eggs per week. This equates to around 290 eggs a year.
Where to Buy Your Sapphire Gems
As I mentioned earlier, the name Sapphire Gem has been trademarked by a hatchery, so the same type of hen can also be called by other names, including Sapphire Blue or Blue Sapphire, by other hatcheries.
These delightful birds are growing in popularity, and rightly so. The easiest way of getting some of these chicks is to go to one of the breeding hatcheries. They can be ordered online and shipped directly to you.
Hoovers Hatchery produces Sapphire Gems™. The hatchery has minimum order quantities, and the prices given here are only a guide and can change anytime. They also do not include shipping or vaccination and are per chick, dependent on the quantity ordered.
- Unsexed chicks cost from $3.96 to $4.56.
- Female chicks cost from $4.71 to $5.31.
- Male chicks cost from $3.26 to $3.86.
Not only are sapphire gem chickens a beautiful lavender-blue, they are also wonderful friendly birds to have around. They lay an abundance of large to extra-large eggs and are such a pretty color.
They make an excellent choice for the first-time chicken keeper or child enthusiasts as they are so hardy and easy to care for.
When handled regularly from chicks, they are easy to tame and enjoy human contact and regular interaction with their owners.
As they are not currently recognized by the American Poultry Association, they don’t adhere to any strict rules about color, and this means they come in a variety of blue and lavender shades.
If you’ve enjoyed learning about sapphire gem chickens, you may also like our other chicken articles about a wide variety of other breeds.
Are sapphire gems good chickens?
The sapphire gem is a great backyard chicken. Their very friendly, easy-going nature makes them a great choice for both children and inexperienced chicken keepers. They are hardy and can live free-range or in a large coop.
What color eggs do sapphire gem chickens lay?
The sapphire gem chicken lays brown eggs. They are sometimes confused with another breed called the Sapphire chicken, which is a small, white breed that lays blue eggs.
Are sapphire gem chickens rare?
As the sapphire gem chicken is relatively new, they are still rare and only produced by a few hatcheries around the United States. As they are quickly growing in popularity, it is likely they will become more readily available in time.
What breed is a sapphire gem chicken?
Because sapphire gem chickens are a cross between two types of Plymouth Rocks, they are essentially a color variation of a Plymouth Rock chicken. They have the same great personalities, heat and cold hardiness, and egg-laying abilities.
Are sapphire gem chickens good egg layers?
The sapphire gem chicken is an excellent egg-laying type of chicken. They can lay around 290 eggs a year in their prime.