Eigenda- og ræktendafélag landnámshænsna

ERL Association

About the ERL Association

The Icelandic Chicken Owner and Breeder Association, ERL, was established in November 2003. The main promoter was Jóhanna G. Harðardóttir, who worked diligently at establishing the association with the good support from Ólafur R. Dýrmundsson, who was working as a consultant for the Icelandic Farmers Association at the time . At the inaugural meeting, 3 women were elected to the board, Jóhanna G. Harðardóttir, who was elected chairman and held that position for many years, Valgerður Auðunsdóttir, who was elected  treasurer and still holds that position, and Kolbrún Júlíusdóttir, who was elected secretary.
The goal of the Association is to keep the Icelandic chicken pure, healthy and colorful, to promote education for owners and breeders of Landnámshænan and introduce the breed to Icelanders.
The Association publishes a journal annually with news and articles, distributes information and education to their members, offers courses on how to keep chickens healthy in their backyard, maintains  this website where everyone can acquire knowledge of the Landnámshænan and holds a number of chicken exhibits.
Over the years the ERL has kindled a new interest and enthusiasm in the Icelandic chicken, both nationally and internationally and the popularity of the Landnámshænan has never been greater.
The annual journal "Landnámshænan" enjoys substantial popularity among breeders.

The members of ERL now number well over three hundred.

Since the Association was established, many people have volunteered with enthusiasm and intensity to promote the Icelandic chicken.

The journal

The decision to publish the journal Landnámshænan to raise public interest and to support the breeders was made in the first year of the Association. Jóhanna G. Harðardóttir, chairman, has had the honour of publishing the journal over the years with the great help of Valgerður Auðunsdóttur who has collected advertisements, Júlíus Már Baldursson who has written articles in collaboration with Jóhanna and Ragnar Sigurjónsson, the photographer of many of the pictures in the paper. These contributions were all voluntary without pay. The journal Landnámshænan has received excellent reception among chicken owners and breeders, and the membership of ERL increases substantially following each release of the journal.

Exhibitions and cages

One of the many tasks of the board was to acquire cages for exhibits from the UK and to set up quality exhibitions of Landnámshænan all over Iceland. Among the exhibition places in recent years are: Reykjavík, Akureyri, Ólafsvík, Hella, Sauðárkrókur, and many other locations. It is a considerable work preparing for and setting up exhibitions. ERL wants to thank all the people who have volunteered to make the exhibitions possible over the years.


Significant amount of educational work has been done by the ERL board members through phone calls and correspondence by e-mail over the years to assist poultry owners. The Landnámshænan journal is packed with useful information and now, this web site has been added.
The board agreed in 2007 to undertake workshops for amateurs. Jóhanna G. Harðardóttir and Júlíus Már Baldursson organized the teaching material and conducted workshops at the Hvanneyri Agricultural College, and hopefully there will be many more workshops in the years to come.

The general description

A proposal to define the description of Landnámshænan was approved unanimously at the Annual General Meeting of ERL in 2011. A five member committee was appointed. The committee worked on this project in the summer of 2012, studying and identifying the characteristics of the poultry Dr. Stefan Aðalsteinsson collected and kept at the Agricultural Research Institute of Keldnaholt in Reykjavík nearly 40 years earlier. In addition, many older people who grew up with these birds were interviewed. Various information was obtained from the Nordic Gene Bank and analysed for certain similarities in related and unrelated chicken breeds. The findings were presented to the members of ERL and after a discussion and minor changes the general description was approved unanimously at the AGM in 2012. The general description of the Landnámshænan was presented widely on the web, on Facebook, through e-mail to the owners and breeders, and in the news media.

A proposal was subsequently introduced at the AGM in 2013 that the ERL should create a list of approved breeders of Landnámshænan; a list of breeders who breed according to the general description of the Icelandic chicken.

The meeting was held on the 10th anniversary of the Association and, therefore, had an unusually large attendance with lively discussions. Members agreed on the need to develop a well-defined regulation on breeding issues. The proposal was approved unchanged unanimously.

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