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Chickens and turkeys are raised for human consumption in Iceland. The ptarmigan is wild, but it is also a fowl and is the favorite Christmas food of many Icelanders. A small stock of chickens has survived since settlement (is. landnámshænur, e. settlement chicken). They are a colorful, self-reliant heritage chicken breed.

Chicken farming was rare in the last centuries but gained popularity as urbanization developed. People are known to have kept chickens in towns and villages where conditions allowed for it. It also became easier to import chickens on ships as transportation became faster and more frequent. The chickens were either imported alive or as fertilized eggs. Eggs for consumption were imported in the last century up until 1930. After that, egg production gained ground and the number of chickens steadily increased throughout the century.