The Orust hen is a small bird with irregular, black and white speckled plumage. Traces of gold can sometimes be seen in the neck feathers of the rooster.
Orust hen came mainly from the islands of Orust and Tjörn. There, they lived in fishing communities and had to eat whatever was available, which often meant fish scraps.
The birds are good layers and can produce more than 150 eggs in a season. Each egg weighs between 45 and 50 grams.
Sweden began importing hens in about 1840 and there were many cases of interbreeding between the foreign and native hen breeds. The Orust hen appears to have survived this interbreeding intact.