The Welsummer is the pride of the Netherlands and as a young breed, they have blossomed into a fantastic chicken for homesteaders.
Despite the Welsummer breed not reaching the same popularity as other egg laying breeds, these beautiful birds should not be discounted for backyard chicken coops.
If you’re looking for a hardy, friendly, and dependable egg layer, let’s get to know the Welsummer by learning about their egg laying, temperament, broodiness, and all you need to know to raise healthy, happy chickens…
This chicken breed came from the modest village of Welsum in the Netherlands and while their true breed origins are unknown, it is believed that European landrace chickens were crossed with several breeds such as the Rhode Island Red, Partridge Cochin, Partridge Wyandotte, Partridge Leghorn, and even Malays to produce a tough dual purpose chicken.
It was during the Hague’s World Poultry Congress in 1921 that the Welsummer made its presence known!
The durability, subtle partridge feather pattern, and independent nature of this bird captured the attention and the hearts of many European poultry hobbyists.
The town of Welsum has erected a memorial statue of the Welsummer breed in honor of this Dutch breed.
Because Dutch breeders felt that the Welsummer needed some refinement, they developed the Welsummer Breeders’ Club in 1929.
Today, these birds are popular across the UK and in Europe but have not achieved the same fame and fortune in the US.
What Chicken Breed is Similar to the Welsummer?
The Speckled Sussex is one breed that is similar to the Welsummer. While their speckled feather pattern is quite dramatic, they too have an independent personality, lay well, and are excellent foragers.
If you are looking for a hardy breed that is close in appearance to the Welsummer, consider the Brown Leghorn.
I’ve read about many backyard chicken keepers who are utterly confused as to whether their chicks are Welsummers or Brown Leghorns because they look so similar!
What Do Welsummer Chickens Look Like?
Welsummers have a very upright stance which creates a graceful appearance.
They have bright red wattles, earlobes, and a single comb while their eye color is a reddish bay and their beaks are described as a horn color.
They have clean legs which means that they are feather free. Welsummers should have yellow skin and shanks with four toes on each foot.
What is most impressive about their appearance is the feather color and pattern.
The neck feathers range from golden brown to reddish-brown while the wings and tail are dark brown. You will notice that the hens have a moderate partridge pattern over the wings with light brown shading.
You can easily spot a Welsummer rooster because his coloring is completely different from the hen.
The rooster has a prominent single comb with five points and golden to dark brown plumage across the hackle and saddle feathers.
The chest, wings, and undercarriage of roosters have a beetle green sheen. You can also identify the Welsummer roo by the triangular patch on the wings.
The popular breakfast cereal, Kellogs Cornflakes, modeled their mascot, Cornelius Rooster, after the Welsummer rooster.
How to Identify Welsummer Chickens?
Welsummers are birds owing to their dual purpose heritage and they are considered large-sized with single combs and yellow legs.
To identify Welsummers, we look at their size and breed standard.
How Much Do Welsummer Chickens Weigh?
The roosters weigh between 7-8 lbs and the hens 5-6 lbs.
You can also find a bantam variety with roosters reaching 34 oz and the hens around 30 oz.
The Breed Standard
In 1924, the Dutch Poultry Club officially set the breed standard but in 1930, Welsummer chickens were admitted into the Poultry Club of Great Britain.
Despite being a breed that doesn’t fly very well, they are described as lightweight and soft feathered.
The Welsummer bantam was established in 1930 after much breed refinement in Germany and the UK.
By the year 1991, these chickens started to make an impression in the US and they were accepted into the American Poultry Association.
Accepted Color Varieties
The colors that are an accepted standard for this breed include Partridge, Golden Duckwing, and Silver Duckwing.
Chickens that have white earlobes and lack five distinct points on the comb are disqualified from the standard.
Breed standards are an important part of identifying the purity of the breed and for distinguishing Welsummers from other chickens.
How to Sex Welsummer Chicks?
Welsummer chicks are not auto-sexed; however, you can tell the difference between male and female hatchlings at a day old. Male chicks or Cockerels have a slight dark stripe across the eye with a red-brown coloring on top of their heads.
The pullets have a darker head and a very defined stripe over their eyes.
Are Welsummer Hens Good Layers?
Welsummer hens are great egg layers and you can expect them to lay anywhere between 160 to 250 eggs each year.
They are described as prolific layers and often produce 4 eggs per week.
Generally speaking, the average hen will lay 200 eggs annually provided that she has a private coop to nest in and a well-balanced diet.
You can add a shell-grit as a free choice for extra calcium especially if you notice poorly developed or thin eggshells.
It is believed that the greater the egg production, the less “pure” the Welsummer.
How Early Can Welsummer Chickens Lay an Egg?
Hens will start laying eggs at around 20 weeks of age but don’t be surprised if they lay their first egg at 18 weeks old.
Much like any other breed, they tend to lay eggs towards the spring and summer months when temperatures are warmer.
How Long will Welsummer Chickens Lay Eggs?
Welsummers can lay eggs up until 4 to 5 years of age after which you will notice a decrease in the number of eggs they produce every season.
What Color Eggs Do Welsummer Hens Lay?
Welsummers will lay a large brown egg but not just any brown egg that you would find at a grocery store!
Welsummer eggs have a rich dark brown pigment that ranges from a moderate chocolate brown to terracotta.
Some of their dark brown eggs are also speckled making a rather interesting egg color.
See how welsummer eggs look in the short clip below…
The egg color of chickens will become lighter as they age, so the Welsummer’s dark brown eggs may turn cream to white as they stop producing an eggshell color.
Are Welsummers Winter Layers?
Even though they are cold hardy, Welsummers are not winter layers compared to other breeds such as the Brahma or the Cochin. So expect them to lay fewer eggs during cold seasons.
Their egg laying tends to slow down when temperatures dip but they do make up for it in spring when they get back into churning out those eggs!
Are Welsummer Hens Broody?
The Welsummer is not a broody hen but despite them not making good mothers, they are good layers.
You can depend on your hen to consistently provide eggs but if you are looking for a bird to hatch and raise baby chicks, you’ll need to find other breeds.
Are Welsummers Good Meat Birds?
These chickens were originally bred for meat purposes and despite being classified as lightweight, they have tender quality meat with rooster carcasses providing the best table fare.
Behavior and Temperament
The Welsummer is described as having a docile temperament and is quite an intelligent bird.
When you frequently interact with them they will learn to trust you and may even help you out in the garden, even if you don’t ask for it!
They love to follow their keepers around and will happily forage about the yard which is an important part of keeping them stimulated and healthy.
Foraging is a simple way to reduce coop stress when birds remain confined for too long.
You can also get your friendly birds to eat out of your hand with a little bit of time and patience.
Welsummers are great pets and you may be surprised to find that they make a good lap chicken too.
They are also fairly good with children but should always be monitored and gently handled.
Are Welsummer Chickens Aggressive?
Welsummers are such docile birds that they do well in a mixed flock. You might think that such a friendly chicken would be bullied by other birds but Welsummers are no pushover.
They are usually in the middle of the pecking order and will stand their ground when it comes to food and territory but not to the point of becoming bullies themselves.
To encourage harmony inside the chicken coop, provide these birds with a spacious enclosure and a few hiding places.
Tree stumps and a chicken swing are simple and effective ways of helping the gentler chickens get away from more rambunctious birds.
Are Welsummer Chickens Noisy?
Yes, Welsummers are noisy birds and become quite loud if they’re upset, feel threatened, or have been kept indoors for too long.
So you might just have to share some of those brown eggs with your neighbors to keep the peace.
Is the Welsummer Good for First Time Chicken Keepers?
Considered hardy, independent, and intelligent birds, these chickens are ideal for first-time backyard chicken keepers.
When you address their basic needs by providing a fair-sized coop, private nesting boxes, and the opportunity to free range, they will reward you with a shining personality and bountiful, beautiful eggs.
Is the Welsummer a Healthy Breed?
Welsummers are not known to suffer from any specific health issues and with the necessary care, coop setup, and feed you will find that your birds thrive and live a full healthy life.
Welsummers love to go outdoors and will get into shrubs and bushes to hunt down insects and grasses, but this also makes them prone to internal and external parasites including lice and mites.
You can help your chickens stay pest-free by creating an area for them to dust bath. Chickens should also be wormed twice a year with a poultry-approved wormer or natural supplements.
These birds can live up to 9 years old in favorable conditions.
This includes the proper environment, feed, and the absence of stress in the chicken coop.
Do Welsummers Tolerate Cooler Climates?
This breed tends to perform better in cold climates than other chickens that are adapted to the winter season such as the feather-legged Brahma.
Despite their lack of fluffiness and their rather large single combs, they are such good foragers you will even find them out and about in thick layers of snow.
Their large single combs can become frostbitten in cold temperatures but you can apply petroleum jelly to the combs and wattles of chickens to protect them against such injuries.
When the temperature hits freezing, the hens might stop laying eggs altogether. It is important to give them protection against severe conditions, especially harsh snow, wind, and rain with a well-insulated coop.
Another common question is whether Welsummers do well in hot weather? These birds can tolerate heat or warm temperatures but they need help to combat the hot weather.
A well-ventilated coop with enough shade and access to water can prevent heat stress.
Why is the Welsummer the Right Breed for You?
Welsummers are friendly, curious, and they are quite a healthy breed so you won’t have to provide any special care to keep these birds.
If you don’t have enough yard space to house the Welsummer, you can think about the bantam variety.
Welsummer bantams lay a light color egg compared to their standard-sized cousins.
They are naturally free range birds and even in cold weather, you’ll find them outside looking for the odd grub or a few seeds.
You can rely on this breed to consistently lay eggs but they will slow down during winter. Because they are such reliable layers, you may not find a broody hen so you’ll have to consider broody chicken breeds if you want to hatch eggs.
Welsummer hens lay beautiful dark brown eggs, up to 250 per year, and as a dual purpose breed, they provide fairly good table fare too.
As a breed from the Netherlands, they quickly made their way to other parts of Europe and eventually the US where they were accepted into the American Poultry Association in the 1990s.
Welsummers are also a healthy breed that enjoys foraging. Allow them to free range while keeping an eye out for predators.
By encouraging them to forage, it helps them find small stones to act as grit and prevent crop issues.
This breed is described as friendly and smart, so you can easily teach them to eat from your hand or to come when called.
Use their favorite treats as positive reinforcement and your Welsummers will follow you every time you’re in the yard.
Feel Free To Share!
I hope you found our guide to the Welsummer helpful and enjoyable, so please share with your fellow chicken hobbyists who are thinking about getting a Welsummer or who may be looking for a dual purpose bird.
Should you want a chicken that is friendly, lays plenty of eggs, and is an all-around winner for the backyard coop, then the Welsummer is perfect for you.