Lakenvelder chicken is a beautiful black and white bird worth adding on your backyard. This chicken breed does well on free ranging and do not mind looking for its own food.
However, keep in mind that they are endangered and only a few birds are available today with few dedicated chicken breeders and hobbyists.
Do you want to know more about Lakenvelders? In this article, I am going to take you through these eye cuddly chickens and help you know whether it is the right breed for you to keep or not.
Lakenvelder Chicken History
The history of these chickens is one that is surrounded with controversy. Their exact place of origin remains unclear up to date because there are no records about them.
Several people have given their own opinions about where these fancy looking chickens came from. The two sources that talk of their history have each told their side of the story.
One source says that lakenverder chickens originated from Holland. Here, they were documented in 1727 and their name might have been derived from the village of Lakerveld, South of Holland.
The second source links their ancestry in Germany. In Dielingen area, there were chickens with a black head, neck, tails and a white body.
It is believed that the chickens described in Germany were first taken to a poultry show in Stemwede by a chicken enthusiast called Wirz from Halden in 1835.
Years later, they come to be known as Lakenvelder but their popularity was quickly shot down by the emergence of commercial breeds like the Rhode Island Red.
These chickens were imported to Britain in 1901 and the following year they appeared on a poultry show held in Shrewsbury.
They were admitted to the American Poultry Association in 1939. Lakenvelder chicken is critically endangered and very rare with only a few live chickens remaining.
Characteristics of the Lakenvelder Chicken
Lakenvelders are beautiful black and white chickens. They are naturally fancy in appearance and cannot be matched with other chicken breeds.
Their heads, neck and tail feathers are solid black. The inner primary and secondary wing feathers are of a black color while the rest of the body is white.
These chickens have a close resemblance with the Lakenvelder breed of cattle that traces its ancestry in the Lakerveld region, Holland.
The underside of this chicken may be blue-grey. There are no ticks or spots on them and the most visible plumage colors are black and white.
Combs should be red in color, single and large in roosters with well-marked peaks on them. The wattles will be red too just like the face but the earlobes are white.
Lakenvelder chicken beak is of a dark color and should be short, strong and slightly curved. Eye color is red or chestnut.
The legs are greyish blue and are clean with no feathers on them. On each foot, there are four well-spaced toes with short claws on them.
Lakenvelder roosters hold their tails high while the medium tails of the hens are held at an almost horizontal position with their flat backs.
The Silver lakenvelder chicken is a light to medium chicken breed that does not weigh much. An average Lakenvelder rooster weighs about 5 pounds while a hen weighs 4 pounds.
Temperament and Hardiness
These chickens are known to be docile, calm and friendly. However, the Lakenvelder rooster may turn rowdy and aggressive especially to other rooster breeds during the mating season.
Lakenvelders will make good chicken pets and will not mind to eat from your hand just like Frizzle chickens.
These chickens rank somewhere in the middle of the pecking order so expect them not to cause harm to other chicken breeds or be bullied either.
They are extremely skittish and easily fly like Hamburg hens do when alarmed. Their light weight plus the flightily nature makes the good fence jumpers and you will have to clip the wing feathers often to tame them.
These chickens are the type that do not tolerate confinement. They are adept foragers and will roam far from home and even take matters on their hands and roost on trees.
The Lakenvelder chicken roosters are predator savvy and very alert. This makes them good watchdogs in case there are possums or chicken hawks around stalking on the flock.
These chickens can be noisy but it will mostly happen if they are frightened or when the hen is singing her usual egg song.
Golden lakenvelder chickens and those other color varieties are cold hardy but will do well in hot climates too.
Egg laying and Uses
Female lakenvelder chickens will not start to lay until they are 5-6 months old. When they reach this age, the pullets are seen hanging near nesting boxes and will mate with the roosters from time to time.
The good thing with these chickens is that they are able to mate and breed naturally without any human intervention.
Lakenvelder hens will lay about 160 eggs per year. They will take a few days before they lay so do not expect more than three eggs per week.
Their eggs are medium in size and have a white or cream colored egg shells. These eggs will weigh about 50g on an egg scale.
Chickens and chicks for sale can be bought from reputable chicken hatcheries or from dedicated breeders. However, expect them to be pricy and expensive because of their rarity.
Lakenvelders are known to have sweet and flavorful meat. However, they do not flesh well and are light in weight offering only enough carcass for a small family.
Lakenvelder Chicken Lifespan
Lakenvelder chickens have a lifespan of 5-10 years. However, these chickens can live for longer under good care when confined in chicken cages and deep litter coops.
Additionally, these chickens can live for longer because they do not lay a large clutch of eggs to exhaust their bodies like the Cinnamon Queen’s or the Golden Comets chickens.
Most free ranging chickens will live for short periods compared to those raised in confinement. When ranging, chickens are faced by numerous threats like predators and bad weather that negatively affect their lives.
Those confined or enjoy the privilege to be kept as pets will live for very long. There are stories of chicken pets that lived for 20 years.
A quality diet, good shelter, proper hygiene and general comfort are some of the factors that can lengthen the lifespan of your chickens.
Lakenvelder chickens are strong, healthy and robust chickens. These feathered friends are hardy and tolerant to both cold and hot weather.
However, their large single combs and big wattles will suffer most during winter. If not confined in a heated chicken coop, these chickens risk succumbing to frostbites.
Under hot weather, heat stress will be a serious problem. To keep lakenvelder chickens cold in summer, provide them with enough shaded areas and fill their waterers with cool drinking water to cool down their fluffy bodies.
Internal parasites like chicken worms are another serious health threat. To control gape and thread worms in chickens, seek advice from a bird vet on the best chicken dewormer to administer.
Chicken lice and scaly mites will not spare your chickens either. They live inside the body feathers and only come out at night to lay their eggs on roost bars or in pine shavings.
Adding small amounts of diatomaceous earth in chicken dust bath will help kill those notorious parasites.
Diatomaceous earth works by removing body moisture and oils from parasites thus, dehydrating them to death.
Is Lakenvelder the right breed for you?
This chicken breed is very hardy and will do well when raised on both cold and hot climate areas as long they get the right care.
They will ensure that you have enough eggs for breakfast but not many enough for sale. Are you looking for a chicken breed that can forage and look for its own protein?
Here is one for you. These birds love to roam and collect their own insects, tasty grubs and weeds from your backyard. Free ranging is very good because it will help bring down the cost of feeding them.
These chickens are colorful and eye cuddly making them a beautiful addition on your flock. They are calm docile and friendly making good chicken pets for you and your kids.
Integrating lakenvelders is easy because they are not bullies and will not harass your Swedish flower hen or other calm chickens in the coop. They rank in the middle of the pecking order and have a sweet demeanor towards other flock members.
Tips on Raising Lakenvelder Chicken
Food is very basic to your chickens just like it is to you. Make sure your flock gets enough food that is well-balanced with all the nutrients.
Avoid bad food that is rotten, expired and moldy. Feeding chickens bad food can lead to ill health or even death.
Supplementing your chicken’s diet with treats is good because they will get some extra nutrients. Treats are good and if you have some tasty ones like grapes, cantaloupe and cracked corn, feel free to toss them to your hens.
However, although treats are good for chickens, they should be fed sparingly and in moderation. Most treats for chickens do not have all the nutrients they require and can lead to malnutrition.
Letting your chickens go out and free range is a good way to ensure they have enough food. On the backyard, there are insects, grubs and weeds which are very healthy and nutritious for your hen breeds. However, make sure you supplement what they get on their own with crumbles and pellets to make their stomachs full.
Water will keep chickens hydrated and lack of it can lead to dehydration and even death. However, the water you give to chickens should be clean and fresh.
If you have a large number of chickens, get multiple waterers to ensure that your lakenvelders get equal drinking opportunities.
Regularly check the waterers just in case there is any dirt or algae build up. Clean the drinking troughs when need be and check whether all the nipple drinkers are working.
Chickens live in a coop. It is inside this chicken house where your girls will lay eggs, live and hatch their baby chicks.
A good coop should keep predators and bad weather off your chickens. Make sure it is well ventilated to allow free movement of air.
Your chicken Lakenvelder will require a thick layer of bedding material in winter. Adding a layer of new beddings on the old one is a good way to keep chicken coops warm in winter.
The ratio between roosters and hens is very important. A balance will avoid chaos or unnecessary mating that is not healthy to your hens.
A single lakenvelder rooster will mate with 10 hens. Putting more than one rooster in a pen can lead to fierce battles that can lead to death.
Lakenvelder chicken is a good breed to add on your backyard. These chickens are good at free ranging and the roosters will help look for predators because they are savvy.
The cost of raising these chickens is relatively low. They will look for most of their food bringing the cost of feeding them down.
They are hardy and will do well in both cold and hot climates. However, they can easily die of frostbites so, insulate their combs and wattles in winter with Vaseline jelly or new engine oil.