Welsummer chicken breed is a new addition to the poultry world. These feathered friends date back to just 100 years in Holland.
These chickens are ideal for you looking for a dual purpose bird. They do well in small and mixed flocks because they rank at the middle of the pecking order and are not bullies.
Welsummers tolerate free ranging pretty well and do not mind roaming large spaces on the backyard looking for their own food.
So, do you want to know more about this beautiful chicken breed? In this article, I am going to cover everything you need to know about them.
Welsummer Chicken History
As I earlier said, Welsummer chicken is a modern breed in the poultry industry. These chickens were developed in the town of Welsum in the Daventer region, Netherlands.
They made their first appearance at the Hague’s Poultry Congress in 1921. This bird quickly rose to fame and was embraced like a waited guest by many poultry enthusiasts and chicken hobbyists in the Netherlands.
It is not yet very clear how many birds were crossed to develop these chickens because there are no records kept.
Some continue to argue that more than the 3 above breeds were used. With this, the Rhode Island Red, Brahmas and Malay chickens are believed to have contributed their genes. Perhaps, other local birds were used too.
After Welsummer chickens rose to popularity, the people of Welsum erected a monument in honor of this adorable chicken breed that made the name of their town popular.
In addition to that, a Welsummer poultry club was also created to ensure that continued breeding and raising of these chicken goes on for generations.
Welsummer chickens are today scattered all over the world and they are some of the best chicken pets for Prince Charles of the UK.
They are recognized by the American Poultry Association of Standard Perfection where they were admitted in 1991. Additionally, they are also recognized by other poultry associations across the globe.
Characterists of Welsummer chicken
Welsummer chickens are medium sized dual purpose chickens. Although they are good for meat, they are light in weight and don’t weigh as much as a Dong Tao rooster could weigh.
A mature Welsummer rooster weighs about 7lbs while a hen weighs 6lbs. Eye color is reddish bay while the beak is of a horn color.
Additionally, these chickens exhibit red combs, wattles and earlobes. Their single combs have five marked peaks on them just like those of White Leghorn chickens.
The feet are yellow so is the skin color. The legs are clean with no feathers on them. On each foot, there are four well-spaced toes and short claws on them.
Welsummer chickens are known for having a beautiful partridge feather pattern. This makes them very unique in appearance and somewhat different from other hen breeds.
Male Welsummer chickens have a chestnut brown hackle and saddle feathers that fall freely. There is a lustrous beetle green coloring on the saddle and under feathers.
The hens have a dark brown with a light brown or white feather shafts throughout. Feathers on the neck and nape area are golden brown with a dark brown shading.
Although partridge is the recognized color variety, there are Gold Duckwing and Silver Duckwing color varieties of this chicken breed.
There exists a Welsummer bantam variety that was created in 1930. Both the bantam and the large fowl have an identical appearance only that the bantams are smaller in size.
Although they are very similar, the large fowl and the bantam lay different color eggs. Bantams lay light brown eggs unlike the large fowls that lay a terra cotta brown eggs.
Temperament and Hardiness
Welsummer chicken is a calm, curious and friendly bird. These critters are docile and even the roosters pose no threat to your kids.
However, there can be cases of rowdiness because one bird can vary from the other in terms of temperament. Most roosters turn to very aggressive especially to other rooster breeds during the mating season.
These birds will not mind coming close to you to get tasty treats like pineapple, cilantro and watermelon from your hand.
They will prefer to follow you around as you carry own with your duties offering love and affection. However, Welsummer chickens can sometimes be very noisy and loud like Hamburg hens and thus, they are not the best to raise on an urban setting.
Although these chooks can be cuddly, they are not as calm as Red sexlinks chickens are and will sometimes refuse being held or sat on the lap.
They will do well when raised in mixed flocks and will not cause harm to your white hen breeds. These birds are non-aggressive and rank somewhere in the middle of the pecking order.
Welsummer chickens are robust and cold hardy birds. They were developed in a cold region and have therefore developed resistance for cold weather.
Additionally, these birds are good in regions that experience winter and where temperatures fall. However, it is good to know that they can suffer from frostbitten combs so smear Vaseline jelly or new engine oil if they have to go out on the snow.
Egg laying and Broodiness of Welsummer chicken
Most Welsummer pullets begin to lay their first egg at the age of 5-6 months. At this time, they are sexually mature and can mate with the roosters.
Ensure that the chicken coop has enough nest boxes and they get a calcium rich diet. Calcium is a very essential mineral for chickens because it helps in the formation of strong eggshells. Sometimes the first eggs are small but gradually get big towards the peak season.
Welsummer hens are faithful layers of between 160-250 medium sized eggs. These eggs have a brown egg shell color or what some may refer to as terra cotta brown, sometimes with dark speckles.
The inside egg is white and has a medium single yolk of a yellow color. An average Welsummer egg weighs between 58g to 60g on an egg scale.
These chickens are not the type you would rely on for eggs in winter. They will stop to lay during the cold season and take a break until the winter weather is over.
Welsummers do not get broody easily and are the type that lacks motherly instincts. They make awful moms and are not ready to raise their chicks.
If you want to hatch some Welsummer chicks, be ready to power on your egg hatcher or let some broody chicken breeds like Asil chickens and Cochin bantams hatch some for you.
Welsummer chicks and chickens for sale can be bought from dedicated chicken breeders. They can also be sourced from reputable chicken hatcheries like Murray McMurray and Hoover’s hatcheries.
These chickens are sexlinks and telling the gender difference right after hatching is very easy. This feature has made it easy for farmers and hatcheries discard and do away with the gender they are not willing to market or keep.
Welsummer chicken Uses and Free ranging
These chickens are a good dual purpose chicken breed. This means that they can be used for both eggs and meat.
Welsummer hens are faithful layers of between 160-250 medium brown eggs in a year. This number of eggs is not bad and they will always ensure you have enough of them for breakfast especially if you have several hens.
When it comes to meat production, they will give you a fair amount of it enough for a small family. A mature Welsummer rooster will offer about 7lbs while a hen will offer 6lbs.
Welsummer chickens love to roam and range on vast areas on the backyard. Although they do handle confinement pretty well, they can be raised in chicken cages and on deep litter chicken coops.
Free ranging these chickens is very good because they will bring down the cost of feeding them.
They will eat weeds, bugs and insects helping you get rid of those notorious pests on your vegetable farm.
However, when ranging, care must be taken because there might be predators like chicken eating bears and possums stalking on them. Their color has a way of doing them a favor and will camouflage blending well with the surrounding.
Welsummer chicken lifespan
Welsummer chickens are members of the jungle fowl family. These subspecies have a lifespan of between 5-8 years.
However, those chickens kept as pets can live for longer and reach 10 years of age or even more. Chicken pets get better care and live in good conditions giving them a longer lifespan.
On the other hand, some birds will die right after hatching due to mortality related issues, ill health or predation.
Most male chicks are not lucky and will be culled after hatching. Female chicks are spared for laying eggs that are used for food and hatching chicks.
However, female Welsummer chickens will be culled when they will stop to lay as expected. Cockerels and roosters will be sold for meat when they attain the right market weight.
Welsummer chickens are healthy, strong and robust birds. They are hardy and do well in cold regions just like Orloff chickens.
However, their combs are prone to frostbites during winter. When cold season comes, smear the combs with vaseline and confine them in heated chicken pens.
External parasites like chicken lice and scaly mites are a serious threat. These parasites will suck blood, damage the skin and the young developing feathers.
Using small amounts of diatomaceous earth powder in the chicken dust bath will help control them . The DE powder works by dehydrating body oils and moisture from these parasites to death.
Gape worms and thread worms are another threat. These worms live, feed and multiply inside the birds bodies.
To control these worms in chickens, seek advice from a qualified bird vet on the best natural dewormer for chickens to use.
During cold weather, confine the birds indoors because their combs are likely to suffer from frostbites. You can also smear Vaseline jelly on their combs to act as insulation.
Additionally, a chicken coop heater or a sweeter heater will do a good job to keep these birds warm inside their coop. You can also ad a thick layer of bedding to keep them warm during the cold months.
What are the best treats for Welsummer chickens?
Chickens love treats and there are a host of them that you can toss to your birds. Treats are more like chicken gifts and they are meant to entice them or make them happy.
Additionally chicken treats are also used to supplement their diets with some extra nutrients. However, they are not the main diet and should only account for not more than 10% of their diet.
So, what treats are good for chickens?
Fruits are healthy and nutritious to chickens just as they are to you. They are laden with minerals, vitamins and some powerful antioxidants.
It is good to keep in mind that most fruits are sugar rich and should be fed in moderation. Chickens eating too much sugar will became obese and overweight.
Healthy fruits to feed chickens include:
- Straw berries
- Ripe avocado
Nuts are very healthy for chickens. These treats are laden with a host of vital vitamins and minerals that are good for their immune systems.
Just like with other chicken treats, nuts too should be fed sparingly and in moderation. Healthy nuts for chickens include:
- Cashew nuts
- Hazel nuts
- Pine nuts
Herbs are another type of special treats for chickens. They contain rich antioxidants and are very good for the chicken’s immune well-being.
Some good herbs for chickens include:
- Pineapple sage
Vegetables are very good for chickens. Most of them contains no sugars and are thus very safe even when eaten in large amounts.
However, care should be taken when feeding those store bought vegetables. They may contain residues of some heavy agricultural chemicals and pesticides used during the growing period.
Good vegetables to feed to chickens as treats include:
- Green beans
- Bell pepper
- Ripe tomato
- Green beans
Leftovers and table scraps
Most people do not throw away their leftover foods but instead feed them to their chickens. This is fine and dangerous at the same time.
Most of the foods we eat contain too much salt, oils and other spices. Chickens bodies do not need salt, butter and other preservatives.
When feeding chickens leftovers avoid junk foods like chocolate and chips. They are unhealthy for your birds just as they are to you. These foods will make your bird’s heavy and overweight making them prone to joint and back problems.
Some of the leftovers and table scraps chickens eat include:
Mealworms are very healthy and tasty for chickens. Your birds will go nuts if you toss a handful of these dried bugs to them
They are very rich in protein and make good food for molting chickens. Some chicken keepers have gone an extra mile and started keeping mealworms for chickens on their farms.
Cracked corn is a good treat for your grey hens. Tossing a handful of cracked corn will help keep chickens warm on a cold night.
Corn is very rich in carbs and will help keep your roosters strong and healthy. Just like other treats, do not feed cracked corn to chickens alone.
Chicken scratch is another good way to treat your black hen breeds. This tasty treat is available for sale on Amazon or any tractor supply store near you.
You can make chicken scratch at home and help save some cash. It only requires you to mix together some leftover grains and seeds like whole corn, wheat, oat, barley, nuts, sorghum, millet, rice and flax.
Welsummer chickens are good birds to add on your backyard. They are calm, docile and placid birds that can be kept as chicken pets.
These chickens are very cheap and easy to raise because they do well on free ranging. Roaming allows these critters to look for their own food bringing down the cost of feeding them.
Welsummer chicken is a good dual purpose breed. It will make a good table bird offering enough meat for a small family.
They will also ensure you have enough eggs for breakfast and for the market especially if you have several hens.
Do you raise Welsummer chicken? Let us hear from you.
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