Welsummer Chicken: Breed Profile, Facts & Pictures

Welsummer chicken standing on green grass

If you’re considering expanding your flock or if you’re a beginner seeking the perfect first chicken, the Welsummer chicken is one you don’t want to miss. These birds are a delightful combination of beauty and productivity.

With their stunning reddish-brown plumage with black and gold accents, Welsummers make stunning additions to any backyard. They also add productivity to the coop by laying large, uniquely speckled brown eggs.

This article is here to walk you through everything you need to know about Welsummer chickens, from their appearance to their egg-laying skills. So, if you want to learn more, keep reading!

Welsummer Chicken Quick Facts

Breed Purpose:Dual-purpose (meat and eggs)
Weight:Roosters: 6–7 lbs (2.7–3.2 kg); 
Hens: 5–6 lbs (2.2–2.7 kg)
Temperament:Friendly, docile, noisy
Color Varieties:Partridge, Silver Duckwing, Gold Duckwing
Egg Production:160–250 eggs per year
Egg Color:Dark brown with speckles
Egg Size:Large
Broodiness:Low to moderate
Cold Tolerance:Good
Heat Tolerance:Moderate
Lifespan:5–8 years
Unique Features:Lays brown speckled eggs
Beginner Friendly:Yes

What Is a Welsummer Chicken?

Welsummer hen looking to the side

The Welsummer chicken is a medium-sized dual-purpose breed that comes from the Netherlands. These birds are known for their eye-catching reddish-brown feathers adorned with black and gold markings. But what really sets them apart is their ability to lay large, dark brown eggs with speckles.

Besides their excellent egg-laying capabilities, Welsummers have a friendly and docile temperament, which makes them popular choices for backyard flocks. They’re also good foragers and adapt well to various environments.

People usually keep them for their eggs, but some also raise them for meat, although it’s not as common.

Welsummer chickens are classified as a Continental breed and are currently recognized by reputable poultry organizations like the American Poultry Association (APA) and the British Poultry Standards.

Welsummer Chicken Origin and History

Group of Welsummer chickens on green grass

Originating in the Netherlands, specifically in Welsum, Welsummer chickens emerged shortly after World War I.

It’s believed that this breed is a unique mix of several local chickens, including Partridge Cochins, Partridge Wyandottes, Partridge Leghorns, Barnevelders, and Rhode Island Reds.

The breed’s official introduction to the world was at the Hague’s World Poultry Congress in 1921, where it impressed poultry experts and enthusiasts with its beauty and prolific egg-laying.

Their dark brown eggs quickly became a signature feature, earning them worldwide fame.

Welsummers arrived in England in 1927 and then in America around 1928, where they gained a steady following. However, it took until 1991 for the American Poultry Association to officially recognize them.

Welsummer Chicken Appearance

Welsummer hen in sharp focus

Welsummer chickens come in a variety of captivating colors, including Partridge, Silver Duckwing, and Gold Duckwing. Among these, the Partridge variety stands out as the crowd favorite, and that’s what we’ll focus on here.

The roosters are particularly eye-catching, with feathers that have this beautiful mix of deep reds and shiny copper colors.

They have golden-brown neck feathers and bright red-brown feathers on their backs and shoulders. Their breast and tail feathers are mostly black with a subtle green shine.

Hens, on the other hand, are more subdued in color. They have a more uniform reddish-brown coloration throughout.

Their heads have a lovely golden sheen that fades into a lighter brown on the rest of their bodies. Their tail feathers are also black, but they don’t have the same glossy sheen as the roosters.

Both genders exhibit an upright stance, along with a long, flat back. They also have red combs, wattles, and earlobes that contrast nicely against their colorful feathers, while their yellow skin completes their look.

If you want to see these stunning birds in action, check out the video below:

Welsummer Chicken Breed

Welsummer Chicken Size and Weight

Fitting into the category of medium-sized breeds, Welsummer chickens are pretty sturdy birds. Roosters typically weigh around 7 to 8 pounds, while hens are a bit lighter, with most weighing between 5 and 6 pounds.

Despite being classified as a lighter breed, they’re not exactly lightweight. They hold their own and are about as hefty as some of the bigger chicken breeds out there.

Their solid build is one of the many traits that make them a favored choice among poultry enthusiasts.

Welsummer Chicken Temperament and Behavior

Welsummer rooster standing on a forest floor

Welsummer chickens are known for their friendly and easy-going nature. They don’t mind interacting with people, and it’s not rare to see a Welsummer chicken happily eating right out of your hand.

In my daily encounters with my Welsummer chickens, I’ve noticed that while they’re usually calm and docile, they aren’t too fond of cuddling or being held too much.

However, these sweet-natured birds do enjoy socializing within their flock. They often engage in gentle interactions, and it’s always fun to observe their friendly antics.

These chickens are also quite active. They enjoy free-ranging and are excellent foragers, always busy in their search for food. They’re happy wanderers but do just fine in a coop or run as well.

Overall, Welsummer chickens strike a balance between independence and sociability. They are not overly aggressive or flighty, making them a great choice for both novice and experienced chicken keepers.

Egg Production and Broodiness of Welsummer Chickens

Welsummer chickens are known to lay around 160 to 250 eggs per year. What makes these eggs truly special is their deep brown color and dark speckles.

It is worth noting, however, that not every Welsummer hen will lay speckled eggs. While all Welsummer chickens have the ability to lay spotted eggs, only a few will do so regularly, if at all.

In my experience with Welsummer hens, I’ve noticed that they typically start laying eggs around 20 weeks old, and it’s quite common for them to begin laying before they hit 24 weeks.

However, it’s essential to remember that each hen is unique, and the exact timing can differ from one hen to another.

Regarding broodiness, Welsummer hens show a moderate tendency. They can occasionally go broody, especially in the springtime, which is great if you’re looking to hatch some eggs.

That said, they are not known for being overly broody and are generally considered to be average mothers.

Welsummer Chicken Care Guide

Front facing Welsummer hen on a gravel path

Caring for Welsummer chickens is relatively easy as long as you know how to meet their specific needs. To help you out, below are some essential guidelines on how to provide the best care for these lovely birds.

Feeding and Nutrition

To keep your Welsummer chickens healthy and happy, feed them good-quality poultry feed with 16% to 18% protein for strong eggs and overall wellness.

Moreover, offer supplementary treats such as fruits, vegetables, and mealworms for variety and additional nutrients. Monitor their body condition regularly and adjust feed portions accordingly.

You can also incorporate grit for effective digestion and calcium supplements or crushed oyster shells to promote strong eggshells.

Further, always make sure your Welsummer chickens have clean water available, as staying hydrated is vital for egg laying.

Housing and Shelter

Creating a suitable home for your Welsummer chickens involves thoughtful planning. First, ensure the coop provides at least 2 to 3 square feet per chicken, providing enough room for easy movement.

For outdoor activities, set up a spacious chicken run with around 8 to 10 square feet per chicken, as Welsummers are active birds and benefit from the freedom to forage.

Moreover, construct nesting boxes measuring around 12x12x18 inches to offer comfortable spaces for egg-laying. Choose straw or wood shavings as bedding materials for a dry and comfy environment.

Lastly, install roosting bars 2 to 4 feet above the ground for secure resting spots. A well-built coop with sturdy walls and a protective roof ensures a safe and happy living space for your Welsummers.

Temperature and Lighting

Welsummer chickens are hardy but thrive best within a temperature range of 50 to 75 °F. Ensure their coop is well-ventilated during hotter days to prevent heat stress.

Despite their cold-hardy nature, Welsummers can be prone to frostbite, particularly on combs and wattles. Making sure their coop is well-insulated and providing supplemental heat helps protect them from cold weather.

It’s also important to incorporate natural lighting in the coop, as exposure to sunlight supports their overall health and egg production.

Aim for around 14 to 16 hours of light daily, either through natural sunlight or artificial lighting.

Pro Tip: Shield your Welsummers from frostbite by applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly on their combs and wattles during chilly winter months.

This protective barrier helps ward off the cold, ensuring your feathered friends stay cozy and frostbite-free.

Noise Levels of Welsummer Chickens

Welsummer rooster and hens by a haystack

When it comes to noise levels, Welsummer chickens fall into the mid-range. They’re not the quietest birds in the coop, but they’re not the loudest either.

These chickens tend to vocalize when they need something, are about to lay an egg, or when they’re just plain excited.

If they spot you coming, especially if they associate you with food or treats, they can get quite loud with their greetings. While Welsummers aren’t known for making noise all the time, they do have their dramatic moments.

They might squawk or scream if they’re agitated, disturbed, or feel threatened. However, their noise level is generally moderate and shouldn’t cause too much disturbance.

That said, their tendency to be vocal at times means they might not be the best fit for peaceful urban settings where neighbors are close by.

How Much Does a Welsummer Chicken Cost?

The price of Welsummer chickens can vary depending on where you buy them and the age of the birds. Male chicks are usually the cheapest option, with prices ranging from $3 to $5 each.

If you’re interested in female chicks, they are usually priced a bit higher, ranging from around $5 to $8 each. Meanwhile, unsexed chicks are typically less expensive, with prices varying between $4 and $6 per chick.

You can purchase Welsummer chickens from a variety of sources. Hatcheries are a common option, and many of them offer online ordering.

Some well-known hatcheries include McMurray Hatchery, Chickens for Backyards, Hoover’s Hatchery, My Pet Chicken, and Meyer Hatchery.

Local farms and breeders are another great source for Welsummers. Farms like Hard Run Acres and Smoky Buttes Ranch offer Welsummers and often provide a more personal buying experience.

They might also have more information on the specific lineage of their birds. When buying, it’s always a good idea to factor in any additional costs, like shipping, if you’re not picking up the chicks locally.

Breeding and Raising Welsummer Chicks

Welsummer chick standing on a beige surface

Breeding and raising Welsummer chicks can be a rewarding experience for poultry enthusiasts.

To get started, pick healthy Welsummer hens and a compatible rooster. Ensure they meet the breed’s standards and exhibit desirable traits like good plumage coloration and temperament.

Let them mate naturally and gather their eggs daily for incubation, making sure the incubator stays at the right temperature and humidity.

After hatching, provide a warm brooder for the chicks, gradually reducing the temperature as they grow. A heat lamp can be useful during the early days to maintain the right warmth.

Feed them quality chick starter feed and keep their living space clean. As the chicks grow, monitor their health and isolate any sick individuals.

Moreover, handle the chicks gently to socialize them. Regular interaction can help develop friendly and docile adult birds.

Raising Welsummer chicks is a gratifying journey, whether you’re drawn to their unique appearance or their egg-laying abilities. Following these simple steps will help you raise healthy Welsummer chickens for years to come.

Pro Tip: Keep your flock content by maintaining an appropriate ratio of roosters to hens, usually one rooster for every 8 to 10 hens. This ratio ensures that hens are not stressed from overbreeding.

Frequently Asked Questions

Welsummer rooster standing in green grass

Are Welsummer Chickens Good Egg Layers?

Welsummer chickens are considered good egg layers, averaging around 160 to 250 eggs per year. However, it’s worth noting that their egg production can dip slightly during the winter months.

​​What Color Eggs Do Welsummer Chickens Lay?

Welsummer chickens are renowned for laying eggs with a terracotta hue, a deep reddish-brown color. Many of these eggs also feature little speckles, which adds to their distinct and lovely appearance.

Are Welsummer Eggs Always Speckled?

No, not all Welsummer chicken eggs are speckled. While many Welsummer eggs have those charming speckles, it’s not a guarantee for every egg. Each hen is unique, and the speckling can vary.

Are Welsummer Chickens Autosexing?

Yes, Welsummer chickens are autosexing, which means you can distinguish male from female chicks immediately after they hatch.

Female chicks have more pronounced and darker markings on their heads and backs. Specifically, they often have a dark brown stripe running down their back and darker lines across their eyes.

In contrast, male chicks tend to have lighter and less distinct markings, with their coloration being more evenly spread and not as sharply defined as the females.

So, now that you know all about Welsummer chickens, are you ready to welcome these charming and productive birds to your backyard flock? Feel free to share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!

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