Welsummer Chicken: Care Guide, Color Varieties and More

Welsummers are slowly becoming popular here in the US.

They are earning a reputation for being a friendly, delightful and self-sufficient.

She also lays a deep red terracotta colored egg with speckles.

The egg is almost as pretty as the hen herself!

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the Welsummer Chicken…

Welsummer Hen

Welsummer Overview

The Welsummer was first shown to the world back in the 1920s in Holland.

They became popular very quickly for their unusual ability to lay dark brown eggs.

Welsummer’s exact origins are unknown, but whatever breeds were used they created a winning combination!

She is an excellent forager, very intelligent and also low maintenance. They are friendly to their humans and enjoy helping out in the garden.

Most people keep this lovely chicken for their eggs.

Each Welsummer Chicken will give you around four dark brown eggs each week.

Whilst they are slowly establishing a foothold here in the US this breed has been popular in the UK and Europe for many decades now.

Overall the Welsummer has a lot to offer for a homesteader or a small backyard flock.

Welsummer
Beginner Friendly: Yes.
Lifespan: 5-8 years.
Weight: Hen (5-6lb) and Rooster (7-8lb).
Color: Partridge, gold duckwing and silver duckwing
Egg Production: 4 per week.
Egg Color: Terracotta.
Known For Broodiness: Occasionally.
Good With Children: Yes when supervised.
Cost of Chicken: $4-$5 per chick.

Why We Love This Breed

  • These chickens lay beautiful dark brown colored eggs.
  • Welsummers have a calm and docile temperament.
  • Because they are not good flyers they are easily contained by low fences.
  • They thrive in cooler climates easily.
  • Do not get broody often which means they lay eggs all year round.

Appearance

Welsummer Hen Close Up

The most popular Welsummer is the red partridge pattern so we will describe this variety here.

She stands very upright.

Her head will have a single comb, wattles and ear lobes that are all red colored.

Their plumage is a golden/brown color on the neck leading into a more overall brown color on the body. You will notice her underfluff is slightly lighter.

Her eyes are a reddish bay color while her beak is a short, stout and horn color.

Their back is moderately long and broad leading up to a tail that is held high.

As for their legs they are yellow skinned and they should be clean from feathers.

The rooster is completely different from the hen.

His comb is of course larger and he has large wattles. His plumage is golden brown on the hackles and saddle feathers with a triangular wing patch. Their chest is beetle green as are their wings and sickles.

Size and Weight

Although they are considered a light breed the Welsummer actually weighs about the same as many heavy breeds.

  • The roosters weigh in around 7-8lb.
  • Hens will weigh 5-6lb.
  • The bantam variety is 34oz for the males and 30oz for the females.

Colors

The most popular Welsummer color variety is the red partridge.

However you can also find gold duckwing and a silver duckwing Welsummer. However the duckwing varieties are very rare and currently limited to continental Europe.

What Is It Like To Own A Welsummer?

Welsummer Chicken

This breed loves to be active and scour the garden for tasty tidbits. You will find Welsummers outside roaming in all weather conditions – sun, rain and snow!

They are the first out in the morning and last to bed. If you are able to let them free range then your feed bill will go down a lot as they can be almost self-sustaining.

Welsummer Hens rarely go broody but when they do they are notoriously rotten mothers.

They seem to forget all about the chickens so you will need to have either your brooder or a broody hen on standby.

Personality

The Welsummer is a friendly hen that will come to you (with a little bribery) and eat from your hand.

Although they do not mind being picked up they are not really lap chickens – but they are very human oriented. Small children should be supervised around them as they will not tolerate feather pulling and may peck back.

She is intelligent, curious and always ready to check out something new and interesting.

They are not at all aggressive even with other breeds, although they will stand their ground if there is a bully around.

However they really do prefer a peaceful existence.

Some roosters can be aggressive but I have never had trouble with my boys. They tend to be smart enough to realize you are not a rival or threat to them.

Overall this is a low maintenance and easy to handle breed that is ideal for beginners.

Egg Production

Welsummers are well known for laying lovely deep red terracotta shade.

These eggs occasionally have speckles on them too. Some people call the eggs chocolate but I think that is a bit misleading.

She will lay around 4 eggs each week, or around 200 eggs each year.

Egg Production
Eggs Per Week: 4 Eggs.
Color: Deep red terracotta.
Size: Large.

Noise Levels

These chickens are mid-level noise makers.

If they want something or see you coming they can get quite loud with their greeting. They will be quiet once you have greeted or fed them.

They will also let you know if something is bothering them or they are unhappy about something. Mine will get noisy if they spot a hawk and the rooster is quick to sound the alarm too.

Their egg song can be loud and proud with everyone joining in.

This makes them unsuitable if you have close neighbors who do no like chickens.

Facts About This Breed

  1. They were developed in the Netherlands after World War I.
  2. Welsummer eggs are terra cotta brown with speckles.
  3. Partridge, silver duckwing and gold duckwing are the most popular color variations.
  4. She tolerates confinement well but prefers to be roaming the fields.
  5. This breed is auto-sexed which means the males and females look different as chicks.

Welsummer Chicken Care Guide

Welsummer

Health Issues

Welsummers are healthy chickens and only suffer from a handful of problems other than the usual bird parasites.

They should be checked regularly for lice, and mites and treated accordingly. Some people will treat routinely while others will treat as necessary. There is no right or wrong way, it is your choice.

Worms can be a problem too.

If you can you should take a fecal sample to the veterinarians every so often. This will give you an idea of the worm load of your chickens.

Again some folks treat regularly while others only treat when there is a problem.

One problem that may arise if you live in a cold climate is frostbite. Because the roosters have large combs and wattles you should keep a jar of Vaseline on hand ready.

Feeding

Welsummer Chick

Welsummer Chicks should be fed a 20% (or better) protein crumble for their first 16 weeks of life.

Once they reach the point of lay they should be moved over to 16% layer feed, pellets or crumble.

You should offer up a separate container of oyster shell for the ladies that want it. It will help with shell quality and bone health. They should also be offered insoluble grit as soon as you start feeding them on greens or foods other than regular feed – this will help the digestion process.

Always have clean fresh water available for them.

Coop Setup and Roaming

Welsummers are standard sized chickens so the standard four square feet per chicken applies here.

They are usually a peaceful bird and not prone to pecking or fighting. Their peaceful nature can lead to bullying from other chickens though. So if you have a mixed flock make sure to give them at least six square feet of coop space per chicken.

As for roosts, they do not much mind being close to their neighbors so 8-10 inches of roosting space per chicken will be adequate. As always though if you can give them more room they will be able to spread their wings a bit.

A 12×12 nesting box will fit Welsummers nicely.

They do seem to prefer to lay in a box area rather than an open area so make sure you have enough boxes for them.

One box for every three hens should do it.

However even with this may boxes they will have a favorite box that they all want to use at the same time.

Now finally for roaming space.

Welsummers love to free range and they are good foragers. They will supplement their feed intake with tasty snacks found in the yard.

Their partridge plumage does give them some camouflage from predators but they are also quite predator savvy and do not tend to wander too far from the flock.

If you are going to keep them in a run then make sure to give them 8-10 square feet each.

You will also need to give them lots of things to hold their interest such as: leaf piles, dirt to scratch in, dust bathing area and cabbage pinata.

Welsummer Chicken Breed History

Welsummer Rooster

The Welsummer breed came into existence just after the end of World War 1.

This is a Dutch breed and they were named after the town of Welsum which is about halfway between Amsterdam and the German border.

Welsummer’s history is a little obscure.

We do know that there were many landrace birds in the area and with the influx of birds from the far Eastern countries many people were trying out different combinations to create a good dual purpose chicken.

Whatever the parental origins were the Dutch succeeded in creating a very reliable dual purpose chicken.

The Welsummer Chicken was unveiled in Hague at the World Poultry Congress in 1921 where it was met with great enthusiasm by the gathered poultry experts and breeders.

Dark brown eggs were a key ingredient to the success of the Welsummer.

At that time the European market got most of their eggs from Holland and there was a high demand for dark brown eggs (especially from the UK). The breed eventually made its way to England in 1927 and was accepted into the Poultry Club of Great Britain in 1930 as a soft feathered light breed.

Welsummers were exported to America in the late 1920s.

Here they gained a moderate following but it was not accepted into the American Poultry Association until 1991.

Since then there has been a slow but steady increase in the number of folks who have been charmed by this lovely dual purpose chicken.

Should You Keep This Breed? (Summary)

If you are looking for a low maintenance chicken that lays beautiful deep brown colored eggs then I urge you to give Welsummers a try.

They are a hardy breed and will roam outside in all but the foulest of weather.

We have six inches of snow on the ground here and the Wellies are out foraging every day!

They tolerate heat pretty well too as long as they have somewhere shady to retreat to and some cool water to drink.

Given time this breed is very friendly and will eat from your hand.

Let us know your questions in the comments section below…

Chris Lesley Bio Picture
Chris Lesley has been Raising Chickens for over 20 years and is a fourth generation chicken keeper. She can remember being a young child when her grandad first taught her how to hold and care for chickens. She also holds a certificate in Animal Behavior and Welfare and are interested in backyard chicken health and care. Her work has been shared on HuffPost, Mother Nature Network, Community Chickens, Mother Earth News and many more outlets. Today Chris keeps 11 chickens including 4 Buff Orpingtons, 4 Rhode Island Reds and 3 Silkies. She is our backyard chicken expert at Chickens And More, and shares her knowledge on raising healthy, happy chickens with our readers. You can contact Chris at chris@chickensandmore.com

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