Welsummer

Posted

Pros: Beautiful birds and eggs, hardy, good foragers, good producers of lovely speckled or dark brown eggs

Cons: Can't think of any.

I spent months researching what breed I wanted when I decided to get chickens about 4 years ago.  I settled on the Welsummer for their reputaion as a great back-yard all-purpose bird, which is what they were designed to be.  I also liked the idea of a dark brown or speckled egg.  When I read Will's descrription of them on teh Whitmore Farm website (www.whitmorefarm.com) as his friendliest breed, who laid his customers' favorite eggs, I was sold.  I drove down to his farm in western Maryland and brought home five of his babies, and enjoyed a wonderful tour of his gorgeous, well-managed operation.  My girls started laying at four months (!) and one of them imediately went broody -- rare for a Wellie.  My youngest son was entranced-- i remember watching him out the window one morning as he ran laughing into the coop, and came out with the broody pullet, Mrs. White.  He plunked her down on trhe seat of our garden tractor, where she sat as stil as a statue for 30 minutes.  When I asked him why he did this, he replied delightedly, "You can pick that chicken up and put her anywhere, and she just sits there!"  After she got over her little hormonal fit, she became my best layer.  alll five had very distinct egg patterns, shapes and sizes.  They are great foragers, super-smart, with great survival instincts. They all seem to prefer to forage for seedheads on grasses rather than bugs, except for butterflies and moths, for some reason!  I have four of the five left after four years.

The largest, heaviest one (probably close to 8 lbs) was found dead in my yard during a 100+ degree  humid day (I am in Delaware).  They have a nice grassy, shaded yard and plenty of water, but she was a big. heavy girl and it was just to much, I guess.  Cold does not bother them, though they hate walking in snow (as do all my chickens).  They are all still beautiful, a testament to their good breeding, I am sure.  I get about an egg a week now from each, and what I love is that their eggs, unlike my other older hens', never got excessively large as they aged.  They are nice, large, perfectly-shaped and speckled, which I love.  they get lighter toward the end of the cycle, which is normal.  They laid through the winter for two years, and started to taper off their third year, but I love their peronalities, so I will never put them down.  They are laid back, but don't allow anyone to bully them, including the roos! They like to be around people, and come running when I go out, although they have never loved being held.  If I need to handle them, I get them off the roost in the evening.  I imagine they would make good table birds, too, being heavy, but I can't say since I could never bring myself to eat them ( although I have slaughtered and eaten others -- usually roos, or hens who were mean to other hens). I also have buff orps, Aussies, sex links, and have had barred rocks, but the Wellies are my favorite, and my egg customers love their speckled eggs the best.  Once the coop got inadvertently closed and they could not get in.  I got home after dark and saw this, and went out with a guilty, heavy heart.  I looked around their yard and eventually found them all -- cleverly hidden under various objects like the wheelbarrow, a piece of plywood resting against the fence, etc. I tucked them under my arm and placed each one  lovingly in their coop, none the worse for wear.  They quietly murmered what sounded like " thanks" and hopped up on the roost.  They have never been sick.  My favorite whistles a quiet little song to me if I talk to her on her roost when they first go in, while she gently rocks back and forth.  What's not to love?   

Posted

Pros: 5-6 eggs a week, VERY friendly (follows me around the yard) pretty

Cons: haven't found any yet

I love my welsummer hen stella. she was my first chicken and she is the best. she lays well, and she is soo freindly. (probably because she was raised by a class of kindergardeners) she forages well, and i had her free range all summer and she didnt need any feed although i did give her seeds and such every once in a while because she was eating things on my property all day. she is also a survivor. she was sharing the coop with four pullets when one night a raccoon dug under the wire. all four pullets were eaten, but stella, the survivor-survived. she also survived 3 nights in the deep woods of connecticut surrounded by a group of foxes. she his in a tree and we finally found her after shooing away a bunch of foxes. she is amazing. I don't know if i got lucky with her, but if she is the average welsummer, get a flock of them. 

Posted

Pros: Calm, pretty yellow legs & feet, likes to be held

She is very calm and is neither on top of the pecking order or on the bottom.  She likes to forage yet seems content in the run. As a chick, all she wanted was to be held- she would fly over the brooder wall, land on my lap and sleep.  Now a  young pullet, she doesn't mind being held, but no longer seeks me out.  I look forward to her dark brown eggs. Good experience thus far. 

Posted

Pros: Unsure but first eggs at 20 weeks

Cons: They started out to be the most anti-social chickens in the world!

Although my girls started out anti-social and would not allow me near them even if I had treats...I can now say since they are starting to mature and attempting to lay eggs...my girls are now becoming hand tame...They squat down and spread their wings a little (makes me think of them breeding) and now let me pet them.  One hen is very vocal since the rooster was killed.  She watches out and allows certain feral cats to lay beside their pen area and 2 other feral cats get near, it sounds like WW3 breaking loose.  She stands her ground until I go and chase off the "bad" cats...then she calms down.  I really like my girls now more than I originally had.  But my favorites are the 3 Turkens (dinosaur chickens...lol) which have always been friendly.  So I now have the 3 Turkens and 12 Welsummers.

Posted

Pros: Lovely dark brown eggs, good forager

Cons: ok layer, goes broody

Love our Wellsummer Penny. She's about in the middle of the scale for friendliness: will eat out of my hand but does not like being picked up. Not aggressive with other hens, nor is she picked on. She goes broody once a year, and this year we slipped some fertile eggs under her. She's a great forager too, and eats all my slugs and snails. Good looking bird, but the best part are her lovely dark brown eggs!

Posted

Pros: great freerangers and feed conversion

Cons: none

Hands down my favorite of our breeds.  I've heard of sometimes getting a nasty natured roo, but in the 4 years we've had them- not a one!  Hens are good sized and very thrifty with their feed.  Great consistant egg color and eggs.  I can't say about hatchery birds, but from the lines I've got these are fantastic!  If I had to only have one breed it'd be wellies.

Posted

Pros: Dark eggs, robust bird, good forager, quiet, non-agressive

Cons: hens seem to look for more of a secluded nest...may lay in the weeds

My Welsummers have been a great addition to the flock. We were trying to add darker egg color to the flock, so we kept a rooster for breeding. He is the most docile rooster we have ever had. He's quiet, and is a gentle breeder, doing the job without a lot of fuss or roughness. Hens are calm and quiet but avoid human contact.

 

The hens are productive, coming into production at around 20 weeks, like most of the heavies we have raised. They free range well, actively foraging through the brush and fields, with their neutral colors giving them a natural camouflage. They don't spend much time at the feeder. The hens do seem to seek out privacy for nesting, but for the most part they are using the nest boxes. Egg are large to x-large, dark brown, and firm shelled. Fertility has been excellent.

 

I can't offer any info on table qualities....we haven't processed any of these.

 

My experience is limited on this breed. Five chicks purchased from a hatchery a year ago. We free-range, with chickens closed into a pen at night. Ad lib layer pellets. 15 hour light regimen is maintained year round.

 

I would not hesitate to get more Welsummers, and make sure to stuff a couple of Welsummer eggs under every hen who goes broody.

Posted

Pros: Huge, beautiful eggs; long laying season; hardy; friendly, but not cuddly

Cons: Seem to prefer to free range (not a con for me, but might be for some)...which does mean searching for eggs upon occasion.

Bought my Wellsummers from Lenster here on BYC...I will definitely be getting more at some point. They have been such a joy, and their eggs are literally remarkable. People always comment on their size and color when they buy eggs.

The hens are very friendly, although they don't love being picked up. They do love being "in your business" when you are out doing things. Mine decided early on that coop life wasn't for them, and they pop out and free range every day. They are pretty aware, though, as I live where there are all kinds of land and air predators and haven't ever lost any.

One of my 4 did go broody, and was an excellent mother. She was the most ferocious guardian of her chicks of all my broodies.

Posted

Pros: Attractive eggs, fits in well w/flock

Cons: flighty, so-so layer, too small for dual purpose

A beautiful bird that produces very attractive speckled terra cotta eggs,  Ours have fit in well with other birds in our flock, being neither dominant nor timid.

Posted

Pros: Sweet Dispositions Curious

Cons: Young are a bit flighty

One of my favorite birds is a Welsummer I called "Gah" got the type of noise she makes. She broke her leg and I kept her seperated in a dog crate in our garage while it healed. She would call after me every morning when I left her in the garage during that time with a very pitiful "Gaaaahhh" sound every day. The name stuck. I love the coloration on the Welsummers. Golden to orange brown on the neck, and golden to reddish brown on the breast with fine speckling throughout. Beautiful! I had to give up my Wellie roo before I could see his coloration all come out, but he went to a good family who needed a Roo.

Welsummer
Description:

The Kelloggs Cereal rooster is none other than the Welsummer. The Welsummer is prized for their large dark brown egg, some mottled with brown spots. They originated in Welsum, Holland and are made up from the following breeds; Partridge Cochin, Partridge Wyandotte, Partridge Leghorn and later Barnvelder and Rhode Island Red. They are bred towards good layers of large dark brown eggs along with beauty. They have yellow skin and are a nonsitting breed.

Details:
DetailValue
Breed PurposeDual Purpose
CombSingle
BroodinessSeldom
Climate ToleranceCold
Egg ProductivityMedium
Egg SizeLarge
Egg ColorDark Brown
Breed TemperamentFriendly,Easily handled,Calm,Bears confinement well
Breed Colors/VarietiesRed Partridge
Breed SizeLarge Fowl
APA/ABA Class
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC

Chicken Breed Info:

Breed Purpose: Dual Purpose
Comb: Single
Broodiness: Seldom
Climate Tolerance: Cold

General Egg Info:

Egg Productivity: Medium
Egg Size: Large
Egg Color: Dark Brown

Breed Temperament:

Friendly,Easily handled,Calm,Bears confinement well

Breed Colors / Varieties:

Red Partridge

Breed Details:

I was awestruck the first time I saw a flock of Welsummers free ranging. The roosters were breathtaking with their bright colors and size, and the hens had an understated beauty. Then someone showed me an egg and I gasped at the wonderful color and size. I was hooked. In my experience they are a gentle, although not overly friendly breed. They take confinement well.

Hens are very independent and do not tend to go broody. I have heard of roosters being mean but mine have been pretty laid back. Beware dark eggs can be tricky to hatch. Following is some information from the American Poultry Association Standard of Perfection:

Standard Weights:

  • Cock 7 pounds
  • Cockerel 6 pounds
  • Hen 6 pounds
  • Pullet 5 pounds

According to the standard colors for males:

  • Comb, face, wattles and earlobes: Bright red. The comb having five regular and distinct points.
  • Beak: Dark horn shading to yellow at point
  • Eyes: Reddish bay
  • Head: Rich golden brown
  • Neck: Hackle - rich golden brown as uniform as possible, free from black striping, some striping allowed in under feathers; Front of neck: same as breast
  • Back: Bright reddish brown; Saddle - Rich golden brown as uniform as possible, free from black striping, some striping allowed in under feathers.
  • Tail: Main tail - lustrous, greenish black; Sickles - lustrous, greenish black; Upper coverts - black; Lower coverts - black edged with brown.
  • Wings: Shoulder front and bows - bright reddish brown; Coverts - lustrous, greenish black forming a wing bar when the wing is folded. A little brown peppering is permissible; Primaries - upper web black; lower web brown; Secondaries - upper web black with brown peppering, lower web brown.
  • Breast: Black with red mottling
  • Body and Fluff: Black and red mottling
  • Legs and Toes: Thighs - black with red mottling; Shanks and toes - yellow.
  • Undercolor of all sections: Slate

According to the standard colors for females are same as males except:

  • Head: Golden brown
  • Neck: Hackle - golden brown or copper, lower feathers with black striping and a golden shaft; Front of neck: same as breast
  • Back: Reddish brown, each feather stippled with black and having a distinct lighter shaft.
  • Tail: Main trail - black; Coverts - black edged with brown.
  • Wings: Bows - same as back; Coverts - chestnut brown; Primaries - upper web black, slightly peppered with brown; lower web brown; Secondaries - upper web black slightly peppered with brown; lower web brown coarsely stippled with black.
  • Breast: Rich, chestnut red going well down.
  • Body and Fluff: Brown with gray shading
  • Legs and Toes: Thighs - same as breast; Shanks and toes - yellow.

Disqualifications:

  • White earlobes

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