- Breed Purpose:
- Dual Purpose
- Climate Tolerance:
- Egg Productivity:
- Egg Size:
- Egg Color:
- Dark Brown
- Breed Temperament:
- Friendly, Easily handled, Calm, Bears confinement well
- Breed Colors/Varieties:
- Red Partridge
- Breed Size:
- Large Fowl
The Welsummer breed originated in the town of Welsum, Holland. In the early 1900’s a farmer’s son in the area began concentrating on improving the local birds and he soon developed an exceptional line. His birds were shown at the World's First Poultry Congress in 1921. In the next few years fanciers wrote a breed standard for the Welsummer and in 1927 a Dutch association of Welsummer breeders was formed. The Welsummer became widely known when their eggs were exported to other European countries for the commercial egg trade. There the dark brown eggs were a huge hit with the public. Welsummer hens are justly famous for their very dark terracotta brown eggs, which are often speckled or spotted.
The hens have a nice disposition and do good in mixed flocks. They are also very good layers, with some hens laying up 250 or more eggs a year. The egg color and production make them a very popular addition to backyard flocks for people looking for a dark brown egg to add to the egg basket.
Barnevelders, Rhode Island Reds, and Partridge Leghorns are amongst the breeds that were originally used to create the lines of Welsummers we have today.
The most common color of Welsummer is by far the Partridge, though Silver and Gold Duckwing also exist. They are single combed, the hens are fairly cold hardy and they will go broody occasionally.
The breed was recognized by the APA in 1991.
For more information on this breed and their owners' and breeders' experiences with them, see our breed discussion here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/chicken-breed-focus-welsummer.980204/
Chicken Breed Info:
Breed Purpose: Dual Purpose
Climate Tolerance: Cold
General Egg Info:
Egg Productivity: Medium
Egg Size: Large
Egg Color: Dark Brown
Friendly,Easily handled,Calm,Bears confinement well
Breed Colors / Varieties:
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:
- Cock 7 pounds
- Cockerel 6 pounds
- Hen 6 pounds
- Pullet 5 pounds
- 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
- 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.
- White earlobes
Recent User Reviews
Pros - Pretty eggs, nice temperament
I've had my Welsummer for about 18 months now and really enjoy her. She's chatty and announces to the rest of the flock when I'm coming with treats. She's been a terrific egg layer and the eggs are beautiful. She gets along well with the Cream Legbars and Sapphire that make up the rest of the flock.
"Heat tolerant and good layers"
Pros - Great in extreme heat. We average four eggs a day. One of the five hens went broody. 8 of 10 eggs were fertile. Beautiful, protective rooster.
Cons - All molted their first winter and stopped laying. Their age could have been a factor, not just molting. Eggs aren't all dark chocolate and speckled.
I chose Welsummers for a couple of reasons. The primary reason was their heat tolerance since it get upwards of 112 degrees during summer here in Redding, California. They are smaller but still robust enough for meat, although we're only raising ours for eggs. I love their auburn coloring, and the roosters are beautiful.
We got our Welsummers from a local feed store, who in turn ordered them from a huge hatchery in Arizona. I would have preferred getting them from a Wellie breeder, but that wasn't an option at the time. If you want dark chocolate, speckled eggs true to the breed, order your chicks from an established breeder.
But we adore our flock. They're all Welsummers and get along nicely. Our hen Gertrude went broody earlier this summer and sat on several eggs during the heat. I won't let her sit on eggs after May anymore just to be safe, but was great throughout the three weeks. Very loyal to her clutch and protective, but not mean, and of the five that hatched out, she has been incredibly attentive. They're about three weeks old now and she's still fluffed up and clucking like a proper broody hen, and she takes wonderful care of them.
As for size, Gertrude is a very large Welsummer, and our hen Rosie is the smallest, and yet they both are good layers with eggs that are nearly the same size. The hens used to jump on my back whenever I'd kneel down, but now they're too heavy for that. But with the chicks every time I kneel down I'm covered in them. They also run to me every time I approach their yard.
And Henry the Rooster, well, he's my buddy. I adore him and can't imagine not having a rooster. I've been very happy with my Welsummers. I gave them four stars only because I thought they'd lay eggs throughout winter, as I've read elsewhere online. It's possible they will this winter and that their age and/or molting were why they stopped, so I'll be sure to come back here and update my review.
Oh, and I meant to say: eight of the ten eggs in Gertrude's clutch were fertile. Henry's a stud muffin!
I hope this was helpful. Cheers.
"gentle farm birds"
Pros - pretty eggs, docile, quiet & pretty voices, sociable, quick learners, good at hiding from predators under brush, damp tolerant, cold tolerant, very beautiful
Cons - can't fly away from predators, don't bond well with feisty and confrontational breeds, clumsy,
I tried 3 hatchings of welsummers and ended up with 3 hens & 5 roosters.
2 hens got killed by wild animals within the year - my other birds are good at escaping predators so dont have this problem.
They make beautiful garden or protected farmyard chooks but they're not well suited to wilder areas.
They're smart and gentle but quite cumbersome - being heavier than most laying birds i've experienced. They produce more meat than other laying birds and good lean meat to.
since they have a gentle, quiet and relaxed manner, they'd be perfect companions to other livestock. esp cows, who its best not to spook and would offer them protection during the day from predators.
they were slow to mature and start laying and very quick to stop laying when nutrients ran a bit short in winter - I see this as a good sign that they prioritise keeping themselves healthy over laying themselves to death.