Some chicken breeds have unique traits. Others have a great history. Then there is the Bielefelder chicken breed which seems to have nearly everything you are looking for in a chicken.
It is a stunning-looking chicken with a lot of benefits. The breed is good for both meat and egg production.
If you plan to add the Bielefelder chickens to your backyard flock, you have come to the right place.
We will discuss everything you need to know about this amazing chicken breed, including its history, personality, egg production, and appearance. Keep reading to learn more.
History And Background Of The Bielefelder Chickens
The Bielefelder breed is a testament to the masterful crafting and engineering of the German people.
The breed was developed in Bielefeld, Germany, in the early 1970s. They were created by Gerd Roth, a chicken breeder in Bielefeld.
He blended together different breeds of chickens, such as the New Hampshire, Cuckoo Malines, Wyandotte, and Amrock, to create a dual-purpose bird.
The breed first came to the USA in 2011. In 2013 and 2017, they also imported unrelated Bielefelder bloodlines.
The bird saw rapid adoption by different chicken keepers. Here are a few characteristics that rank these birds close to the top:
- High meat yield
- Gentle temperament
- Auto-sexing function
- Production of large brown eggs
- Beautiful feathers
These birds have become very popular in the United States of America over a short period.
Although they are a new breed, they have already trumped some older breeds, such as the Dorking, which has been around for centuries.
If you plan to buy a single chicken breed, you should consider the Bielefelders. They will hand you the whole package from a single bird.
These birds are also cold-resistant and love to forage. They are also relatively quiet and less aggressive compared to other breeds.
Appearance And Breed Standard
Bielefelders have red earlobes and wattles. They also have a large single comb. Many chicken keepers like this breed because of its auto-sexing ability.
This means male and female birds hatch in different colors. This is one of the breeds to consider if you want a winsome chicken with plenty of colors.
A male chick usually has lighter colors when it hatches. It will also have a yellow or white spot on its head.
On the other hand, a female bird will have a chipmunk stripe on its head. Therefore, it is easier to sex chicks of this breed than those of other chicken breeds.
Once the male Bielefelders reach maturity, they will have a fascinating, complex feather pattern. You can compare the pattern to the Cuckoo Red Partridge.
Because of their camouflage pattern and size, they can do well in free-range conditions without becoming prey to predators like hawks, raccoons, owls, foxes, possums, and coyotes.
These adorable birds also have a pink tinge to their brown feathers. This separates them from other similar chicken breeds. Other colors on their bodies are orange, gray, black, and white.
Personality And Temperament
Bielefelders are docile and friendly chickens that love to interact with their handlers. If you want a calm chicken with less noise, you should go for this breed.
These birds will go out of their way to offer you companionship.
They have a tendency to be on high alert. They will be alert even when in the middle of foraging around the backyard.
Because of their ability to react fast, they make great free-rangers. They will keep your backyard free from insects.
Since these birds are docile and less aggressive, they can be victims of bullying from aggressive chickens in your flock.
Therefore, it is always advisable to raise them alongside other chicken breeds that are less aggressive.
Like most roosters of other breeds, your Bielefelder rooster can be a bit aggressive.
Bielefelder Chicken Egg Laying
Many backyard chicken keepers love the Bielefelders because of their big and meaty carcasses.
However, dual-purpose chickens also lay eggs at a fairly rapid rate. Under good care and proper nutrition, a Bielefelder hen can lay 3 to 5 eggs a week. This translates to about 200 to 250 eggs per year.
They usually lay large-sized brown eggs. Their eggs are much bigger than those of most backyard chicken breeds around. Their eggs also have a pinkish undertone, much like their plumage.
A Bielefelder bantam will lay around 170 eggs per year. The eggs are smaller than those of a standard Bielefelder.
One of the main reasons why many chicken keepers love the Bielefelders is because they start laying eggs at a relatively early age.
Since these birds have a gentle temperament, you can remove an egg from under the hen without being pecked.
Most hens of other breeds will attack you if you try removing eggs from under them or trying to access their nesting box.
Bielefelder chickens have a resistance to cold. Therefore, they will still lay eggs at an awesome output during winter.
Unfortunately, these birds are not the broody type. They will keep laying eggs without much regard for the eggs already in the basket.
Therefore, if you want to raise chicks, you will need an incubator or other broody hens in your flock.
Health Issues And Care
Bielefelders are born healthy chickens without any hereditary health issues. Since they are more resistant to cold, they will hardly get ill during the cooler months.
Generally, you will not have as many health issues with your Bielefelders as with most other breeds. However, that does not mean you will have any problems.
You must give them plenty of exercise and a proper diet to keep your birds healthy. You must ensure that your birds have plenty of space to roam around and forage.
With a nutritious diet, your birds will grow stronger and live longer, more productive life.
Like other chicken breeds, your Bielefelders may be susceptible to various poultry parasites, such as mites and lice.
Therefore, you must check your birds for these parasites and treat them regularly.
Tips For Raising Bielefelder Chickens
Here are a few tips for raising your Bielefelder chickens.
Give Your Birds a Comfortable Place
Although the Bielefelders are incredibly hard chickens, they require a comfortable living place. They will need to be protected from sudden temperatures and inclement weather.
For instance, they will need enough shade to stay cool during extremely hot days.
They will need a safely enclosed coop to protect them from rain, wind, and predators. In addition, you will need to ensure that your chicken coop is well-ventilated.
Your chickens will require plenty of protein to aid in the general growth of body organs.
Because of their large sizes, they will require 20% protein in their daily diet. You will also need to provide them with plenty of fresh vegetables, cereal grains, and fruits to stay happy and healthy.
These birds are also good foragers. Therefore, you can use that to your advantage by allowing them to free-range within your backyard.
Allowing them to free-range and feed outside will help cut down on the cost of their feed.
The best way to make them happy is by providing them with a varied diet. Laying hens will require calcium in their diet to help form strong eggshells.
In addition, your Bielefelder chickens will require plenty of clean water in their coop.
Provide Plenty of Walking Space
Bielefelder chickens love to wander around. Therefore, they will not tolerate being confined to a tiny area.
You must ensure that your birds have plenty of space to roam around as they forage. You can let them walk around and forage in your backyard, garden, or field.
Clean the Coop
While the Bielefelder chickens love to roam around the backyard most of the time, they will also need a safe and clean place to settle down in the evening.
Like any other chicken breed, your Bielefelder chickens will fall sick if you leave their coop dirty. Therefore, you will need to ensure that their coop is as clean as possible.
Keeping your coop and the roosting areas free of obstacles will get you more eggs. The coop should also be spacious enough to avoid overcrowding.
If the coop is overcrowded, strange behaviors like cannibalism may arise.
Bielefelders are great chickens for both beginners and experienced chicken keepers. They are calm and less aggressive birds that perform well in any backyard flock.
They were bred to be dual-purpose birds. Therefore, if you are looking for a table chicken that will also ensure you have plenty of eggs throughout the year, you can consider this breed.