What’s the best way to figure out if a chicken is suitable for your flock? Why a pros and cons list, of course! Looking at these types of lists, you can see if a chicken fits your needs. You can also see what most owners complain about the most. Today we are going to look at the Welsummer chickens: pros and cons. Let’s see if these birds are right for you.
Where Do Welsummer Chickens Come From?
Before we get into Welsummer chickens: pros and cons, let’s talk about where their origins. The origin of your chicken determines everything from coloring to egg-laying. It can also shape their temperament. So where are Welsummer’s from? These chickens originated in the town of Welsum of the Eastern Netherlands. They came about in the 12th century and are a complex blend of Rhode Island Red, Partridge Leghorns, Cochin, and Wyandottes. All combined to make the perfect chicken for you.
The Pros Of Welsummer Chickens
Let’s begin by talking about the best parts of Welsummers. All of the characteristics listed below are reasons that people all over have fallen for these chickens. These are just a few of the most incredible things about the Welsummer. If you talk to any experienced owner, they might be able to tell you even more.
Welsummer Egg Production
One of the reasons why people love Welsummer chickens so much is their egg production. You can expect 160-250 beautiful eggs a year. That averages about four eggs a week. But what makes these eggs so unique? First of all, these chickens lay jumbo eggs. And the Welsummer chicken egg color is a dark terracotta brown that can be speckled. Your Welsummer will give you reliable dark eggs to add to your baskets.
Not Very Broody
If you raise chickens specifically for eggs, broodiness can disrupt that. A broody chicken won’t lay for weeks, and it’s impossible to break them of it. But if you have a Welsummer hen in your flock, they aren’t known for their broodiness. Some might occasionally become broody during the spring mating season, but it doesn’t last long. And should you breed them, they are wonderful mothers.
One of the great things about Welsummer chickens coming from the Netherlands is their cold hardiness. These birds withstand harsh winters without a problem. With proper winter precautions, you won’t have to worry about them freezing to death. The only downside is that some Welsummer chickens slow down egg production in colder months.
Welsummer chicken size is a hefty 6-7 pounds. So, if your raising chickens for eggs and fresh meat, that’s good news! These chickens make decent table birds enough for a family. But you can most certainly find bigger dual-purpose birds.
People love Welsummer chickens because they are brilliant. These birds are fun to watch as they pick through the yard exploring. They might even find themselves in situations where they can’t escape. No place is unreachable to the Welsummer.
Another reason you should get a Welsummer is that they are so people-friendly. Your Welsummer doesn’t mind handling and even follows you around the yard. They are even docile enough to keep around children. These chickens make the perfect family pet.
Sexing At Hatch
If you intend to breed Welsummers, you will be happy to know that they are easily sexed. You can tell males and females apart as soon as their feathers dry on hatch day with practice. Welsummer’s are born with a darker head. On top of that head, there is what is known as an occipital spot. Males will have a large white spot on the top of their heads, and females won’t. In some cases, females will have a tiny dot. But it’s noticeably different from their brothers. So you can confidently sell your Welsummer chicks locally. And since they aren’t that common, you can get a pretty penny for them.
Healthy And Hardy
New chicken owners love Welsummer chickens because they are hardy birds. They aren’t prone to disease, and genetic mutations like other breeds are. You don’t even have to worry about common ailments like egg binding. The only thing you might have to worry about is mites and fleas. Daily checks will help you spot anything wrong with your hens. Feeding a balanced diet and keeping the area clean will also prevent a lot of common problems.
Another aspect that makes these chickens great pets is that they have long lifespans. Your average Welsummer can live as long as nine years! When you combine slightly lower than average laying and better health, you get a bird that can stand through time.
Everyone’s dream is to have a chicken flock that fends for themselves. And with breeds like the Welsummer, you pretty much can. These chickens love to forage. They turn over the entire yard looking for every bug and slug. You might even find that you spend less on these birds compared to other chicken breeds.
And lastly, we have colors. Did you know that Welsummer chickens come in a variety of beautiful colors? You can choose between a gold duckwing, silver duckwing, or partridge. All of these colors are more stunning than the last. It can make it hard to choose just one. So you might as well buy a few of each for a spectacular flock.
Cons Of Owning Welsummer Chickens
Even the best of breeds have a few downfalls, and the Welsummer is no different. As much as we love these birds, there is a reason why this article is titled Welsummer Chickens: Pros And Cons. Below we have some of the most significant downsides to owning Welsumers. You might not think they are that bad, but for some, they are deal-breakers.
Washing Away Color
Unlike other chicken eggs, you can actually wash off the chocolate coloring of the Welsummer eggs. That is because the eggshells aren’t really that chocolatey color. Hens produce a dark brown mucus that aids in laying the eggs. If you wash these eggs too rough, you will wash away the dark parts off. Your eggs will still be a darker brown, but they won’t be that terracotta that everyone enjoys.
In addition to the color washing away, your eggs will also lighten as they age. The Welsummer eggs stay a dark color for the first year that your hen lays. But into adulthood, this color will seem to fade away. Some owners even claim that the color lightens as the year passes. But once your hens get that winter laying break, the eggs are right back to their original dark coloring.
Can’t Fly Well
Welsummer chickens are slightly larger than other breeds. And while they can glide well, they aren’t great at flying. This inability to fly makes them at greater risk of predators, so you will want to seal the coop and run well. It also means that roosting can be challenging for them. So a lower roost might be best for these chickens.
Late To Start, Early To Quit
One of the biggest downfalls to the Welsummer is that they start laying early and quit just as fast. Welsummer pullets begin to lay eggs around 20 weeks old, and they lay strong for three years. After three years, you will notice a steady decline. Owners claim that their Welsummer chickens will lay a few eggs every spring until seven years old. But only a few. They spend the rest of the year foraging and finding things to get into.
Most people consider this a con because Welsummers are known to live up to 9 years old. But only three years are spent being productive. So you will have to have a constant turnover of hens for reliable eggs.
Another con of Welsummer chickens is that they are known for talking a lot. But not just casual everyday chicken talk. Some are loud screamers that need to be heard, or so they think. If you have close neighbors, they might not appreciate the ruckus from your yard.
Not Winter Layers
Most Welsummer chickens don’t lay all through the winter. But they lay later than most other breeds. You can expect these chickens to lay as late as November in mild climates. And by March, your Welsummers will be ready for the breeding season again.
Welsummer Rooster Temperament
Welsummer chickens can have a streak of feistiness in their blood. But your Welsummer rooster can have a nasty streak in them as well. Roosters are there to protect their girls from harm. They send off an alarm if they sense trouble, so the hens know to take cover. Roosters also help to break up any pecking order disputes. The downside to these protectors is that they also defend the flock against people. If you are inexperienced with roos, you may find that they are too much to handle.
Despite It All, We Love The Welsummer
These birds are gorgeous and give you beautiful eggs. And when you look at all the Welsummer chickens: pros and cons, you can see why. All of the pros outweigh the cons by far. As long as you have the room, you can have the Welsummer chicken eggs overflowing your basket.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!