Welsummer: A Comprehensive Guide

Photo of Kassandra Smith

Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

30 November 2014

Welsummers are beautiful European birds, sought after for their dark brown eggs, as well as their lovely personality and temperament! Welsummers are a very popular chicken in backyards across the world - for a number of great reasons.

three-welsummer-chickens

Lifespan

The Welsummer lives to approximately 9 years of age.

Class

Welsummers are known as a ‘continental’ class breed - defined as large birds that have a Continental European origin.

Rarity

Welsummer chickens are very common in Australia both in urban backyards and in rural locations because of their calm, friendly temperament.

Origin

The Welsummer originates from the small village of Welsum, located in the Netherlands. They became popular due to the lovely dark brown hue of their eggs. The Bantam variety was created in the 1930s, by enthusiasts from Germany and England. In Britain, the large version of the Welsummer is one of the most popular chicken breeds in the country.

Fun Facts

  • Spelt as ‘Welsumer’ in Britain and the US

  • The pigment of their dark brown eggs can be rubbed off! This is because the pigment is added at the end of the egg laying cycle.

Current Use/Purpose

The Welsummer was primarily bred as a table bird, and has a decent amount of meat available for this purpose. Their dark brown eggs are also sought after, because of their beautiful rich pigment.

Personality and Temperament

Welsummers are very calm, friendly and docile birds that fit in egg-ceptionally well to urban and rural backyard flocks. They don’t mind being handled by their chicken keepers, and are happy to be kept in a run enclosure area if you can’t let them free range. If they can be let out, they will love foraging and exploring the backyard as well.

welsummer-chicken-and-chicks

Incubating and Hatching

Welsummers are known to display broody behaviour, predominantly in the springtime - so if you want them for hatching fertile eggs, then this season is your best bet. However, they aren’t renown for their mothering skills, so the baby chicks may need to be kept in a brooder until they reach adulthood - lest they are neglected by the Welsummer hen.

Egg Behaviour

Welsummers are average egg layers, producing around 160 eggs each year. However, the pigment of the eggs is far from ordinary - the eggs that come out are a beautiful deep brown colour, that you can actually rub off with your hands! This is because the pigment is only added at the end of the egg-laying sequence. Not that you’d want to get rid of this beautiful colour on your fresh eggs.

Appearance

The Welsummer is a beautiful, strong chicken whose feathers absolutely gleam in the sunlight. They have quite an upright stance, with a flat, long back. Their large comb is bright red, and their legs a vivid yellow - a colour that fades into summer.

Care

Welsummers should be cared for like any other chicken, and don’t have any special maintenance requirements.

Fresh water and nutritious feed should be accessible to them at all times, as well as a safe, secure coop for them to roost in, and of course lay their delicious golden brown eggs! An area for them to dust bathe in is also essential, so they can keep themselves clean and free from parasites.

Welsummers are heavy breeds and have trouble becoming significantly airborne, therefore you shouldn't have much of a problem with any chickens high tailing it over the neighbours fence.

Health Issues

Welsummer chickens don’t have any serious health issues particular to their breed apart from the norm. Their large comb means that they can be prone to frostbite if the temperature hits freezing,

Hardiness

welsummer-chickens-in-the-snow

Welsummer chickens are hardy against winter temperatures, as their heavyweight and European origin means they fare well in the cold.

If Welsummers have access to shaded areas, they are also able to handle warm temperatures with ease - as long as they have somewhere to beat the heat!

Why We Love Them!

Welsummers are beautiful birds that we love seeing free ranging in our backyard, content with foraging. Also, collecting their beautiful chocolate brown eggs is quite a unique treat - they always impress our family and friends when we bring them out for breakfast!

Sources and further reading

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