Welsummer chickens are loved by so many, find out what makes them such great backyard birds.
This breed holds a special place in my heart as my very first rooster was a Welsummer. I wanted that iconic rooster – with a boisterous, large full tail sporting plenty of beautiful, shiny green feathers! As far as I knew, it was THE rooster to have.
To be honest, I’m not even sure where or how this became my vision of what a real rooster should look like. But it was my vision, and it was my reality when I bought my first chickens. I didn’t regret it, and I still don’t – I loved that rooster (and his hens).
What is the History of the Welsummer?
Welsummers are Dutch and named after the village they are thought to originate from – Welsum, Holland. Welsummers were imported into America in 1928, so it’s a relatively new breed in the United States. The name is also spelled Welsumer (only one “m”), and there is really no record of when it started being spelled with two “m’s”, but likely a difference created when they were introduced in America.
Welsummers were admitted to the American Standard of Perfection in 1991. This basically means that they were accepted as an American Poultry Association breed.
Are Welsummer Chickens Famous?
I’m glad you asked! They are a bit famous. Most self-proclaimed chicken “historians” will refer to the Kellogg’s Corn Flake box rooster (named Cornelius) as a Welsummer. I’m not sure anyone can back that claim up (although, there is a resemblance).
But, the Kellogg’s UK website does shed some light on the history of said rooster. Apparently, W.K. Kellogg (founder of the company) had a friend that suggested a rooster as the “mascot” for this cereal. Obviously, the rooster was a bit of an alarm clock for the morning back in those days – so that made sense…”wake up and eat!” But this Welsh friend, Nansi Richards, thought of it because the Welsh word for rooster is ceiliog – which (when pronounced properly) sounds a lot like Kellogg.
Now you know.
Are Welsummer Chickens Royal?
Perhaps you can call them royal. Did you know that Prince Charles of Wales, now the King of England, has owned Welsummers for many years? It’s true! King Charles has a plethora of chickens, many of which are Welsummers, located at his dwelling place called Highgrove in Gloucestershire, England.
The royals love chickens so much that they even had an artist create proprietary hen designs for chinaware. See a sample here.
The Poultry Club of England has offered chicken husbandry classes at Highgrove, but it’s unclear how to apply for this honor and how often, when, or if they even offer them anymore. Not that most of us would be able to sign up for that, but it’s still a fun fact.
Well, (please read with an English accent) it’s time to end our tea party and say “cheerio” to the royals, we are off to learn more about these iconic birdies.
What do Welsummer Chickens look like?
I can assure you that the Welsummer rooster does NOT look like the rooster on the Kellogg’s Cornflake box. The body is NOT bright green…that would be ultra cool, but that is not reality. The real-life Welsummer is stunning and sophisticated (which must be why the royals love them).
Welsummer Hen Appearance
Hens are not flashy, but still lovely. I like the way MyPetChicken.com describes them: The hens are modest, heathery brown, with their hackles shading to glints of gold and black. Even their eyes are a lovely red bay.
Welsummer Roo Appearance
Males, or roosters, on the other hand, are show-stoppers. These handsome fellas are super flashy, over-the-top, breathtaking, and just all-around beautiful. They have shades of gold, browns, blacks, reds, and oranges. I’d call them “manly” birds with great stature and a broad back. Their tails are black with streaks of iridescent green. These amazing tails appear like they have been strategically designed by a top-notch stylist on Rodeo Drive.
Fun Welsummer Appearance Facts
And let’s not forget to check out their ear lobes! Hmmm…maybe you’ve never even noticed a chicken has ear lobes, but they do! Welsummer rooster ear lobes are red, along with their red wattles. They also have saddle feathers, which are long, flowing feathers at the beginning of the tail. Hens have saddle feathers too, they just aren’t as impressive.
Both Welsummer roosters and Welsummer hens have award-winning, clean, yellow legs. The ladies don’t even have to shave (woo-hoo!). If you take a peek at their skin (if you ever get that bored), you will see that it too is yellow. Yellow skin? Yes Ma’am!
How Big Does the Welsummer Breed Get?
These precious family friends are considered to be medium-sized birds, weighing in at about 5-6 pounds. Guess what? These come in a mini size too – as a bantam variety. Yes please, I’ll take one large and one small.
What are Welsummer Chickens Good For?
Welsummer chickens are friendly, sweet, easy to please, intelligent, and great companions. Let’s just say they would be easy to set up on a date if you were a chicken matchmaker. Of course, I am addicted to chickens…but maybe you are too. Either way, this breed is a great breed for anyone wanting a chicken.
They are good egg layers, more on that in a moment. They can also be used for meat (if you are desperate and want to eat your friend). All kidding aside, they are dual-purpose birds good for companionship, eggs, and meat.
Welsummer Egg Production
Welsummer hens might be modest in appearance, but they are so much more than just looks. They serve a purpose by providing humans with many fine breakfast feasts each year. They produce around 250 large speckled brown eggs per year. I’d rate this as good egg production. Not to mention she’s a bit of an overachiever by dressing up many of these lovely large eggs with speckles, wouldn’t you agree?
Early on in the history of this breed, they were considered great egg layers. But as breeds were crossed and refined, the hybrids (bred by egg production enthusiasts, specifically for egg laying) kind of took over the market. However, we aren’t talking about opening an egg-laying facility here, now are we?
How Long Do Welsummer Chickens Lay Eggs?
They lay about as long as most standard-size breeds, 3 years. But the better you treat them and the better you feed them – the better the outcome, one large brown egg at a time!
Why Are Welsummer Eggs Brown and Speckled?
Wondering why the Welsummer has dark brown eggs with occasional speckles? One weird word: Protoporphyrin (not to be confused with any other word you regularly use). If you are feeling like quitting your job and becoming a chicken scientist, then start here. It seems as if this topic is still being studied quite a bit.
It’s a challenging read, but you can learn more about it here. Hint: it has to do with the creation of shell pigment (brown pigment to be exact), all wrapped up in genetics.
Are Welsummer Females Broody Birds?
Not particularly. There may be a rebel here and there, but generally speaking the Welsummers are not trying to populate the world of chickens with their kind regularly. It’s rarer than some other breeds to have a broody hen in this bunch. The chicken experts, such as hatcheries, rate them as “occasionally broody.”
It may be for the best as they have a bad rap for motherhood (they are not known for being good mothers), so they won’t win any awards there…which leads me to my next thought.
If you want a bunch of sweet little tea-party-attending Welsummer baby chicks running around, you’ll probably want to incubate some eggs or visit a hatchery.
What is the Personality of These Feathered Friends?
Just like people (don’t judge…chickens are people too), these little friends have individual personalities. Most of them have a great temperament. They are docile and they like their people. For these reasons, Welsummer chickens are beginner-friendly. You don’t have to be a confident chicken keeper to try this breed. And you will likely gain in confidence pretty quickly with them by your side.
This classic breed makes perfect backyard buddies for just about anyone interested in chickens. If you regularly give them treats, they will follow you to the ends of the earth. So be sure to spoil them, and tell them I sent you!
Are Welsummer Chickens Noisy?
COCK-A-DOODLE DO!!!!! Does that answer your question? Yes, they are vocal. They are known to chatter a lot and the roosters like to crow.
How to Keep a Healthy Welsummer Flock
- Feed them 16% premium layer feed
- Provide clean, fresh water
- Keep their coop clean to avoid pests, mites, and parasites
- Provide a good place for dust baths
- Be sure they have proper shelter to block wind and rain
- Ensure they have shade to escape the heat
Do Welsummer Chickens Have Known Health Issues?
Welsummers are known to be athletic, active birds. You won’t see them playing basketball or anything like that, but they are a pretty fit and hardy breed. Since they do have medium combs and medium wattles – this makes them good candidates for frostbite. Ouch. This is something you definitely want to avoid. So, just be sure they are out of the frigid weather if it occurs in your particular area in the winter months.
Annndd, we can’t forget parasites and other pests – the itsy-bitsy buggers that drive all animal owners crazy from time to time.
Most Common Internal Parasites:
Most Common External Parasites:
To help stay pest free, be sure to keep their coop clean, provide good nutrition, and stay in touch with their behavior so you can detect a problem with their chicken health early on. Good healthcare will go a long way in prevention.
Based on this, they are pretty easy keepers.
Want to go Royal?
Curious to know what King Charles III finds so appealing about this breed. Well….then, try out a Welsummer while sipping tea and eating cornflakes (if you are feeling spunky).
A happy wife, mother, teacher, writer, hobby farmer, lover of chickens, and contributor to Pampered Chicken Mama!