Chicken Breeds: Welsummer Hens
If I were to ask you to imagine a rooster, you would probably picture a rooster with a reddish orange head and back, and an iridescent teal green body and tail. His tail would be a perfect sickle of iridescent green feathers.
You probably don’t realize it, but you’re thinking of a Welsummer rooster! The Welsummer rooster’s ubiquity is partly because he is the rooster on the Kellogg’s box. This breed was first developed in the Netherlands in the 1920s, and it quickly became popular. For many people, the Welsummer cock is synonymous with “rooster.”
Welsummer hens lay lovely dark brown eggs, much like their other Dutch relatives the Barnevelder and the French Marans. The hens are fairly productive, although they do have a slight tendency to go broody. Welsummer chickens lay about 3 eggs per week, which is a moderate egg yield.
Welsummer chickens are popular because they are good at foraging and fending for themselves. If you intend to let your chickens fully free range, with no fenced enclosure, then the Welsummer is an excellent breed choice. Welsummer chickens are consistently able to find feed, and to protect themselves from predators.
The trade-off for this ability to fend for themselves is that Welsummer chickens are not a very friendly breed. If you have children, or if you want your chickens to be friendly pets, then you may not want to choose Welsummers. Or if you do get Welsummers, you will need to make an extra effort to accustom them to people.
Be sure to frequently feed them by hand, so that they recognize you as the source of feed. As you sprinkle corn or other treats on the ground, gently reach down and pet the chickens to accustom them to being handled. Chickens are very “food motivated,” to say the least!
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