The Welsummer is a beautiful bird. They can be auto-sexed at hatching so you always know if you are getting a hen or a roo. They are well known from their role in American advertising. The Kellogg's Corn Flake Rooster, "Cornelius" is a Welsummer. They are the alternate very dark egg layers. The Welsummer has a higher lay rate than the Maran. They lay a beautiful dark terracotta brown egg. Some eggs have mottled darker brown spots. No two eggs are the same. Their eggs are large to extra large. They are good layers producing an average of 4 eggs a week. The Welsummer can be auto-sexed at birth due to the distinctive markings of the female. They are a dual purpose bird, good for both meat and eggs. They are known as great foragers but also bear confinement well. They do well in the winter being cold hardy. They are a fast growing bird. They are a very rare breed here in the United States.
I have large fowl, Partridge Welsummers. My current line comes from the Privett, Hoover, Dunlap lineages. I have new stock coming from the Keith Loeffler & Lowell Barber from the Appalacians. They worked on developing this line over 20 years. My Welsummers are the black-red partridge variety.
My eggs average 2 ½ inches long by 1 ¾ inches wide. They average a weight of 60 grams falling in the USDA large egg classification.
Characteristics: Welsummer chickens are purported to be one of the top free-range foragers of all the layers. They love to free range and forage for food but can also be kept in runs quite happily. They are cold hardy so do well during winter. This bird has a very docile temperament and are a good addition to any flock. They are friendly and easily handled. The Welsummer is known for their good production of dark brown eggs, laying an average of 4 eggs a week.
The Welsummer is a colorful bird. They are a large, upright and active bird. The standard color is red partridge. They have an upright stance with a strong, short beak, broad back, full breast and large full tail. It has a small single comb and medium wattles. The skin and shanks are yellow. They are the clean legged variety that originated in Holland. The almond-shaped earlobes are red, and the eyes are reddish bay. They have 4 toes.
The plumage of the males is very different from the plumage of the females. The male's saddle, head and neck feathers are rich golden brown while the back, wing front and wing bows are bright reddish brown. Each feather of the back of the females is reddish brown, stippled with black and has a distinct lighter shaft.
Welsummers lay large to extra large eggs. They are good layers producing about 160 eggs per year. Each hen will average 4 eggs a week. Their egg production does decline during the colder months. The eggs are a deep dark brown or dark terracotta brown, making them a beautiful addition to your egg cartons. Some eggs are mottled with darker spots. The dark spots bring individual charm to each egg with no two being the same. An individual hen will lay the same general egg pattern throughout her life. The dark brown pigment on the egg is added as a bloom to a brown egg at the end of the laying sequence. Welsummer eggs can be either matt or shiny, the matt brown being fairly easily rubbed off. Hens can get broody towards the end of summer and are good setters.
Welsummers can be sexed at birth. The female has a well defined dark line extending beyond her eye towards her ear. She has a dark and clearly defined triangle on the top of her head. On the male, the eye bar is light and blurry. The the triangle is lighter and the edges are not clearly defined.
Welsummers belong to the "Continental Class". The breed was admitted to the American Standard of Perfection in 1991.
History/Origin: The Welsummer chicken is a Dutch breed named after the village of Welsum in Holland. It was developed in the 1900's from local fowls of mixed origin from Rhode Island Reds, Barnevelders, Partridge Leghorns, Cochins, and Wyandottes. At first they produced mixed results until a standard was produced in 1922–23 after the birds began to show a good deal of uniformity. The eggs were originally exported for the commercial egg trade where they were an instant hit. Soon after being standardized stock was imported into England. Welsummers were added to the British Standard in 1930. They were first imported into the United States in 1928 for its large brown egg. Lowell Barber was one of the very first importers of Welsummers in the United States. The Welsummers he obtained were from Netherlands from a poultry show in Wales. A few breeders have worked to continue the Welsummer line in the United states. Leading breeders include: Laurie Adams, Bjorn Netland, Horst Greczmiel, Channing Grisham, John Hall, Kelly Cratty, Duane Urch, Ron Presley, Harry Shaw, Jr. and Will Morrow of Whitmore Farm, Maryland. His stock came from Channing Grisham and Anderson Creek Hatchery.
Welsummers are a fast growing bird and a very rare breed here in the United States. Admitted to the American Standard of Perfection in 1991. There are 3 varieties, Silver Duckwing, gold and black-red partridge.