Lakenvelder chickens are also called “Shadow on a Sheet”. They are beautiful and useful to every chicken keeper. The name “Lakenvelder” simply means white spread over a black field. The term “laken” translates to a sheet while the veld simply means “field”.
From the two terms, Lakenvelder can easily be described as chickens with white plumage and black tails including black hackles. These birds are attractive thanks to their blue legs, long flowing tails, and deep red eyes.
This chicken breed is widely known for its single medium-size comb. Read on to learn more about Lakenvelder chickens in the section below.
History of Lakenvelder Chickens
Even though the Lakenvelder breed of chickens is considered Dutch, there is a serious debate surrounding its exact origin. This explains why its history is distinctively unique compared to other chicken breeds.
Two historical paths provide an insight into the origin of Lakenvelder chickens. The breed is documented as having appeared in Holland at the start of the 20th Century. Thus most scholars often assume that Holland is the birthplace of this unique chicken.
Another supporting evidence can be found from its name. It is named after Lakerveld, a village located in South Holland’s municipality of Zederik.
Despite this convincing evidence about the origin of Lakenvelder, there is still another hypothesis that places the chicken’s origin in Germany’s region of Dieligen. As a matter of fact, theorists still believe that Lakenvelder bears a close biological resemblance to a breed of chicken that originated in this part of Germany.
The theory further suggests that the chicken might have occurred in a muted version of the regional Westfalischer Totleger, which is believed to have originated in Germany as well.
Breeds of chickens similar to the Lakenvelderwere spotted in this religion sometime back in 1835. No one is sure whether this breed of chicken originated in Germany or derived its name from Lakenvelder birds that are already popular in Holland.
Lakenvelder was a successful egg-laying breed that grew in popularity until the end of the 1800s. Afterward, more productive breeds of chickens were introduced across the region, thus dethroning Lakenvelder from its previous title of a prolific egg-layer.
Despite facing stiff competition from more popular breeds, Lakenvelder would be introduced in Britain at the beginning of the 20th century. It was later in 1939 that this breed was inducted into the famous American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection.
Lakenvelder Chicken Characteristics
By standard description, you can say that Lakenvelder is a stunning, smaller breed of chickens that is quite active. This egg-layer is a great forager although it can be flighty at the slightest provocation. Lakenvelder hens are not broody but can produce more eggs than other layers. Its meat is delicious even though it is not plentifully fleshed.
Below are additional characteristics that you can use to identify or describe the Lakenvelder breed of chickens:
– Size & Weight
As mentioned earlier, Lakenvlder chickens belong to the category of small chickens. Roosters can weigh an average of 5lbs. Hens weigh as much as 4lbs. An average bantam rooster has a weight of about 1.5lbs while a bantam hen can have an average of 1.2lbs. From these figures, it is easy to tell that roosters are larger than hens, which is perfectly common across all chicken breeds.
Despite its small size, the Lakenvelder breed of chickens can be temperamental. These birds have an extreme dislike of confined places, making them a little difficult to house in small backyard coops. This is one of the leading factors to the decline of its popularity in the past couple of decades.
Lakenvelder chickens are also flighty. They don’t like being cooped up with other egg-layers. On the flip side, they have their own unique personal friendliness with human beings as well as other chickens. But this trait varies from one chicken to another within this breed.
Just like other breeds, Lankenvelder roosters tend to be a little more aggressive. When they combine this behavior with their dislike for confinement, they become difficult to handle.
Their friendly nature makes them bond well with their owners. Plus, they can exhibit pet-like behaviors and other theatrics such as running up to their keepers to welcome them home. Lekenvelder chickens are also friendly among themselves. Some of them may exhibit dominant behaviors toward less dominant chickens.
The average lifespan of Lakenvelder chickens can vary from six to eight years. But some of them can live longer than eight years when raised in a better environment.
– Egg Production
Compared to popular contemporary layers, Lakenvelders’ egg-laying ability is way below the expectations of many keepers. On average these birds can produce 160 eggs per year. This translates to just a few eggs per week.
Most productive ones can lay up to three eggs in a week. But their egg-laying capabilities narrow down to the individual chicken.
Lakenvelder layers produce eggs that are typically white or cream-colored. In addition to that, these eggs are usually of medium weight with a single egg weighing around 0.11lbs. Their egg quality is considered by many farmers as being a defining feature.
– Meat Production
You can also raise Lakenvelder chickens for meat production. Their carcasses are not too fleshy due to their small size. However, these birds can produce the most delicious and tender meat for your family. Lakenvelders’ delectable tender meat is the main reason most keepers in their country of origin consider them to be popular table birds.
Lakenvelder Chickens Care
With good care, the Lakenvelder chicken breeder can be raised as egg-layers, table birds, show birds, and pets.
Even though they are hardy and all-climate chickens, Lakenvelders may not withstand cold weather conditions well. But they can give up their flightiness behavior in the wintertime to stay comfortable and warm inside a nicely heated coop.
Below is a simplified guideline on how to care of your Lakenvelder chickens:
– Feeding & Nutrition
Just like all other chickens, Lajenvelder will also require a good-quality diet to grow fast, stay healthy, and be productive. A high-quality chick starter mash should be fed to your baby chickens to help them mature early. Your chicks should have this type of food until 14 to 16 weeks of their age.
When transitioning to adult age, feed your chickens enough layers mash. Calcium, protein, and vitamin-rich foods are also recommended to promote the production of strong, healthy, and high-quality eggs. Additionally, supplementary calcium should come in to promote your chickens’ dietary needs.
Most of the supplementary calcium can be obtained from oyster shells and crushed eggshells. Provide them fresh, clean water to hydrate and help them digest food properly.
When designing a coop for your Lakenvelder chickens, take their flightiness behavior into consideration. These birds will require a lot of space to move around and establish their own pecking order. They will also need more space to forage and roam within your backyard. Extra space for your Lakennvelder birds is their ultimate comfort and happiness.
Since Lakenvelder chickens are medium size, they will need a house/coop that suits their needs. The ideal measurement for this type of chicken house is about 4 to 5 square feet. This space will make the cleanup of their coop easy and fast for you. After all, keeping your birds clean, healthy, and happy is one way of making them more productive.
Ensure there is plenty of space for structures such as nightly roosting rails and nesting boxes. Good ventilation to circulate the air inside the coop is also essential.
Most importantly, their coop should be raised off the ground to provide them a dry place to lay and roost, especially in wet weather conditions. Don’t forget to fully cover the coop run to keep predators out and your chickens during the night.
– Health Problems
As previously stated, Lakenvelder chickens are hardy breeds. They don’t have known health issues as witnessed in most chicken breeds. For that reason, they won’t need special care to keep them healthy and productive. This is why Lakenvelder birds are suitable for those looking for low-maintenance chickens.
Lakenvelder chickens can be bred on the farm. Sadly, breeding them is not recommended for the novice. During the breeding, time make sure to take into account the breeding ratio. The dictates that one rooster should be allowed to mate with ten mature hens.
Hens, however, will not get broody, so incubators should be used to hatch new Lakenvelder baby chickens. Also, they don’t make excellent mothers to their chicks. Therefore, it is advisable to include one or two motherly breeds in your flock of chickens to help foster baby chickens for the Lakenvelder breed.
Out of many chicken breeds raised today, Lakenvelder stands out among the most attractive birds. This breed is visually striking with excellent egg-laying ability. However, this is an endangered species of chickens that you should handle with a lot of care.
Further, Lakenvelder chicken is known to be somewhat flighty and temperamental. These two characteristics play a critical role in helping this small Dutch chicken breed evade opossums and other predators On the contrary, these birds can be the friendliest egg layers in your flock. Not to mention being excellent at foraging.Chickens