How to Care for Welsummer Chickens?
Welsummer chickens have a friendly and delightful temperament, making these chickens popular among chicken keepers across the globe. These chickens also lay large dark brown eggs with speckles. The eggs are pretty, just like Welsummer chickens themselves.
Although these chickens are famous in Europe, they are fast gaining a foothold in America and all over the globe.
Where do Welsummer Chickens Come From?
Welsummer chickens originate from a small village in the Netherlands known as Welsum. Dutch chicken farmers have been breeding these chickens since the 20th century. Farmers produce these chickens from local chicken breeds such as Barnevelders, Cochins, Partridge Leghorns, and Rhode Island Reds.
How to Recognize a Welsummer Chicken?
Welsummer chickens are pretty distinct, and you can easily recognize them even when living among many different chicken breeds. Welsummer hens have a red partridge pattern. Hens have an upright stature, and their heads have single combs.
They have red earlobes and wattles. Welsummer hens also have a distinct golden plumage or brown plumage on their necks. Hens are typical due to their reddish bay eyes.
Welsummer roosters’ appearance is somewhat different from hens’. You can recognize a Welsummer rooster from its large comb. Roosters also have large wattles. They have a golden-brown plumage on their feathers. Roosters have distinct saddle feathers which have triangular wing patches. Welsummer roosters have beetle green chests and wings.
How Big Do Welsummer Chickens Grow?
While chicken keepers consider Welsummer chickens lightweight chicken breeds, these chickens can grow bigger and heavier like most heavy breeds. Welsummer roosters can grow between seven and eight lbs. Hens usually grow between 5 and 6 lbs.
Are Welsummer Chickens Easy to Care For?
Yes, it is easy to care for your Welsummer chickens. Like most chicken breeds, Welsummer chickens can be easy to look after. You only need to accord your Welsummers enough care like other chickens. Being hardy and resilient, these chickens don’t require special care. Below are ideas to help you take care of your Welsummer chickens.
– Provide Enough Clean Water
Welsummer chickens can take plenty of water than the average chickens. These chickens are pretty active, and they tend to get dehydrated and exhausted pretty quickly. Provide your Welsummer chickens with plenty of clean water, particularly in summer. Keep changing the water since these chickens detest dirty water.
– Keep Your Chickens Comfortable
Like other breeds, Welsummer chickens thrive well when they get comfortable. One thing that can make your chickens comfortable is installing bedding in their cage. Wood shavings, straw, and sawdust can all make comfortable bedding for your chickens.
Heat the cage in winter to keep your Welsummers comfortable in the cold. You can either use hot water bottles or a heat lamp for heating the chicken coop.
– Feeding Your Chickens
While Welsummer chickens are fantastic layers, they won’t lay eggs if you deny them enough food. Welsummer chickens get noisy when they are hungry. Unless you are keeping free-range Welsummer chickens, ensure the chicken coop has plenty of food for your chickens.
Even for free-range chickens, you have to ensure there are enough bugs and other food items in your backyard such that your chickens won’t succumb to malnutrition.
– Check for Predators
Predators can deplete your flock by attacking and eating your Welsummer chickens. Seal every loophole that predators can exploit to access your Welsummer chickens. Don’t let your chickens out if there are predators out there since they will attack your birds.
What to Feed Welsummer Chickens?
Welsummer chickens need a similar diet to that of other chickens. Welsummer chicks can do well with chick crumbs or chick mash. These two food choices are perfect for chicks since they can’t choke the baby chicks. In addition, they have all the adequate nutrients and ingredients Welsummer chicks need at an early stage for proper growth.
Welsummer chicks aged six weeks and above can thrive well on pellets since they can swallow pellets without choking. Pellets also contain protein, which young Welsummer chickens require to build muscle as they grow.
Welsummer hens need a diet containing at least 16 % protein. Protein makes hens lay bigger and much better tasting eggs. Protein also boosts hens’ egg-laying capabilities. All Welsummer chickens, whether hens, roosters, or baby chicks, need vitamins and other essential minerals. Vitamins are especially suitable for Welsummer chickens since they help prevent them from succumbing to illnesses because vitamins help reinforce their immune system.
Welsummer chickens require supplements like other breeds. Supplements such as calcium supplements help your chickens develop and maintain healthy bones. Calcium supplements will help egg-laying Welsummer hens produce larger eggs with strong shells. Sprinkle some supplements over your chickens’ food to give your birds a nutritional boost.
What Kind of Coop do Welsummers Need?
Welsummer chickens are standard-sized birds. These chickens can live comfortably in a coop that provides each chicken with four square feet of space. Welsummers are peaceful birds. They aren’t prone to fighting or pecking.
However, their gentle demeanor can encourage other chicken breeds in the coop to bully your Welsummer chickens. If your flock has other chicken breeds other than Welsummer chickens, ensure the coop provides each chicken with at least six square feet.
When it comes to roosting time, Welsummers don’t mind roosting close to each other. Your Welsummers will be fine living in a coop that offers a roosting space of between 8 and 10 inches. Giving your birds more space is fine since they will quickly flap their wings.
Your coop will need to have some nesting boxes where your Welsummer hens can lay comfortably. A 12×12 inches nesting box is ideal for Welsummer hens. Although hens prefer to lay eggs in open areas, having nesting boxes will make it easier for you to collect the eggs without straining.
Laying in nesting boxes also allows your Welsummer hens to lay clean eggs. Ensure your coop has enough nesting boxes for your hens. Ideally, every nesting box should serve three hens.
Because of weather fluctuations in winter, it is a great idea to have a heat lamp in the coop to heat your birds in cold weather. Welsummer baby chicks are especially vulnerable to freezing, and therefore a heat lamp is a must-have in any coop that houses Welsummer baby chicks.
What Health Problems Do Welsummers Have?
Welsummers are hardy and healthy chickens. These chickens only have a few health problems apart from the common bird parasites. Check your Welsummer chickens for mites and lice regularly and eliminate such parasites accordingly.
Worms can be a huge health problem for Welsummers. Consider taking your chickens’ fecal samples for examination by a veterinarian more often. The vet will evaluate whether your chickens have worms or not. The vet will further recommend the best medication to get rid of worms.
Besides worms and other parasites, cold climates also pose a health concern for Welsummer chickens. The cold makes the chickens vulnerable to frostbite. Thanks to their large wattles and combs, roosters are more susceptible to frostbite than hens. Consider applying Vaseline on your chickens’ combs and wattles to prevent them from succumbing to frostbite.
How Many Eggs do Welsummer Chickens Lay?
Welsummer hens are some of the best layers. These hens can lay about 160 eggs annually. Well-fed hens can lay around 250 eggs annually. However, cold affects their eggs production and other chickens’ eggs production. Your Welsummer chickens will resume their normal egg production once the cold months are over.
Can You Eat Welsummer Chicken Eggs?
Yes, you can eat Welsummer chicken eggs since some of the best chicken eggs you can come across. Welsummer chickens are incredible layers, and that’s why chicken egg lovers keep these chickens.
Welsummer chicken eggs are large and lovely. Despite their large size compared to other chicken eggs, Welsummer chicken eggs are low in fat and cholesterol. They have plenty of nutrients that can potentially benefit your body and improve overall health.
For instance, these eggs are rich in vitamin A, B12, B5, and Vitamin B2. Eating these eggs will help meet your daily vitamin requirements. Welsummer chicken eggs also have plenty of selenium, a scientifically proven cancer-fighting agent. The phosphorus in Welsummer chicken eggs is crucial for healthy teeth and bones, while the rich calcium content in the chicken eggs keeps your bones strong.
Welsummer chicken eggs have probably the highest protein content of all types of chicken eggs. The zinc in these chicken eggs helps boost your immune system, while the healthy fats in the eggs can help promote better heart health.
Consuming Welsummer chicken eggs will improve your brain health over time. These eggs contain a high concentration of choline, which is crucial for brain health. Choline is also suitable for regulating mood and memory. Welsummer chicken eggs are also satisfying. Due to their high protein content, you won’t eat large portions of food or snacks before your meals.
Are Welsummer Chickens Good for Meat?
Yes, Welsummer chickens are also suitable for meat even though they boast higher egg production ability than most breeds. These chickens are dual-purpose chickens, which implies that you can raise them for eggs and meat. Nonetheless, these chickens are tiny, meaning their meat is relatively smaller than the meat from meat-producing breeds.
For that reason, most chicken keepers won’t consider raising Welsummers for meat. Nonetheless, you can decide whether to raise these chickens for meat or eggs, depending on what you want.
How Long do Welsummer Chickens Live?
Due to their hardy nature, Welsummer chickens have a longer lifespan than most breeds. These chickens can live for around nine years on average. Some Welsummer chickens can live longer than the average lifespan when their owners give them good care.
Nonetheless, diseases and predators can significantly shorten these chickens’ lifespan. Ensure your Welsummers are free from diseases and predators to help them live longer.
Are Welsummer Chickens Friendly?
Welsummers are relatively docile compared to leghorns and other chickens. These birds are friendly and intelligent. Furthermore, they are pretty active, making these birds excellent backyard chickens. While they are somewhat noisy, they aren’t easily agitated. Neither are these chickens aggressive. You will rarely see Welsummer chickens fighting, unlike most breeds.
Can Welsummer Chickens Get Wet?
Yes, Welsummer chickens can get wet quite quickly. While these chickens are pretty winter hardy, it doesn’t mean they can’t get wet in the rain. Their feathers are loose, and water can easily penetrate through their feathers.
Too much wetness will make your Welsummers succumb to flu and make their feathers looser, putting the birds at the risk of losing their feathers. It is thus not advisable to let your Welsummer chickens out in the rain for long since they will ultimately get wet. Even for free-range Welsummers, rain can be disastrous.
Erect a shade somewhere in your backyard where your chickens can shelter during heavy rains.
How Much Do Welsummer Chickens Cost?
Although Welsummer chickens are among the most popular exotic breeds since they originate from the European continent, they don’t cost that much. On average, a Welsummer rooster can cost between $5 and $10, depending on its size. Hens can be somewhat pricey than roosters since they cost between $7 and $12.
Young Welsummer hens that have just started laying can cost more since they are more productive than older hens that are almost ceasing laying.
Overall, there isn’t an exact cost of Welsummer chickens, for it depends on various factors. For instance, some chicken breeders can sell their Welsummer chickens costlier than other breeders. Furthermore, the availability of these chickens can significantly affect their price.
If you live in a region with fewer chicken keepers who raise Welsummer chickens, then these chickens will cost more there. However, you will pay less for your Welsummer chickens if you hail from a region with many chicken keepers with Welsummer chickens in their flocks since these chickens are readily available in that region.
Welsummer chickens are hardy and beautiful birds that can produce many eggs annually. These chickens have minimal maintenance requirements, and they also make excellent backyard chickens. Most importantly, Welsummer chickens are suitable for both eggs and meat.