Welsummers are the primary breed kept for egg laying here on our little hobby farm. My interest in antique breeds and the rich mahogany eggs that I saw in pictures of Marans, sparked my interest in learning more about these dark egglayers. When saw my first picture of a Welsummer, I knew this was a breed that I had to work with. Starting off with only a few specimens, I am sure they will quickly become our favorite here in the redwoods.
The Welsummers are a dual-purpose breed from Holland, prized for their beauty and large dark brown eggs.They are relatively new in the United States, having been recenlty admitted to the APA list of breeds. An old breed, Welsummers have been revived as a breed by dedicated fanciers in Europe, after coming to near-extinction during World War II.
Although Welsummer chickens are associated with Welsum, Holland the breed was originally developed in the area along the river Ysel to the north of Deventer, Holland at about the same time as the Barnevelders (1900-1913).
The original birds which were given the name Welsummer showed a variety of colours and physical variations i.e. 5 toes, blue tails, yellow body feathering. Fortunately efforts were made to improve the breed and a farmer's son from the village of Welsum made trial crossings with other breeds especially Barnevelders and it was this crossing which proved to be the most stable and constant. Later other farmers in the area began to buy stock from this source and the breed became established.
In 1921 this breeder was invited to exhibit the Welsummers at the first World Poultry Congress at The Hague. In 1922/23 because of the uniformity, steps were taken to standardise the breed. In 1927 the Dutch Association for the Improvement of the Welsum Poultry Breed was founded. The Welsum breed arrived in England in 1928.
Weights - Cock 7lb (3.2kg) and Hen 6lb (2.7kg).
They are friendly birds and really give the place a farmyard feel. They are probably best known for the eggs they lay. These eggs have been described as "a rich deep flower pot red". They really are the most beautiful large brown eggs you're likely to see but because their production qualities are lower than other utility breeds you would be very unlikely to buy a dozen Welsummer eggs from the Free-Range section at any supermarket.