The Welsummer is a Dutch breed of domestic chicken. It originates in the small village of Welsum, near the town of Deventer, in the eastern Netherlands. It was bred at the beginning of the 20th century from local fowls of mixed origin. In the 1920’s steps were taken to fix a standard after the birds began to show a good deal of uniformity. The dark brown eggs were originally exported for the commercial egg trade where they were an instant hit. Soon after, stock was imported into England. The breed was added to the British Standard in 1930. It was admitted to the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection in 2001.
The Welsummer is a large, upright, active chicken with a broad back, a full breast and a large, full tail. It’s a soft-feathered breed that comes in standard and bantam sizes. Standard Welsummer cocks weigh 7 pounds and hens weigh 6 pounds. The breed’s primary color is Red Partridge, but standard-sized fowl come in Silver Duckwing and Gold Duckwing, as well. (The Kellogg’s Corn Flakes rooster is a Red Partridge Welsummer.) The breed has a medium-sized, single comb and yellow skin and shanks.
Welsummers bear confinement well but also make fine free-range chickens. They’re friendly, intelligent and reasonably winter-hardy. Welsummer hens are broody and good layers, averaging three to four eggs per week.
The Welsummer’s claim to fame is their magnificent eggs. The standard sized Welsummer lays large eggs which are a terracotta dark brown, often with dark speckles. Some used to think that the eggs were a trick as the dark coloring can be removed when the egg is scrubbed. But this is due to the way egg coloration occurs – the brown on an egg is a protein coat with brown pigment that can be removed if scrubbed vigorously.
The Welsummers on Smoky Buttes Ranch have been certified by the Sustainable Poultry Network (SPN-USA – www.SPN-USA.com) to be true to breed; and are being bred to the highest excellence for vigor, standard qualities, and production qualities.