Welsummer chickens typically start laying eggs between 20 to 24 weeks of age (around 5-6 months). This is fairly average for a backyard chicken. Once laying, Welsummers lay around 160 large, dark brown or ‘deep red’ color eggs.
How Many Eggs Do Welsummers Lay?
With all chickens, there are a number of factors that affect how many eggs you expect them to lay so you can only take these numbers as an approximation.
That said, with all the right conditions met, Welsummers are expected to lay around 160-180 eggs per year on average.
That works out at about 3 per week. Although, when you take away the winter months when Welsummers are not laying it’s closer to 4 per week.
What Color Eggs Do Welsummers Lay?
Egg color is where Welsummers differ from a lot of other breeds as they lay what the WelsummerClub describes as a “rich deep red-brown” color egg.
In layman terms, they lay dark brown colored eggs. A much darker shade than you typically see on supermarket shelves.
The interesting part is that welsummers’ eggs have a rich pigmentation. Some eggs are speckled, mottled, and even blotched.
You’ll also be able to wipe off the pigmentation when washing their eggs sometimes which is always interesting to see!
How Long Do Welsummers Chickens Lay Eggs?
Welsummers have a life expectancy of around 9 years, but this doesn’t mean you’re going to get 9 years of peak egg-laying performance, far from it.
Almost all breeds of backyard chickens go through a similar laying cycle throughout their lives.
Chickens hit their peak fairly quickly once they start laying eggs. Their first couple of years are their best in terms of the number of eggs a chicken will lay.
Numbers start to drop off fairly sharply from there. A welsummer will lay around 10-15% fewer eggs per year, which starts to tail off much faster after 3-4 years.
It’s also worth mentioning that when a pullet first starts laying, you’ll see what’s known as ‘pullet eggs’.
These are much smaller than the eggs a mature hen will lay and sometimes are even an odd shape.
Don’t panic, it takes a chicken a few weeks for its reproductive system to become fully functional - which shouldn’t come as a huge surprise!
Some History and Facts About Welsummers Chickens
The welsummer or welsumer as it’s also called sometimes is a Dutch breed of chicken. It originates from Welsum, a small village in the Netherlands and that’s how it got its name.
According to Wiki, the welsummer was bred from a mix of Cochins, Wyandottes, Rhode Island Reds, Barnevelders, and Partridge Leghorns.
This goes a long way to explaining its appearance, which does have some characteristics of these breeds. As well as explaining why they’re good layers of large eggs.
Some quick facts:
- Minimum Standard weight for roosters is 7 lbs
- Minimum Standard weight for hens is 6 lbs
- They have bright red single combs, wattles, and ear lobes
- Eggs weigh around 65-70 grams and ~40 grams for bantams
- Welsummers are known for being intelligent, docile, and calm
- The breed was developed in the 1900s and first imported into the U.S. in 1928
- Welsummers are often used as part of the hybrids that create 'Easter eggers'
Where To Buy Welsummers Chickens, Chicks, and Hatching Eggs
I buy all my hatching eggs, chicks, and other poultry-related stuff online at Cackle Hatchery. They’re an NPIP registered hatchery and have been in business since 1936!
They’ve always been great to me and have awesome customer service, which is always something that is important to me when dealing with a business.
I took a look, and at the time of writing this Cackle Hatchery was selling welsummer baby chicks starting at $3.30/ea for non-sexed chicks if you buy a certain number.
They also give you the option to buy sexed chicks, so you can be sure you’re getting either pullets or cockerels.
Are Welsummers a Good Choice for a Backyard Breed?
Welsummers are a popular choice for backyards and homesteads across Europe, but they haven't really picked up the same popularity here for some reason.
They're pretty much a perfect choice for a backyard breed. The problem is that there are so many other breeds that are also awesome.
The best thing about Welsummers is probably their general temperament and the fact that they are hardy chickens.
Sure, they don't like colder climates and they stop laying throughout the winter. However, they're not known for any health issues, have a sweet and docile temperament, and are a lot of fun to interact with.
If you want a good supply of large dark brown eggs (which are sure to impress friends and family) from a chicken that’s easy to care for, then I’d consider either starting with or adding some welsummers to your flock.
Image credits - Photo by Kiarash Mansouri on Unsplash