November 7, 2011

Gallery of Welsummer Eggs

And now, for your viewing pleasure, (and because I don't have The Lost Art of Bartering follow-up ready for you), here is my collection of Welsummer Egg photos. More on the breed, below.

Welsummers are a Dutch developed breed, introduced to the US and Britain in the 1920s. They are noted for their dark brown and speckled eggs. Egg coloration and markings are completely random, so that no one hen lays a consistent color or speckle pattern. That makes them all the more fun to keep.

One of my Welsummer hens. 

We've had three Wellie hens. None of them has been particularly friendly, and usually run away if I get near. They are probably the noisiest of our hens, and will carry on at length when announcing egg laying or anything else of general interest to chickens. I've read they aren't particularly prone to broodiness, though reports on that are mixed. From experience, a Welsummer was the only of my 4 breeds to go broody this past summer. She was an excellent mother.

Mama Welsummer with her adopted
Buff Orpington & Barred Holland chicks

We also had three Wellie roos to start, but I was not particularly impressed with them. They are quite handsome, looking just like the Kellogg's corn flakes rooster (who is rumored to have been a Welsummer). However, they were the first to run away at any sign of something strange or scary. This did not (in my opinion), make them good candidates for the flock rooster. Since Welsummers are a dual purpose breed, ours went to the freezer. Like other dual purpose chickens however, one can't expect the heavy, meatier breasts of the meat breeds.

One other tidbit of interest about the breed, is that the chicks can be sexed at hatching, because of markings on the head and eyes.

Would I recommend the Welsummer breed to others? Definitely. Would I get them again? Based on our experience, probably not. Do check the comments though, because others have had different experiences with this breed. I'm glad we got some as part of our original flock, but for us, they aren't our personal preferred breed. We're still looking for that.


Anonymous said...

Good info to know, thanks for sharing what you have learned about this breed.

Jocelyn said...

We've got Wellies, and I have to say my experience has been totally different. Our girls are pretty friendly. They come around us a lot, though they don't love to be petted (my kids like to try, though), they don't run away, either. They talk CONSTANTLY and LOUDLY, which is hilarious. They always sound like they are complaining. We like them very much.

Our Wellie roo is named Copernicus and he is the BEST. He's beautiful, friendly, and very tame. He's the only roo who will let us stroke him (quickly--he has his limits). He eats from our hands and comes around us all the time. Perni is our gentle rooster, even the kids can handle him without repercussion.

Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

I always like a good mama and chick picture. So cute.

Tami said...

The eggs are beautiful. Who needs Faberge Eggs?

(Of course if your Wellie's WERE laying Faberge Eggs, they WOULD become your preferred breed @;)

Woolly Bits said...

I love the colours of the feathers - when I see all the different breeds, I always think I should use them as inspiration for yarn blends:)) of course the eggs would be an added bonus....

Judy T said...

I've got a Welsummer roo and one hen in my flock. My roo is going through his teenage angst period and while not really aggressive, has been stalking me on occasion. I must say I was really hoping for the classic solid terra cotta colored egg from my hen but I got speckles. Oh, well.

Leigh said...

Stephanie, you're welcome. We chicken lovers like this kind of stuff, ;)

Jocelyn, thank you for that! My sampling is so small, that it honestly isn't fair to characterize them as representative of the entire breed; this is just my experience.

Love your description of your roo. He sounds like a real treasure.

Jane, it was a delightful experience too. I can't imagine increasing our flock any other way now.

Tami, LOL. Good point!

Bettina, oh yes, wonderful feather coloration to inspire naturally dyed yarns. I can see a Welsummer Fair Isle vest sometime in my future.

Judy, too funny about your rooster. Hopefully he'll figure it out and settle down. And I know what you mean about egg color. On occasion I get those lovely dark brown eggs, but they're more the exception than the rule.

Mama Pea said...

We maybe need to try the Welsummers again sometime. We were disappointed in that the first time around with them they quit laying (completely!) their second winter while our others kept giving us their breed's fair share. I, too, was looking forward to more of those beautiful dark, dark brown eggs but the eggs we got were more of the speckled coloration.

Nina said...

I've got a couple of chooks who lay speckled and patchy eggs. Mainly the difference with my 3 different breeds is the egg size The New Hampshires lay massive eggs, super enormous jumbo, while the Plymouth Rocks and Rhode Island Reds lay much smaller eggs, from small to large. As for personalities, the Rhode Island reds are hilarious and noisy, the Plymouth Rocks, slightly more aloof, but still relatively friendly and curious while the New Hampshires are quite timid and much quieter. I'd look at other breeds but they are harder to find here. I won't get the New Hampshire chooks any more since they had some issues when starting to lay and the others have been totally problem free.

Sherri B. said...

I do believe that is the breed of our rooster. Ours is the best, he is good to the girls and very alert to always warn and place them in a safe spot when 'trouble' is around in any form. xo

Laura said...

Did you get your Wellies from a hatchery? If so, which one?

Anonymous said...

Farm fresh eggs are one of the most beautiful sights to me because they mean something delicious is coming up soon, lol! Love your pics, and thanks for the review on the breed. I'm hoping to get some chickens soon, and I'd really like some dual purpose chickens myself, so that we can eat them if need be. Yours looks like a real sweet mama!

Gingerbreadshouse7 said...

I just wish I could have some chickens :o( living in a development isn't allowed :o( wish I had given that some thought..guess I moved from the frying pan into the fire. The way some keep their yards chickens wouldn't be a mess.

Susan said...

I have two - first time for me. And, based on my two, last ones for me. They are hysterics. One virtually screams every time I come into the coop and I expect her to fall into a swoon. They aren't laying eggs yet, but would take the Barnevelders (another old Dutch breed) over the Wellies any day.

Danni said...

Well, my first comment disappeared (grrrr), so I'll try again. :-)
I so enjoyed this post! I inherited a 2 1/2 year old Welsummer last January and I have a series of photos of the most beautiful eggs (like you say, each one so different) from her.
I laughed at your description of their "carrying on", as I have seriously never heard a chicken make so much noise when laying an egg. Why, even the thought of laying an egg elicits shrieks, cackles and calls from her that used to bring me running, thinking she was in distress or being attacked. "Thumper" isn't what I'd call friendly, but she will eat out of my hand..and wow - those eggs... they are without a doubt the most beautiful of all my laying hens.
Thanks for posting this - I enjoyed comparing notes with you!

Leigh said...

Mama Pea, I have not found them to be the most prolific layers. They were the last to start once they reached laying age, and are the first to moult and hence stop. Seems those dark brown eggs are elusive as well.

Nina, interesting about the speckled eggs from other breeds. My Delaware laid a light brown egg with a smattering of lighter speckles at one end. Those Rocks RIRs are very popular breeds. I can see why from your experience

Sherri, sounds like you got an excellent rooster. In a way, it's a shame to have to butcher them at an age when they haven't really developed their roostering potential. We were fortunate with Lord B, but rooster selection can be something of a guessing game.

Laura, yes. I got them from Ideal, along with 3 other breeds, 6 of each: Delaware, Ameraucana, and Barred Holland.

Kristi, that is so true about farm fresh eggs. Not sure about dual purpose breeds ourselves. We're still working on that one.

Ginny, are the restrictions via your homeowners association, or town ordinance? Some places recognize chickens as pets, allowing a max of (usually) up to three and of course, no roosters. You should check into that.

Susan, that's so funny but so true. I understand the Barnevelders lay darker eggs anyway.

Danni, thanks! And thanks for sharing your experience with your Welsummer. It seems consistent that they are a vociferous breed, who like to make much about nothing. :)

BrokenRoadFarm said...

They are beautiful! And how unique that each hen lays different patterned eggs...not sure if we could take any more noise. I swear you can hear Reba (Production Red) in the surrounding counties when she lays an egg....she wants EVERYONE to know it :-)

Madness, Trouble, Squish and Milkbone said...

Who cares about being friendly if you lay such pretty eggs! :-)
Love those speckled eggs, and the hen is very beautiful too.

CaliforniaGrammy said...

I loved reading this post about your beautifully colored Wellsummers. I have never heard of this breed. However, I am quite new at raising chickens and love reading about the different. We finally have our first dozen eggs, with we think two of our flock of eight hens starting to lay. It's fascinating the different color and specks you get from your "Wellies" and I love seeing the mama taking care of her adopted chicks. How cute is that!?

badgerpendous said...

Love the pictures!

We have barred plymouth rocks and we love them. They're not too loud and tolerate us humans just fine. They're not flighty at all which is nice. One hen goes broody at the drop of a hat, and the other two have never been broody at all.

We will get some different breeds once these ones stop laying (here in the suburbs, we can only keep three). We love these ones, but it would be nice to give some others a try and maybe get some different eggs!

trump said...

It looks like those egg's have been spending a little time down in Florida,lol. They are some pretty egg's now. Richard from Amish Stories

Lisa said...

Hi Leigh!
I've not had Welsummers, but have raised many other breeds and my favorite is the Aracauna. They seem 'settled' (not flighty) and each not only has different and unique colored feathers, but lays colored eggs ranging from light blue, green and pink. My experience has been that they are usually prolific layers and lay on into advanced age. We, well my daughter actually, has always handled the baby chicks on a daily basis and they grow up 'tame'. She has also trained a few, they are actually quite smart, and won a couple of blue ribbons in the 4-H Poultry division where the chicken has to 'walk' the runway (i.e.table), turnaround, walk back, pose for the judge all without the owner touching the hen other than guiding her with a stick. She had one Barred Rock hen who liked to ride on the handlebars of her bike! Such fun memories! Good luck in your quest!

Leigh said...

BRF, LOL, hens certainly are proud of their egg laying achievements, that's for sure.

MTS&M, actually I agree with that! We have enough pets with our cats. :)

CAGrammy, they aren't one of the more common breeds. When I started researching breeds, I was amazed at how many there are! It's a fun thing to read about.

Badgerpendous, I've only heard good things about the Plymouth Rocks. It's nice you can keep even three. Not a lot, but enough to keep one in eggs. :)

Richard, LOL, they are unique, aren't they?

Lisa, your Aracaunas sound like my Ameraucanas, which breed I believe was developed from Aracaunas. I didn't entertain that breed because Dan didn't want chickens without tails, LOL. My Ameraucanas have been my best layers with the largest eggs. I'm tending to think that for a dual purpose breed however, a uniformly colored breed is better because the individuals seem less individual. Love that your daughter had a bike riding Barred Rock!

Alicia said...

My hubby loves the look of the Wellsummer Roos. I'm up to 35 birds, mixed flock, with 2 roos, so I don't think we'll be adding any anytime soon.
I really love my Silver laced Wyondottes. Friendly, good layers, not too noisy. I got buffs for the broodiness, but I'm not impressed with the laying vs. feed consumption. Can't wait to see how my buff/SLW cross hens do.
Beautiful eggs in the post!

* Crystal * said...

Ah ha!!! So that is who lays the speckled eggs!!!

I have one Welsummer who was supposed to be a Maran but must have got in my batch of chicks by accident.

Love my pretty speckled eggs :)

Leigh said...

Alicia, they are handsome, aren't they? We might have gone with a Wellie roo rather than the Barred Holland if they'd shown a little more moxie. My Welsummer/Barred Holland cross rooster has the beautiful black Wellie tail feathers.

I'm curious about feed consumption as you mention. We're definitely going through feed faster, but then we have 14 more chickens than we used to. I'm counting 7 Buff cockerels, so we'll see how it goes when we're down to a laying flock of 11 hens.

Crystal, LOL, fun, isn't it? Glad you figured it out. :)

Anonymous said...

My lovely Welsummer hen, Lilla, is the loudest, and she hasn't started laying yet at 29 weeks. However, only one of my EEs is laying so far in a group of 5.

Lilla is our sweetest hen. I haven't had a Welsummer before, but she is the hen that my 6 and 8 year old girls can pick up every time they try to. We raised all of our hens from day old chicks. We did not hatch them

Leigh said...

Anonymous, it's funny, but this winter my 2 remaining Wellie hens have been friendlier and less afraid of me than before. They aren't laying right now, so they aren't as noisy. Still, I love their coloring.