This Dutch breed takes it's name from the small village of Welsum. Developed just after the turn of the century, it was first shown in 1921. The name is frequently misspelled as Welsummer - but the accurate spelling only has one 's'.
The Welsumer's main characteristic is the large dark brown egg, described in an article in Fancy Fowl as "a rich deep flower-pot red brown, almost glowing . . ." They should be matt brown to avoid confusion with the Marans eggs which should be glossy chocolate.
Although considered a light, soft feathered, nonsitting breed, the hens can go broody bu, in general, tend not to make great mums. I am sure there are individuals who are a delightful exception, but until your birds are proven to raise young well its best not to rely on them.
Welsumers should be good, strong foragers on free range. Some modern strains are a bit less active, but good productive birds tend to be out and about looking for titbits.
This photo was taken in the autumn - as you can see the boy is beginning to moult his tail feathers.
Black/red (or Partridge) is the standardised colour of the large form. They are remarkably attractive birds, but most of the UK strains are really more for ornamental value as their productive qualities are lower than other utility breeds.
If you are careful and talk to the breeder of your birds it should be possible to find some reasonably productive birds that are recorded and capable of laying over 150 - 180 eggs a year, but within the breed the averages have declined below 100 eggs a year, which is such a shame. All breeders should be aiming to improve their birds, not just replicate to sell anything.
The males are gorgeous, the quintessential Kellogg's cockerel. Utility may not be as large as the exhibition birds you might see at shows. The breed society are concerned that some exhibition strains are getting too big. Certainly the eggs I have seen at the few national shows I have been to are not impressive in either colour or size in comparison to our birds.
The Duckwing Welsummer, as the birds at the top of the page, are less common, but very very pretty. They should be strong layers for the breed, and certain strains were outlaying the normal Partridge strains, but sadly most of the quality is being lost by lack of decent selection. It should be possible to get Gold and Silver Duckwings, but Partrige will appear in the offspring mix.
This adorable card of welsumer chicks and eggs has been produced by the Welsumer club and is available for £5 for 10 cards including postage.
It is blank inside so ideal for Easter cards- writing letters or thank you notes, being a generous 7" x 5".
use for United Kingdom locations only -
For more information about Welsumers around the United Kingdom join the welsumer club - the year book is great, very high quality, with articles from showing and utility people. The club committee are very helpful. Having chatted to some there is a wealth of information they have and if they had more members then they could afford to print more. Contact the secretary : Mr G H Johnson
Lynbrooke, Sheriffhales, Shifnal, Shropshire TF11 8QX 01952 460274