The Welsummer breed is fairly new to the United States, only having been admitted to the American Poultry Association in 1991, so it is ironic that they are what that average person thinks of when they picture the typical 'barnyard chicken'. Even more ironic is that a Welsummer rooster, Cornelius, is the guy who graces the Kellogg's cornflake box, instead of an American breed like a Buckeye or a Rhode Island Red. But no matter where they originated or when, there's no denying they are a gorgeous breed of chicken.
Welsummers were developed in the eastern Netherlands, in a small Dutch town named Welsum sometime in the early 1900's and were imported throughout Europe, arriving in England in 1928, but not in the United States until much later. Active and good foragers, they quickly grew in popularity however as a dual-purpose breed, laying nearly 160 terracotta-colored speckled eggs a year on average.
My first experience with the breed came this past March, when I hatched two Welsummer eggs.
Knowing the Kellogg's connection, and because these were the last two eggs to hatch, our Facebook fans named our two chicks Cornflake and Late Nate. At a week old, the two chicks already had subtle differences in size and coloring....
and by three weeks old, Late Nate was clearly larger than Cornflake. It seemed that, prophetically, Nate was a rooster. By a month old, Nate's comb was much larger and brighter red and his tail was longer than Cornflake's.
By five weeks, Nate clearly had wattles forming, although he doesn't have the thicker legs or spurs that some breed roos grow early on. Nate and Cornflake are six weeks old now and I'm figuring we'll be hearing some crowing from Nate in the next two weeks or so.
He's the cutest thing tho, a miniature rooster, sitting and watching over the rest of the chicks.
We'll keep Nate until he starts to crow and is big enough to be introduced to a friend's flock, where he'll rule the roost at her farm. As for Cornflake, she will join our flock with the rest of our hens and lay us some of these beautiful terracotta speckled eggs !