If you are familiar with the Kellogg’s Corn Flakes rooster mascot, Cornelius, then you have some familiarity with the Welsummer Chicken. Even Prince Charles keeps a flock of Welsummer Chickens and is the Royal Patrol for the British Welsummer Club.

The Welsummer Chicken is a large Dutch breed of domesticated chicken. They are known for being friendly, easy to handle, and a very hardy breed that is dual-purpose, so let’s dive further into the Welsummer and see what the breed is all about.

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Quick Facts About the Welsummer Chicken

Breed Name:Welsummer Chicken
Place of Origin:The Netherlands
Uses:Eggs, Meat
Rooster (Male) Size:7-8 lbs
Hen (Female) Size:5-6 lbs
Color:Red partridge
Lifespan:5-9 years
Climate Tolerance:All climates
Care Level:Easy
Production:Dual purpose

Welsummer Chicken Origins

The Welsummer Chicken was developed near the village of Welsum in the Netherlands during the early 1900s.  With the Netherlands being home to many landrace varieties of chicken, some of these chickens were crossbred with other breeds such as Partridge Leghorns, Cochins, and Rhode Island Reds.

The Welsummer first made its debut as a breed in 1921 at the Hauge’s World Poultry Conference where it was well-received by poultry keepers throughout the Netherlands and Europe. By 1927 The Dutch Welsummer’s Breeder Club was established, and the new breed first arrived in England.

The Welsummer won the British Best Utility Breed award in 1935. The breed was exported to the United States in 1928 and was eventually admitted into the American Poultry Association in 1991.

Welsummer chickens stepping out in the snow
Image Credit: Lonny Garris, Shutterstock

Welsummer Chicken Characteristics

The Welsummer Chicken has a great temperament. They are very intelligent, docile, friendly, and easy to handle. They don’t particularly enjoy being held but they do tolerate it well. They are sturdy, large chickens but don’t get too domineering over other breeds. They tend to be a much noisier breed than others.

Hens can lay anywhere from 160 to 250 eggs per year. They do stop laying during the winter months but pick right back up once spring comes around. Broodiness is not their strong point and they don’t make very good mothers. If you plan to see a fertilized clutch through to hatching, you best find another broody hen. The eggs of the Welsummer are a rich brown that is commonly speckled with dark brown spots.

The chicks can be auto-sexed upon hatching, as the males are much lighter with  a fuzzier patterning and the females are darker with a more distinct pattern. Welsummers are a sturdy and healthy breed that tends to be about 9 years of age. They are cold-tolerant and hardy but the roosters risk frostbite with their long wattles and combs.

The breed are great foragers and love to wander around the yard. They can tolerate confinement and runs but much prefer to be out in the open. The roosters are very colorful with their mix of chestnut brown and beetle green. The hens are dark reddish-brown partridge.


The Welsummer is a dual-purpose breed that is used for both meat and eggs. They are very productive birds, and the hens are known for laying colorful eggs. They do make decent layers and have longer laying seasons than some other breeds, but their egg production significantly decreases during the wintertime.

Each hen will steadily produce for about 3 years if kept under appropriate conditions. They typically lay anywhere from 160 to 200 eggs per year, but well-fed hens may produce up to 250.

welsummer chicken
Image Credit: M Huston, Shutterstock

Appearance & Varieties

The Welsummer Chicken is large with an upright stance, broad back, and full breast. Hens and roosters are somewhat different in appearance. Hens are a deep reddish-brown coloration with a red partridge pattern with golden plumage around the neck.

Roosters have a large comb and wattle and sport chestnut brown saddle and hackle feathers with triangular wing patches. Their chest, wings, and sickles are a deep beetle green color. Both hens and roosters have reddish-bay eyes with red combs, wattles, and earlobes.

Population, Distribution & Habitat

After being developed in Welsummer, a village near Deventer, Netherlands, the Welsummer Chicken has since gained quite a bit of popularity. The breed is extremely popular throughout Europe and Australia.

Though not quite as popular among keepers in the United States, this breed is still common and easy to find. Most people in America don’t realize that the Kellogg’s Corn Flake rooster is actually a depiction of the Welsummer.

This breed is built to be cold hardy, a trait needed during the wintertime in the Netherlands. The long combs and wattles on the roosters can be sensitive to frostbite though, so it’s important to keep them well-protected against extreme cold conditions.

welsummer cock on the grass
Image Credit: Sponner, Shutterstock

Are Welsummer Chickens Good for Small-Scale Farming?

The Welsummer Chicken would make a great choice of chicken for small-scale farming. They are suitable for meat production and are decent layers. They forage well and are very friendly and easy to handle. Some downsides to the Welsummer for small-scale farmers is the lack of egg production in the winter and they can be a bit noisy.

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The Welsummer Chicken may have gotten their start in the Netherlands but its popularity grew quickly thanks to its unique, colorful eggs. They are a great dual-purpose chicken, though the hens pause laying during winter and fall short in terms of broodiness. They are suitable meat chickens and are a great choice for small-scale farmers that would enjoy a friendly, docile chicken that loves to forage.

Featured Image Credit: Katrin Friedl Fotografie, Shutterstock