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Birds native to Holland can be found in every rural courtyard. Chickens of the Welsomer breed provide the breeder with quality eggs and dietary meat. They are distinguished by bright colorful plumage, high endurance, egg-laying is preserved even in winter. The only drawback of representatives of this species is that they have lost the instinct for hatching offspring.
History of the breed
Bred in the small Dutch village of Velzumer. By crossing local outbred chickens with Malay fighting breeders, a new species of birds was obtained. They had large, peculiar dark-colored eggs and rusty-partridge plumage. For several years, experts have improved the genus, to consolidate the result, they added the blood of the Rhode Islands and Barnevelders to it. The standard for the welsumer line was approved in 1900. At present, layers of this genus are the best, as the breed has been improved several times over the past 100 years.
Description and characteristics of welsummer chickens
Typical specimens of a bird of the Welsumer breed have 3 varieties of plumage colors. The most common chickens with chestnut-red head and neck color, on the breast of which there are golden inserts. Males look more beautiful: the withers and head are copper-bronze in color, the chest is covered with black feathers.
The weight of a chicken carcass is 2.1 kg, roosters grow from 2.8 to 3.5 kg. Brownish yellow and silvery colors are more common in dwarf breeds.
Features of Welshmer breed chickens:
- large, embossed chest;
- rounded abdomen and small wings pressed to the body;
- elongated back;
- small neat head;
- carrot-red eyes;
- oval short beard;
- small comb;
- stocky yellow legs;
- strong, well developed thighs.
Interesting! A distinctive feature of Dutch chickens is dense plumage with a lot of warm fluff, which protects the bird in winter.
Birds, especially roosters, can periodically show aggression, which is not surprising, given the fighting roots of the welsomer hens. The hens are stately, modest, and benevolent. They get along with neighbors in the poultry yard, they are not afraid of people, they calmly walk into their arms.
The welshumers have lost their maternal instinct in the process of crossing with other representatives. For breeding, breeders use an incubator or lay eggs under a different type of hen.
Laying hens, reaching 5-6 months, begin to lay. At first, the productivity is 160-180 eggs. Little by little, the figures are dropping to 130 pieces per year. The average weight of an egg is 65 g. The shell is oval, chocolate-colored. Their taste depends on what the hen is fed with.
Advantages and disadvantages
The pluses of the Welsummer breed include:
- high immunity to disease;
- the survival rate of young animals is close to 90%;
- ideal acclimatization to any climatic conditions;
- unpretentiousness in content;
- high egg production and fertility;
- when grown for meat, they rapidly gain weight.
The disadvantages of the beelzumer chickens include the loss of the hatching instinct and the fighting nature of the roosters. Also, in recent years, it has been problematic to buy purebred representatives of this species.
The subtleties of keeping and caring for birds
To increase egg production in the cold season, hens need to increase the length of daylight hours.
Important! The hens do not like the sudden change in lighting. At first, the backlighting starts from 20-30 minutes, gradually increasing to 12-14 hours.
Coop and walking area
Chickens can not stand dampness, so the room must be equipped with a ventilation system. You also need to provide them with perches, nests, covered with dry clean straw. Crowding of birds per 1 m2 - 4-6 pcs. Every six months, the hen house is disinfected: it is whitewashed with lime from the inside, dishes and equipment are disinfected with special agents.
At the same time, representatives of this breed can live in an unheated chicken coop, but drafts should be excluded. Laying hens should be able to move freely around the courtyard. In winter, the walking area is covered with sawdust or hay. In order for the bird to have the opportunity to take dust baths, boxes with wood ash, sand or shells are installed on the site.
Molt and break of egg production
Moulting occurs in layers of any breed. It falls in the autumn months and lasts from 4 to 8 weeks. During this period, the bird stops rushing. After the change of plumage, the egg production process is restored.
It is advisable to keep layers of the Welsumer breed per egg for 2-3 years, then their productivity decreases. Therefore, breeders are preparing a replacement, because it makes no sense to keep chickens longer.
Diet of adults
In winter, chickens are given food 3 times a day, in summer they are reduced to 2. The basis of the diet is cereals. The bird, which does not have the ability to move freely around the courtyard, is mixed with vitamin supplements in the feed. The diet of adults of the Welsumer breed:
- morning - 70% cereals, the rest is grass, vegetable tops, fruits;
- lunch - a wet mash, to which meat and bone or fish meal, vitamins, shell rock, chalk are added;
- evening - cereals, grass, roots, herbs from the garden.
Carrots and pumpkin are grated before serving, roots (potatoes, beets) are boiled. During the period when greens are not available, they give hay, chopped spruce and pine needles. Also, birds need to be provided with sufficient drinking water.
In winter, the daily ration is increased, as the bird needs more energy to maintain body temperature.
Newcomers buy young animals at the age of 1.5-2 months, mistakenly believing that keeping chickens requires a lot of effort. In fact, you do not need to have specific knowledge and skills to breed beelzumer chickens.
Eggs are laid in an incubator when there is no way to put them on chickens of a different breed. The selection of material for breeding is carried out when the hen reaches 7-9 months. The birds selected for procreation are moved to a separate enclosure. They should receive the appropriate vitamins and minerals. To ensure a high fertility rate, there should be 1 cock for 7-10 females.
Eggs are selected of medium size, without defects, with a smooth shell. Hypothermia should not be allowed. It is not recommended to wash them before placing them in the incubator. Natural microflora should remain on the eggs. In the middle of the incubation cycle, a control ovoscopy is carried out to remove eggs without embryo.
What to feed the chicks
Diet for chickens Velzumer:
- 1-3 days - finely chopped boiled eggs mixed with semolina;
- from day 3, add lactic acid products and a mash, which is diluted with broth or water. And also add chopped grass (nettle, onion, clover, alfalfa).
To strengthen the immune system, 30% of the diet should be greens. Newborn chickens are fed 6 times a day, from day 11 it is reduced to 4 times a day.
Chicks hatch from the eggs 3 weeks later. The first day they dry out in an incubator, then they are deposited in a separate box, weak specimens are discarded. The temperature of the content in the first 3 days: + 33 ... + 35 ˚С, then reduced to +29 ˚С.
Chickens of the Welsomer breed have an excellent pedigree, therefore, with proper maintenance, they do not get sick. The main thing is not to violate the sanitary and hygienic standards of maintenance, to diversify the diet, to provide the livestock with clean water, and to vaccinate on time.
A dwarf copy of the Welsumer chicken breed was bred by German breeders 10 years later. They are also unpretentious in content, they do not need a large area for walking. Neither meat nor egg products are inferior to the original samples in taste. Laying hen ripens by 4 months, egg weight, on average, 40 g, yields up to 150 pieces per year. The weight of dwarf females is 0.85-1.1 kg, males grow from 0.96 to 1.2 kg. Diet meat, tender.
Chickens welsummer is a meat and egg decorative early maturing breed. In the content and choice of food, these birds are unpretentious, their diet does not differ from other breeds of poultry.