Sunday, November 20, 2011


Last spring, we bought eight day-old chicks from our local hardware store. They'd been shipped in from Who Knows Where, and even the store manager wasn't quite sure what breed they were supposed to be. They were listed as "Ameraucanas," which in many places, means that they are mutt chickens whose parentage is unknown. (Ameraucana is a recognized breed, but the standard accepts so many different varieties and colors that the name becomes a catch-all. Sort of like labeling every dog in the pound either a "lab" or a "terrier.") I think we paid $1.49 for each chick.

Now that they're grown and beautiful, I'm beginning to suspect that they may actually be Welsummers. I base this partly on their color and shape, and partly on the fact that the hens lay eggs with brown speckled shells. Our chickens are extremely docile and friendly around people, but also ferocious around mice and small predators. None of the other breed descriptions I've read quite describe our flock as well as the Welsummer does.

Of course, I really have no way of knowing what breed they might be, and couldn't sell their chicks as purebred Welsummer flock-starting stock. But I'll say that our quest to identify their breed has kindled an interest in this heritage variety from the Netherlands that I would probably have otherwise never known.


  1. They really do look like Welsummers, especially the rooster. Beautiful birds! I need some mice-eating chickens around here....


  2. Whatever they are, they're beautiful chickens. And there is nothing like having your own homegrown eggs, whatever the variety.