If you’re searching for a remarkable addition to your backyard flock, look no further than the captivating Welbar chicken breed. With their distinctive barred plumage, impressive egg-laying abilities, and friendly temperaments, Welbars are a breed that encompasses both aesthetic appeal and practicality. Whether you’re a seasoned chicken keeper or just starting your flock, Welbars offer a rewarding and enriching experience for those seeking a delightful addition to their feathered family. This Welbar chicken breed guide will go into detail about this rare and beautiful breed, so you can decide if it is right for your flock.
Overview of Welbar Chicken Breed
Let’s have a look at some general characteristics of the Welbar chicken breed:
|Country of Origin||United Kingdom|
|Weight||5-7 pounds (2.3-3.2 kg)|
|Egg Production||200-250 eggs per year|
|Egg Size and Color||Medium to large brown eggs|
|Personality||Calm, sociable, friendly|
History of the Welbar Chicken
The Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) credits H. Humphreys as the creator of the Welbar breed. Being that the Rare Breeds Survival Trust is a highly trusted organization that works to preserve and promote rare and native breeds in the United Kingdom, their information is crucial to understanding the Welbar chicken. According to the RBST, H. Humphreys developed the Welbar chicken breed by crossing a Welsummer rooster with a Barred Plymouth Rock hen. However, when this exactly happened, it is hard to say, but it was during the 1940s. Due to the rarity of this breed, there is a lack of information surrounding its past.
What is known is that that breeding program aimed to produce a chicken with desirable traits from both parent breeds, resulting in the distinctive appearance and commendable attributes of the Welbar chickens recognized today.
Physical Characteristics of Welbar Chickens
Welbars exhibit a captivating appearance with their medium-sized, well-rounded body shape and eye-catching plumage. Both roosters and hens of this breed possess distinct characteristics that contribute to their overall charm.
Welbar chickens may come in gold or silver. Both hens and roosters have distinct barring, a characteristic from the Barred Plymouth Rock. Depending on the color of your chicken, they may have alternating bands of black, white, or gray. The contrast between the dark and light colors gives the roosters a handsome and distinguished look that stands out in any flock.
In terms of weight, Welbars fall within the medium-sized category. While exact weights can vary between individuals, a mature Welbar rooster typically weighs around 6 to 7 pounds (2.7 to 3.2 kilograms), while hens generally weigh slightly less at around 5 to 6 pounds (2.3 to 2.7 kilograms). These weight ranges contribute to the breed’s overall balanced and sturdy body structure.
Personality and Temperament of Welbar Chickens
One of the endearing qualities of Welbar chickens is their friendly and docile nature. These chickens possess a calm and amiable temperament, making them an excellent choice for backyard flocks, families, and even children. Another standout trait of this breed is its sociability. Welbar chickens make for excellent companions, because they enjoy human interaction. Plus, they like to be handled and held. If you are looking for chickens that double as friends or pets, this is a wonderful breed to bring home.
Some anecdotal evidence also suggests that Welbar chickens are intelligent enough to learn some verbal commands.
Welbar chickens are also known for being curious. They enjoy exploring their surroundings. Because of this, they tend to prefer environments that allow for a little roaming. These chickens will spend hours scratching at the ground to find insects and other hidden treats.
For those chicken keepers with mixed flocks, the Welbar chicken is a welcome addition. They tend to get along well with other chicken breeds, displaying a non-aggressive and cooperative attitude. This peaceful nature contributes to a harmonious and stress-free flock dynamic.
Egg-Laying Capabilities and Broodiness
Welbar hens are a popular choice for those who seek plenty of eggs. Between 5 to 6 months of age, you can expect your Welbar pullets to start producing eggs. As they mature, their output increases dramatically. On average, a well-cared-for Welbar hen can lay approximately 200 to 250 eggs per year. The exact number of eggs can vary depending on various factors such as diet, age, and environmental conditions. Welbars are known for their consistency in egg production, often laying eggs throughout the year. This steady supply of eggs ensures a bountiful harvest for egg-loving households.
Another noteworthy characteristic of Welbars is their moderate broodiness. Broodiness refers to a hen’s inclination to sit on and hatch eggs. While Welbars may exhibit occasional broody behavior, they are generally known for their reliable egg-laying traits rather than being highly broody. This aspect can be beneficial for those primarily interested in egg production, as it allows for consistent egg production.
Can Welbar Chickens Be Used for Meat?
Beyond their exceptional egg-laying capabilities, Welbars possess moderate meat qualities, making them a versatile breed suitable for dual-purpose use. While not specialized meat birds, Welbars offer a good meat-to-bone ratio and their flesh is flavorful and tender. This dual-purpose quality allows chicken keepers to enjoy both the delectable eggs and the occasional succulent meat from their Welbar flock. Whether you prioritize eggs or meat, Welbars provide a balanced combination that caters to various needs and preferences.
Tips for Caring and Raising Welbar Chickens
If you are keen on purchasing a couple of Welbar chicks and raising them, there are a couple of things you need to know:
Welbar chickens are perfectly fine with confinement in a chicken run, but they tend to thrive when they have space to run around. For these chickens, you want between 6-8 inches of space on a perch for each chicken to roost comfortably. The perches should also be spaced around 8-10 inches apart. Outside of the coop, you want about 43 square feet (4 square meters) of space per chicken. This gives them plenty of room to roam without getting frustrated.
Generally, Welbar chickens are hardy enough to deal with warmer weather and foraging. However, when it comes to cold weather, they tend to get sick rather easily. If you plan on keeping Welbar chickens in a location that tends to get a lot of snow, it is highly recommended that you fortify the coop to keep it warm.
Feeding Welbar Chickens
Provide a well-balanced commercial chicken feed formulated specifically for laying hens (should have 16-18% protein). Look for a feed that contains the right balance of protein, vitamins, minerals, and calcium. Avoid feeds intended for broilers or chicks, as they have different nutritional requirements. Welbar hens also require sufficient calcium to produce strong eggshells. Offer a separate source of calcium, such as crushed oyster shells or ground eggshells, in a separate container. This allows the hens to consume it as needed to support their egg-laying process.
While treats can be offered to supplement their diet and provide variety, it’s important to offer them in moderation. Treats should not exceed more than 10% of their overall diet. Good options include fruits, vegetables, and small amounts of grains or mealworms. Avoid giving them sugary or fatty treats, as these can be detrimental to their health.
Welbar chickens are considered resilient birds that can survive almost anything. A Welbar chicken that is taken care of will last between 6-8 years, though you should expect maximum egg production to taper off around 2 years old. However, like many other chicken breeds out there, they are susceptible to parasites and other illnesses.
Some issues that you may encounter with a Welbar chicken include:
- Mites and lice
- Infectious bronchitis
- Mycoplasma gallisepticum
- Vent gleet
- Egg-related issues, including egg peritonitis and egg binding
How Do You Get a Welbar Chicken?
Welbars are considered a rare breed, which adds to their appeal and allure. Due to their uniqueness and limited availability, finding Welbars may require a bit more effort compared to more common breeds. It’s advisable to connect with reputable breeders, poultry associations, or specialized online platforms to acquire healthy, true-to-breed Welbar chickens. These sources can provide guidance on the best practices for raising and caring for Welbars, ensuring a successful and rewarding experience.
Some breeders providing these wonderful chickens include:
Final Thoughts on the Welbar Chicken Breed
Now you know everything you need to know about the Welbar chicken breed. Whether you’re drawn to their striking appearance, their docile temperament, or their consistent egg production, Welbars are sure to bring joy and fulfillment to chicken enthusiasts of all levels. If you plan on bringing Welbars home, remember to provide them with adequate nutrition and warmth in the winter. You’re going to love them — and all the eggs you get.
Valerie has been content writing since 2016 for websites and companies all around the world. A traveler, dancer, martial artist, Valerie loves gathering experiences and wisdom. Her travels have taken her to over 20 countries, and she hopes to see more of the world soon.