If you’re looking for a colorful and friendly breed to add to your backyard flock, Lakenvelder chickens are an excellent choice.
Not only do they add a beautiful aesthetic to any flock, but they also lay a respectable number of eggs and provide some companionship as well.
With its fascinating history and striking appearance, the Lakenvelder breed is a great conversation starter for any chicken keeper.
By providing your birds with the proper care, you can enjoy the company of these charming birds for many years to come.
Here’s everything you need to know about the not-so-common Lakenvelder chicken breed.
The History of the Lakenvelder Chicken Breed
The exact origin of the Lakenvelder chicken breed is unclear, but it’s believed to have ancient origins that are incredibly unique – and worth paying attention to.
While the breed was developed in Holland and Germany, it has much older ancestry dating back to 2000 BCE.
This was during the immigration of Indo-Aryan wise men who arrived in Mesopotamia and later became distinguished and well-known as the Holy Men of the Brahmaputra River.
They brought chickens from the Indus Valley, which later set out in Palestine, where they bred their fowl for the roosters and the eggs.
The breed was likely developed in Southern Holland, near the German border.
Records of the Lakenvelder show as far back as 1727, and they started to appear in poultry shows in 1835 in West Hanover.
It wasn’t until around 1900 that the breed was brought to the United States.
The American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection admitted this breed not only until 1939.
Interestingly, the Lakenvelder chicken breed was once highly prized for its eggs.
They were known for being excellent layers and were often gifted as a sign of goodwill between trading partners.
In fact, it’s said that German merchants would trade Lakenvelder chickens for goods in other countries during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Today, other egg-laying breeds have more or less replaced the Lakenvelder, but it’s still a good option if you want an egg-focused flock.
What Do Lakenvelder Chickens Look Like?
The name of this bird actually makes sense, even when translated.
“Laken” means sheet, while “veld” means field.
Hence, the name Lakenvelder translates to white spread over a black field – which sums up their appearance perfectly.
Lakenvelder chickens are white birds with black tails, hackles, and primary and secondary feathers with black inner webbing.
They also have a beautiful blue-gray under color that gives the appearance of a shimmering effect.
The breast of the Lakenvelder chicken is round and plump, and their skin is white as well.
Aside from their feathers, Lakenvelder chickens have medium-length slate shanks and slate toes.
They have short thighs, medium-sized single-red combs, red eyes, and dark horn beaks.
The plumage of the Lakenvelder is slow to develop in color, often taking until the third molting to see it in all its glory.
One of the distinctive features of Lakenvelder chickens is their size.
They’re among the smaller chicken breeds, with roosters only weighing around 6 pounds and hens around 4-5 pounds.
This makes them perfect for backyard settings, as they won’t require as much space as some of the larger breeds.
Despite their size, Lakenvelder chickens can still be extremely hardy birds.
They’re excellent foragers and are quite adept at defending themselves.
While many breeds of chickens are quite friendly, Lakenvelder chickens are known to be quite independent, preferring to do their own thing.
Temperament of Lakenvelder Chickens
Lakenvelder chickens are a beautiful and unique breed known for their striking black and white striped plumage.
Aside from their appearance, these chickens are also recognized for their active and alert nature.
However, their temperament may not be for everyone.
On the plus side, these birds are great foragers and are always on the move, making them a great choice for free-range environments.
However, if you live in an urban or suburban area, you may need a more contained space for them to roam.
This chicken breed does not love being confined, and if you try to contain them, they may become bored and agitated.
An unhappy chicken is not desirable, so it’s important to consider this before bringing them into your flock.
Lakenvelders are also wary birds. They are always on the lookout for potential predators.
This trait can be good, as it means they will be more likely to spot danger before it arrives.
However, it can also make them skittish around humans, especially if they haven’t been socialized from a young age.
Some Lakenvelders may be naturally more people-oriented than others, but generally, they are not known for their friendliness towards humans.
When it comes to keeping Lakenvelders with other breeds, it’s important to consider their dominant nature.
Because of their active and alert temperament, they may try to assert dominance over more docile breeds.
If you plan to keep them with other breeds, it’s important to introduce them carefully and monitor their behavior.
You may also want to consider keeping them with breeds that are more similar in temperament to avoid any potential conflicts.
Are Lakenvelder Chickens Friendly?
While they may not be the friendliest towards humans, they can make great additions to flocks that are already established.
If you’re considering keeping them as pets, it’s important to consider their need for space and activity and their potential dominant behavior towards other breeds.
Raising Lakenvelder Chickens for Eggs
These striking birds have distinctive black and white plumage that will catch your attention.
But what about their egg-laying capabilities?
How Many Eggs Do Lakenvelder Chickens Lay?
If you’re looking for a breed of chicken that will crank out 300+ eggs per year, then Lakenvelders are probably not your best bet.
However, if you’re looking for a breed that lays enough eggs to keep your family in omelets and baked goods, then keep reading!
Lakenvelders are known to lay around 150 to 200 small to medium-sized white-tinted eggs annually.
Not too shabby, right?
One thing to remember is that Lakenvelder hens tend not to be very broody.
If you’re hoping to hatch your own chicks, you might need to invest in an incubator or find a different breed of chicken to raise.
However, if you’re just interested in harvesting eggs for your own use, then this shouldn’t be a major concern.
It should even be beneficial since you won’t have to worry about egg production dropping due to a broody hen.
How Old Are Lakenvelder Chickens When They Start to Lay Eggs?
Generally, Lakenvelders will start laying between the ages of 5 to 7 months.
Of course, this can vary from chicken to chicken, but you can expect to see your first eggs in that time frame.
When they first start laying, their eggs may be small, but they’ll gradually increase in size as they mature.
Can You Raise Lakenvelder Chickens for Meat?
Technically, yes. Lakenvelder chickens were developed as both meat and egg producers.
However, it’s important to note that they are very small birds, with males weighing only around 5 lbs and females 4 lbs.
This means there isn’t a significant amount of meat to be had from these birds, but the meat there is supposedly delicious.
If you are raising Lakenvelder chickens for meat, it’s important to keep in mind that they will need to be fed a high-quality diet that is specifically designed for meat production.
This kind of feed will help them put on weight and ensure they produce the best quality meat possible.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Lakenvelder chickens are not as well-suited to meat production as other breeds, such as Cornish Cross or Broilers.
These breeds are known for their meat production and will give you a much higher yield than Lakenvelder chickens.
But if you’re looking for a unique and interesting breed to add to your farm or homestead, then Lakenvelders may be worth considering.
Pros and Cons of Raising Lakenvelder Chickens
Let’s start with the pros of raising Lakenvelder chickens.
First, they are quite hardy and can thrive in various climates.
They are especially well-suited to hot weather and can handle high temperatures better than many other breeds.
These chickens are also well-adapted to foraging, which can help you save money on feed costs.
Despite their independent nature, Lakenvelders are known for being relatively calm around humans.
However, they do require plenty of space to roam and forage, as they can become aggressive when feeling cramped.
If you have a large yard or pasture, Lakenvelders can be a great addition to your flock.
On the downside, Lakenvelder chickens are not very docile, which can make them harder to handle than other breeds.
They aren’t the friendliest birds and don’t enjoy being cuddled or held, so be prepared for a more hands-off relationship.
Lakenvelders should be okay with other chicken breeds, but it’s best to introduce them slowly to be safe.
They can be difficult to find as they are considered an endangered species.
If you plan on raising Lakenvelder chickens, don’t expect to find the chicks or hatching eggs for sale at your local feed store.
You’ll need to do some digging and probably contact online hatcheries to make the purchase.
Another potential downside of raising Lakenvelders is their adaptability to colder temperatures.
While they can survive in the winter, they don’t love the cold and may require additional protection or heating in harsher climates.
Finally, Lakenvelders aren’t known for being the most productive egg layers, producing around two eggs per week.
If you’re looking for high egg production, this breed may not be the best choice for you.
The same goes for meat production – this breed is just so-so in that category.
Are Lakenvelder Chickens Rare?
Despite their stunning appearance, their overall popularity has declined in recent years as breeders have shifted their focus to other more sought-after breeds.
Lakenvelder chickens are like other Lakenvelder breeds.
For instance, there are also Lakenvelder cattle, which are also known as Dutch Belted.
Like the Lakenvedler chicken, the Lakenvelder cattle breed is also listed on the Livestock Conservancy’s priority list.
They’re also known for their black-and-white pattern and are from the same area as the chickens.
There are a few reasons why Lakenvedlers (both chickens and cattle) are considered rare.
Breeding Lakenvelders can be a challenge due to their lack of natural broodiness.
This means that they don’t often sit on their eggs to incubate them and hatch chicks successfully.
Instead, many breeders must resort to artificial methods of egg incubation.
This, combined with their dwindling popularity, can make it difficult to find Lakenvelder chickens for sale or to add them to a breeding program.
While their rarity may make them difficult to find, breeders and homesteaders still appreciate the beauty and unique characteristics of Lakenvelder chickens.
They make for great foragers and are a hardy breed, making them a valuable addition to any small homestead or farm.
The rarity of Lakenvelder chickens also makes them a prized bird for collectors and chicken enthusiasts.
They are currently listed as “watch” on The Livestock Conservancy’s conservation priority list, which means that their populations are at risk of becoming critically endangered.
As more people become aware of their beauty and rarity, the hope is that more breeders will take an interest in maintaining and growing their populations.
So… Are Lakenvelder Chickens Right for You?
If you’re looking for an attractive and somewhat friendly breed of chicken with a half-decent layer, the Lakenvelder might be the perfect choice for your backyard flock.
They’re generally healthy birds requiring minimal care, but protecting them from predators and providing them with a safe and secure living space is important.
By understanding all there is to know about Lakenvelder chickens, you can make an informed decision and enjoy the many benefits of this unique breed.
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