Some chicken keepers say broodiness depends more on the bird than the breed.
However, there are most definitely certain breeds of chicken that go broody more frequently than others.
Welsummer hens are not especially broody and often make poor mothers to baby chicks when they do go broody. Keeping close to the nest box is not a Welsummer’s way. They are considered productive layers rather than broody mamas. This trait keeps egg production up compared with broodier birds.
Traits such as this are often hard to predict except on a bird-by-bird basis.
Keep reading to learn how to recognize a broody hen and discover more about the habits of the popular Welsummer variety.
Why Aren’t Welsummer Hens Broody?
Welsummers are not regarded as especially broody, which you may find good or bad depending on your goals as a backyard chicken keeper.
Broodiness often results in diminished egg production but is helpful for those chicken lovers who wish to hatch their own baby chicks.
Welsummers are not the trustworthy variety for this job.
If you are interested in breeding, Welsummers are not for you.
However, here is a great resource by the American Poultry Association explaining the basics, including the value of a good broody hen.
While Welsummers are not ideal for hatching, they have decent egg production and do not linger in the nesting boxes to guard their eggs.
Furthermore, though they do not lay well in the winter months, Welsummers are loved for their cold hardiness.
They are great for chicken addicts living in areas where the colder months get especially cold!
These are valuable traits for a chicken parent without an interest in hatching and breeding.
Due to their larger chicken size, Welsummers are also considered dual-purpose birds.
This means they are used as meat birds once their yearly egg production decreases significantly.
Read more about what to expect in our Welsummer chicken egg guide.
Another useful characteristic of Welsummer birds is their dark coloring which often serves as camouflage from predators.
So, despite their lack of broodiness, they have plenty more to offer you if you decide to raise them anyway!
Will Your Welsummers Ever Go Broody?
Just as the occasional Silkie has behavior issues, the occasional Welsummer will go broody.
Do not count on broody nests from your Welsummers, though, unless you know for sure your hen has the right traits.
Even when they do go broody and spend more time in the nest, birds of heavy breeds like this one sometimes have issues hatching eggs.
If a larger chicken is not careful, there is a chance she will break the eggs or harm the chick she is intending to protect. This is heartbreaking for you and for your bird!
With Welsummers, though, the problem goes a bit further.
They are very friendly both to humans and to other chickens. However, they are often neglectful of their chicks.
You will need to be ready to move and care for the chicks separately when they hatch if you find a broody Welsummer.
Nothing is more disappointing than a dead chick you have just managed to hatch.
Related Post: Are Welsummer Chickens Loud?
Is Your Hen Going Broody?
Before you trust a hen with your eggs, you must be sure she is feeling broody.
Even a bird who gets broody regularly may not do well with a clutch of eggs if she is not in the mood.
Here are some signs to look out for in your hens:
- Sticking closer to the nesting box
- Acting protective over her eggs
- Laying fewer eggs than normal
These three behaviors, especially in combination with one another, are positive signs your bird is feeling broody.
This happens naturally for many breeds at least once a year. But some do not stay broody for long or are not particularly good with a clutch of eggs.
For these reasons, you need an especially broody bird to successfully hatch your own eggs.
Make sure your hen is exhibiting these signs of being ready to sit on some eggs before entrusting her with the fertile eggs you want to be hatched.
How to Hatch Welsummer Eggs
There are other approaches to hatching your own Welsummer chicks without the help of a broody Welsummer hen.
Consider purchasing an incubator or using a broody chicken of another variety.
Using an incubator is often the safest bet because you have more control over your eggs’ environment and can better keep an eye on them.
However, many backyard chicken keepers simply adore hatching eggs more naturally by allowing one of their broodier birds to sit on a clutch of eggs.
Do whichever of these is more practical for you!
If you are especially excited about keeping things natural, you will also need an actual rooster.
You do not necessarily have to use a Welsummer rooster unless you want to keep the breed as pure as possible.
You also do not need to own the rooster. Find a trustworthy farm to borrow a rooster from if possible.
It is always important to be cautious of illness or possible aggression when bringing in birds or other livestock from another farm.
This is why you must ensure to only let in animals from people you have reason to trust.
When you successfully hatch your eggs, you will be thrilled to know whether you have female or male chicks.
Welsummers are an auto-sexing breed, which means the two sexes look very different from each other when they first hatch.
You do not have to spend time examining them over the first weeks of life to determine who is who.
They are fun and exciting chicks to hatch on your own and are not particularly hard for beginners to raise.
The only challenge is in finding a broody Welsummer hen.
However, as we described before, there are many ways around this issue, and the Welsummer breed is worth it!
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