Did you know Laken means sheet and Veld means field in Dutch? If you translate the entire name of this chicken breed in Dutch, it would be white spread over a black field. That’s an accurate description of what Lakenvelder chickens look like!
Similar to cows, the majority of their body is white with a few black patches. The hackle and tail are usually black, which gives them a very majestic look. But they aren’t a common sight.
The Livestock Conservancy lists Lakenvelder chickens as a threatened breed. It means they are very limited in numbers and might go extinct in the near future. So, before this happens, let’s learn about this beautiful breed and ways in which we can save it!
The History of Lakenvelder Chickens
Lakenvelder chicken is an ancient breed with roots tracing back to 2,000 BCE. It is when the Ah-Brahman (Indo-Aryan immigrants who settled down in Mesopotamia) traveled to Palestine and settled in a city named Tel Megiddo.
Then, in 1CE, some Jewish settlers moved to Germany and Holland. Similar to Ah-Brahman, they brought the chickens bred in Tel Megiddo to the new countries. These chickens were bred again, which led to the development of modern-day Lakenvelder chickens.
According to Van Gink (a Dutch painter of the 1700s), the Lakenvelder chickens were found nearby Lakervelt village in southeastern Holland. It explains why the chicken breed is called Lakervelder. Plus, this is very close to the German border.
An alternative theory suggests that the Lakenvelder chicken originated in Germany. It is particularly said for the Dielingen area, where black and white chickens were present as a sports breed.
In 1835, the breed started to appear in poultry shows in West Hanover. Following this, the popularity of Lakenvelder chickens skyrocketed. Many breeders chose them for egg production in Westfalen, north of the Rhine province, and several other places.
However, in the late nineteenth century, Leghorn and other productive breeds replaced the Lakenvelder chickens. They were no longer considered to be useful for commercial egg production.
It was imported to England (1902) and America (1900). The American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection registered the breed in 1939. Despite this, the Lakenvelder chicken became rare as people continued focusing on other breeds.
Currently, it is listed as Threatened by the Livestock Conservancy. It might become endangered in coming future if measures are not taken to preserve the breed.
Lakenvelder Chicken Appearance
Lakenvelder chickens are well-known for their unique white-and-black pattern. These birds have black tails and hackles. The inner web on the primary and secondary feathers is also black. But the rest of the body is white with a blue undertone.
This creates a striking contrast – similar to the Dutch Belted cows.
However, the chickens don’t develop a rich black color until their third molting. In case you don’t know, molting refers to the annual shedding and renewal of feathers in chickens. So, the Lakenvelder chicken won’t look much regal until it’s 3 years old.
Apart from the pattern, Lakenvelder chickens have red eyes and round breasts. Their thighs are shorter than the body, and shanks are medium-length. Also, their toes and legs are slate.
Their single comb is upright with five points, whereas the wattles are well-rounded. Both features have a deep-red color. Only the earlobes are white.
The Lakenvelder chickens are generally lightweight (4 to 5 lbs).
How to Differentiate Between Lakenvelder Rooster and Hen?
|Gender of Lakenvelder Chicken||Physical Characteristics|
|Rooster (Adult Male)||
|Hen (Adult Female)||
Are There Any Varieties of Lakenvelder Chicken?
Most people refer to Lakenvelder chicken as silver Lakenvelder or blue Lakenvelder. Please know that these are not different varieties. They are just other names for the breed.
There is only one variety of Lakenvelder chicken – Golden Lakenvelder. These chickens have the same personality and physique as the white-and-black Lakenvelder. However, the color is different.
Golden Lakenvelders (or Vorweks) have a golden body with a black tail and hackles. On average, they produce around 170 cream eggs. The size of the eggs remains small, regardless of how well you feed them.
What’s more, the Vorweks are also very rare. They were almost extinct after World War 2 but are being slowly recovered through careful breeding.
Lakenvelder Chicken Personality
When it comes to temperament, Lakenvelder chickens are much similar to Leghorn. These birds are highly active and cautious of their surroundings. You won’t find them lying around and resting.
Instead, they will keep scanning the area for potential dangers and threats. It’s simply because Lakenvelder chickens aren’t typical domestic birds. They don’t like to be dependent on their caretakers.
They prefer to take the lead and protect themselves. They are also great foragers. If you leave them outside, they will immediately find something to peck on.
However, it’s not recommended to let your Lakenvelder chickens out in the open. These chickens are very flighty and adventurous. They don’t like confinement to one place, and given the opportunity, they will gladly wander far away.
This is one of the reasons why the Lakenvelder breed fell into the threatened zone!
Moreover, these chickens are dominating and aggressive. In mixed flocks, they try to rule other breeds and show who’s the boss. You will often find them pecking others. Even the Lakenvelder chicks prove to be troublesome.
Lakenvelder Chicken Production
Since Lakenvelder chicken was originally developed for egg production, it is no surprise that the breed is an excellent egg layer. It produces an average of 240 medium eggs per year.
But let’s not forget that the quantity and size of eggs are affected by how well you take care of the chickens. If the flock of hens isn’t well-fed or maintained, you can get as low as 150 eggs per year. The size can also change from medium to small.
The egg color is usually white or tinted (light brown). It’s easy to confuse their eggs with standard ones found in the market.
Can You Breed Lakenvelder Chicken?
The Lakenvelder chicken isn’t very meaty and heavy. But its meat is known to be one of the most delicious and flavourful chicken meats. So, even though it is threatened, it is allowed to breed for both purposes.
As long as Lakenvelder chickens are being multiplied, everything is okay. However, please note that raising them isn’t easy.
Here are some special tips for breeding Lakenvelder chickens:
- They prefer warm climates over cold ones. So, make sure the chicken coop has a suitable temperature, especially during winter.
- Their comb is prone to frostbite. Always apply a thin layer of Vaseline on their comb.
- When letting them outside, make sure there are fences to stop them from escaping. It’s best if you can watch them while they are outside.
- When keeping them in mixed flocks, separate the Lakenvelder chicken’s food pile from others These birds are aggressive and will fight others if the food isn’t enough.
Lastly, remember that the babies of Lakenvelder are cream white with black spots. The black spots will be spread all over the back and tail. There will also be black stripes on the neck hackles. The signature white-and-black pattern will develop as the baby chicks mature.
Are Lakenvelder chickens friendly?
No, Lakenvelder chickens aren’t friendly. They are aggressive and flighty birds that shouldn’t be kept at home as pets.
Are Lakenvelder chickens dual-purpose?
How long do Lakenvelder chickens live?
On average, Lakenvelder chickens live up to 8 years. However, they can survive even longer depending on how well you take care of them.
Summing it up, the Lakenvelder chicken is a stunning breed that strives well on its own. Its ability to forage, explore, and fight makes it a hyper-independent chicken. But we all know that there are great dangers out in the wild.
Even if you ignore the predators, humans pose the biggest threat in the form of hunting. People will hunt this chicken for its delicious meat and consume it. What happens if there is no protection over their breeding grounds? Lakenvelder chickens will go extinct!
It’s currently a threatened specie. However, measures are being taken to breed them and multiply their numbers. People are encouraged to raise them on a large scale.
Do you think starting a Lakenvelder chicken business is a great way to preserve the breed? Or should this breed stay under the supervision of authorized organizations only? Let us know your opinion in the comments below!