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Home » Forget German Shepherds — Keep Your Backyard Safe and Your Egg Basket Full with a German Deathlayer Chicken

Forget German Shepherds — Keep Your Backyard Safe and Your Egg Basket Full with a German Deathlayer Chicken

  • Chickens
Gorgeous Gold Dealthlayer Hen in the afternoon sun

The German language is more than umlauts and Goethe. It’s filled with interesting words like “Streichholzschächtelchen” (matchbox), “Kraftfahrzeug-Haftpflichtversicherung” (car insurance), and “Deathlayer” chickens. Don’t worry though — these chickens won’t hurt you, but they will lay eggs until they meet their maker.

How little this old German chicken breed has to do with death is shown by the explanation of its naming. Even if the opinion persists that hens laid themselves to death and the Westphalian dead layer thus got its name, it is not true.

How Many Eggs Can a Chicken Lay in a Lifetime?

The northwest of Germany is home to a special dialect called Plattdeutsch – or low (flat) German. Holland is nearby and the two languages share a long heritage. High German is what we mostly learn in school. 

Deathlayer chickens get their name from the German “Dauerleger” which means a long-time layer of eggs. Deathlayer or “Todleger” comes from the original Plattdeutsch “Doutleijer.” Now you have some fun facts to amaze the neighbors with when you’re all hanging about the backyard fence.

While the average hen lays about 600 eggs in her two to three-year lifespan, Deathlayers can lay over 2,500 eggs in the bird’s lifetime.

Here’s an idea: for a taste of real European farm life, combine them with the Swiss Appenzeller Spitzhauben!

Saxon Chickens Will Keep You in Pancakes for Years

Where this chicken breed actually comes from isn’t exactly known. Westphalia was home to the original Saxon tribes at the time of the Romans. They probably had chickens. Already in the year 1600, a chicken was shown on a woodcut, which had unmistakable similarity with the Westphalian Totleger. However, its name at that time was “Turkish Chicken.” 

“Chickens are first thought to have come to Europe’s shores by the Phoenicians in the 1st millennia B.C. They brought them up along the Mediterranean coasts and into Spain.”

While Asterix and Obelix and their friends enjoyed sitting around a campfire eating roast pork, today’s Dutch Pannekoek, or Pancake, is easier on your budget and your waistline. Gold Deathlayers lay almost 300 eggs annually. That’s enough to make about 2300 pancakes each year. Call it seven pancakes a day. That’s a lot of pancakes!

Don’t like pancakes? From quiches to casseroles, backyard chicken egg recipes are everybody’s favorite dish on Pinterest!

Fancy and Proud German Chickens — You’ll be the Envy of the Neighborhood 

The German Deathlayer is a rare chicken breed in two colors: gold and silver. Both of these have been imported with care by Greenfire Farms as a preservation method for this species. 

In both color varieties of the Westphalian Deathlayer, the enormous contrast between the speckled plumage on the body and the solid color, either golden or silver, neck appendages is immediately noticeable. 

The body appendages also stand out in contrast. They are characterized by bright red wattles and a rose crest as well as white ear discs, dark brown eyes, blue-gray barrels, and a bluish horn-colored bill.

Gold Deathlayer chickens are gorgeous and colorful. The roosters are especially well dressed in their fine comb and front, back, and cape feathers. Deathlayer chickens are always dressed to impress!

Hardy German Chickens Have No Problem with Our Winters

The Gold Deathlayer is very robust and weather-hardy. This is due in no small part to its small rose comb, which makes it quite insensitive to frost and makes them perfectly adaptable for our weather in the Midwest. Also in terms of husbandry, the Deathlayer makes hardly any demands, since typical country chicken blood flows in its veins. 

Nevertheless, the Deathlayer is not a chicken that should be kept in small enclosures or allotments. It is a good forager and wants to be able to move around accordingly. Ideally, one makes dung heaps and a meadow accessible to the chickens. They love their daily walks around your urban farm and – just like you – don’t like being cooped up all day.

Deathlayers rarely breed, but when they do, they are reliable brooders and lead their chicks well. Weather conditions even in harsher climates cause even chicks few problems.

Gold Deathlayer Day-Old Chicks and Pullets Make for a Great Investment

When searching for a pet chicken, your family should consider this rare, German, chicken breed. The chicks mature in about 18 weeks which is the average. The hens weigh 1.5 kilos and the roosters weigh 2.2 kilos.

If your city yard can accommodate several Deathlayers, then you’ll only need one rooster for every twelve hens. Unlike most chicken breeds, Gold Deathlayers lay eggs for their whole lifetime – about ten years.

Graywhale Farms has a mission to bring the country to the city — even the German country — making families in the Midwest healthy and happy. 

Happy. Healthy. 

Made in Door County.