The Westphalian Chicken

The Westphalian chicken is a 400 year old landrace or natural breed of chicken, meaning it developed in a region without direct human intervention to create the breed. It is related to two currently rare breeds once common to the region, the Belgian Braekel and the German East Fresian Gull. The German Westphalian chicken is itself a rare breed today.

The Wesphalian chicken survives in two general colors: Silver Penciled and Gold Penciled: solid colored neck feathers complemented by almost barred or penciled feathering of the main body.

There seems to be no Bantam variety.

Westphalian, The Facts:

Class: Medium

Size: Standard Male: 5 – 5.5 Ibs. / Standard Female: 3.3 -5 Ibs.

Comb, Wattles & Earlobes: Red comb and wattles with white earlobes

Color: Gold and Silver Penciled

Place of Origin: Westphalia region of Germany

Conservation Status: Very Rare


This self-made chicken holds itself to no standard of perfection. Its ancient landrace development creates a rich genetic structure of survival through natural selection and environmental influences. Without selective breeding towards specific physical characteristics in its creation, or its evolution, the breed has a unique character which allows for some inconsistencies in appearance.

This is a rare breed indeed to survive a 400 year long history, but registration of Westphalians in 2009 documented a viable but thin population totaling: 301 cocks birds and 1,353 hens. Modern efforts to conserve the breed are working with a limited few.

The official German name in modern times is: “Westfälischer Totleger”, but the breed’s also been known as “Alltagsleger”, “Dauerleger” and “Doutleijer”. The gist of all these names refers to the tendency of hens to be highly consistent layers and non-setters. 200 – 243 white eggs per year, weighing 55 – 65 g, can be expected. The Wesphalian’s egg laying ability has been a key focus in keeping and protecting this hardy country chicken for 4 centuries.

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