Good Eggs

Andy Cawthray looks at pure breeds de­vel­oped for egg lay­ing. This month: the Lak­en­velder

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The Lak­en­velder


The Lak­en­velder (also known as the Lak­en­felder) is a strik­ing look­ing breed which is both an ex­cel­lent layer and has very rea­son­able ta­ble qual­i­ties. Its belted mark­ings give it a very dis­tinct ap­pear­ance and it is be­lieved that the breed dates back over 150 years.


There is de­bate about the pre­cise ori­gins of the Lak­en­velder. Some ex­perts place it as hav­ing Ger­man roots, whereas oth­ers have traced it to Hol­land as far back as the 1720s. The former be­lieve the name to orig­i­nate from the fact its colour­ing re­sem­bles the Lak­en­velder cow whereas the lat­ter claim its name comes from Utrecht ham­let of Lak­en­velt in the Nether­lands.


The Lak­en­velder is a very at­trac­tive look­ing bird due to the bold­ness of the colour­ing and the con­trast it strikes with the coun­try­side around it. It is very ac­tive, mov­ing around con­stantly for­ag­ing and is quite ca­pa­ble of flight reach­ing the tops of trees with ease. De­spite com­ing in only the one plumage type is can be very dif­fi­cult to breed good ex­am­ples how­ever ones that do meet the mark are ex­tremely hand­some to look at.


The Lak­en­velder hen weighs 4.5lb (2.0kg). She car­ries a neat and com­pact sin­gle comb and del­i­cate wat­tles. Her ap­pear­ance is spritely and her body is long with the tail car­ried at a 45o an­gle.


The Lak­en­velder cock has an upright and bold pos­ture. Like the hen his char­ac­ter is spritely and he ex­hibits a sim­i­lar plumage pat­tern al­low­ing for the usual dif­fer­ences in feather form be­tween the sexes. He weighs 6lb (2.7kg)


The egg of the Lak­en­velder sits in the white to tinted range. The hens are en­thu­si­as­tic lay­ers and typ­i­cally non-sit­ters mean­ing brood­i­ness is sel­dom a prob­lem.


As is the case with the lighter, more coun­try fowl style breeds the Lak­en­velder is not eas­ily tamed pre­fer­ring in­stead to keep its dis­tance from even the most pa­tient of keep­ers. As such it is not re­ally suit­able as a be­gin­ners breed.


Lak­en­velders are most def­i­nitely bet­ter suited to free rang­ing, in fact their spritely, spir­ited char­ac­ter can lead to them be­ing quite jit­tery if kept in a con­fined space. This in turn can im­pact their pro­duc­tiv­ity as a lay­ing breed. They are fast grow­ing and vig­or­ous and cope well in all weath­ers. No spe­cial care mea­sures are re­quired other than to en­sure bound­ary fences are high enough as they are com­pe­tent fly­ers for chick­ens.


Lak­en­velders are not an easy breed to lo­cate re­flected in the fact they are clas­si­fied as “rare” in the Bri­tish Poul­try Stan­dards. That said if you can lo­cate an ex­hi­bi­tion breeder then given the dif­fi­cultly in pro­duc­ing the cor­rect plumage you may fine they have a num­ber of sub­stan­dard pul­lets avail­able each year. Whilst th­ese are un­likely to win any shows they will still be a good ex­am­ple of the breed in terms of char­ac­ter­is­tics. Ex­pect to be pay­ing around £25-£30 for a rea­son­able pul­let.

Photo: Ru­pert Stephen­son

ABOVE: This stun­ning Lak­en­velder won a Best of Breed pize at the re­cent Fed­er­a­tion Cham­pi­onship Show at Stafford. It was shown by Kayleigh Freidl.

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