The Lakenvelder breed of chicken is a Dutch breed that came to be in Germany, having been historically tied to the town of Lakenvelt. They first appeared in poultry shows in West Hanover around the year 1835 but were written about by a Dutch painter dating back as far as 1727. This painter, named Van Gink, wrote that the birds were in fact found in the town of Lakenvelt. By the 1860\'s the breed had become popular in Westfalen before moving on to England and America in the early 1900\'s.
The name of this breed is said to translate into a description of their appearance. This phrase, which means \'white over a black field\' has also led to this breed being referred to as a \'shadow on a sheet.\' Both of these descriptions reflect the black points of the bird with color the colors of white, silver, or gold, across the center of their bodies. Other color combinations may still exist internationally, such as the Blue Marked, but many are thought to be extinct. This breed is also adorned with four toes, a long tail, and a single comb that is medium in size and stands erect. Their skin is white although their legs are a blue/slate color. White ear lobes rest on the head near eyes that are an orange-red color.
Eggs laid by Lakenvelder chickens are white or sometimes off-white in color and laid plentifully at approximately three per week. Lakenvelders are prized as a meat bird and said to have a wonderful taste, but the birds themselves are not heavily fleshed; males weigh around 5lbs with females weighing about 4lbs. This breed free ranges well and forages heartily, preferring to find its own food. They do bear confinement well but are not believed to be a bird that winters well. It is also said that they are generally not broody, but there is some debate about this and broodiness should be expected to differ between hens.
The Lakenvelder is a very alert bird that remains aware of its surroundings. It has a bit of a wild, flighty nature and can be difficult to tame as they do not seem to be particularly interested in or fond of human interaction. This breed was admitted to the American Poultry Association\'s Standard of Perfection in the year 1939 and is considered threatened by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. They are, at this time, a somewhat rare sight in the United States.
If you want a docile, family-friendly bird, the Lakenvelder does not seem to fit such a bill. With their flighty nature and difficulty to tame, bonding with these birds will be difficult at best. Starting with chicks will possibly swing the odds into your favor, but keep in mind that chicks grow and mature quickly and will be off on their own independent way before you know it. This bird is best raised by experienced chicken handlers due to its standoffishness and unwillingness to accept human contact. In addition to a disinterest in humans, they can also be aggressive towards other birds, including established flock members. It is also a bird capable of a flying several feet off the ground, so proper confinement will be necessary if you do intend to confine these animals. The Lakenvelder is a bird of many challenges and in order to pair successfully with this breed, be sure to prepare yourself to face those challenges before bringing one home.