Deathlayer Chicken Breed: Eggs, Color, Size, Lifespan and More

Do you want to know about the Deathlayer chicken breed? This guide includes info about its eggs, size, color, lifespan, temperament, and breeding pros and cons.

What is a Deathlayer Chicken?

Deathlayer chickens are called Westfälische Totleger in Germany. Their name is derived from their ability to lay eggs indefinitely. 

In a year, they can lay as many as 200 medium-sized white eggs, despite their modest to medium size. Despite the fact that they may not produce as many eggs as their name suggests, they are still a good addition to any flock of poultry. 

The Deathlayer is an expert egg layer who can easily compete with the world’s most attractive hens thanks to his or her tight cushion comb, iridescent greens and purples in his or her black feathers, luxurious tail, and completely black doll eyes.

Despite the fact that this particular chicken breed isn’t actually used for show, it’s a beautiful one. The designs on the feathers are very stunning. 

The silver Deathlayer chicken is the most popular in the United States, but it is also available in gold. The origins of this breed can be traced back to Germany. 

There isn’t a lot of information out there about their past, and some of it is iffy. Their German moniker, Totleger, is claimed to have been translated as “Deathlayer.” 

Even though “Tot” means “dead” in German, the Deathlayer moniker is more likely a result of gradual changes in German name spellings over time. 

History and Origin of Deathlayer Chickens

A Silver Death Layer Chicken inside Coop

The origins of Deathlayer Chickens can be traced all the way back to Germany. Rather than being a result of selective breeding, this means it evolved organically in its surroundings.

Westfalische Totleger chicken is its official name. Tot means “dead” in German, and Leger means “layer” in the same language. As a result, it is known as the Westphalian Deathlayer Chicken. 

There are two schools of thought. Totleger, the German word, means “death layer” in the literal sense. Some believe the term comes from the fact that this breed’s hens are so productive that they lay an egg every day until they die. 

In a less dramatic but more correct explanation, Totleger was first referred to as “Dauerleger,” or “day-layer,” in low German, and this word evolved into Totleger through time. 

The Deathlayers produce a great number of medium-sized white eggs, and their regal appearance is like having a royal guest in your chicken coop. Greenfire Farms brought them to the United States in the early 1990s. 

Who was the first to introduce the silver and gold penciled colorings? Because of their gorgeous appearance and also because of their fantastic moniker, they have gained a following in the United States since then. 

Deathlayer Chicken Color Varieties

Both Silver Pencil and Gold Pencil are available in this breed. Both of these hues are lovely and will offer a lot of visual interest to your flock. Greenfire Farms imported them to the United States originally. 

First the silver and then the gold colored pencils were brought in. Since then, they’ve become more popular in the United States, in part because of their magnificent appearance and partly because of their amazing name. 

It’s a red rose comb to complement their medium-sized red wattles. Their feet have four toes apiece, and their legs are slate or blue-gray in color. Unlike Marans and Silkies, they have clean legs.

Deathlayer Chicken Lifespan

With a lifespan of 10 to 12 years, this breed is known for its vigorous lifestyle. As a bonus, they’re excellent foragers, which helps keep chicken feed prices down. 

They are also known for their ability to thrive in both hot and cold climates. As a result of this, they make an excellent addition to any flock, especially if there is room for them to go free. 

They are supposed to lay eggs for the rest of their lives because of their name. At just a few years of age, most hens begin to decline in productivity significantly. Even if this were the case, no documentation would exist to support it.

Deathlayer Chicken Temperament

Deathlayers are known for being a highly energetic and slightly neurotic breed. They like having plenty of room to wander and prefer to roost in trees rather than in an indoor coop. 

They do not function well in restricted environments and should be avoided. Because they are less domesticated, they require more interaction with humans at a younger age in order to get socialized with humans. 

This breed is known for living an active and energetic lifestyle. They are excellent foragers, which is fantastic since it allows you to keep your chicken feed expenses under control.

The Deathlayer chickens also have a reputation for being hardy in a variety of climates, particularly hot and cold ones.

They make a fantastic addition to any flock because of their active foraging habits, which is especially true if you have plenty of space for them to move around.

Deathlayer Chicken Hen Eggs Laying Age, Count, Egg Size and Egg Color

Egg-laying is the primary advantage of the Deathlayer Chicken. Their size makes them insufficient for dual-purpose chickens

Furthermore, as they do not belong to the APA, they are only allowed to compete in non-APA shows. They are reliable egg layers who begin laying around the age of 18 weeks. 

Deathlayer flocks lay an average of 200 eggs per year, but some have laid as few as 150 or as many as 250. Though not as prolific as Leghorn or Amberlink chickens, they do produce enough medium-sized white eggs to make up for their lack of egg-laying prowess. 

Since their name implies that they will continue to lay eggs until the day they die, this is a reasonable assumption to make. However, there is no empirical evidence to back up the idea that they will keep laying eggs until the end of their lives.

Color and Appearance of Deathlayer Chicken

It’s a beautiful breed. The bird’s large size lends it a majestic air. With a white feathered cape, a black/green iridescent tail, and a penciled body, it is a stunning specimen of nature. 

It is available in gold and silver. Because of its dense comb, it is ideal for chilly areas. It has adorable doe-eyed features, such as black eyes. Despite the fact that this particular chicken breed isn’t actually used for show, it’s a beautiful one. 

Feathers, on the other hand, are awe-inspiring to look at. For those who prefer a darker shade, the Deathlayer chicken is available in either gold or silver.

Deathlayer Chicken Hen Vs Rooster (Color, Size, Appearance)

Silver Death Layer Chickens (Rooster and Hen)

Based on its moniker, you’d think that the Deathlayer chicken would be preferred by Goth and punk-rock poultry farmers. If you’re looking to add a dash of elegance to your flock, this magnificent, centuries-old breed is the perfect choice. 

To put it another way, Deathlayer hens can lay an egg every day until they die, and they’re available in silver and gold. 

Since the German breed name “Totleger” translates literally to “Deathlayer,” there is no formal documentation to support the claim that Deathlayers lay an unusually large number of white eggs. 

Their magnificent plumes of iridescent-black tail feathers and cherry-red wattles and cushion comb on the roosters are particularly striking. The female Deathlayer weighs about 4 pounds, while the male Deathlayer weighs about 5 pounds, making them an ideal backyard flock size.

The comb and wattles of a rooster are larger. Both should be hard and waxy to the touch, with a deep, rich hue. Hackles are commonly used to embellish the neck and shoulders. This bird has long, pointed neck feathers that cascade to the back. 

This will make the hen’s feathers more rounded. The tail feathers (also known as sickle feathers) of a rooster are an important part of its appearance. 

They rise and descend gracefully into the tail. They’re also bigger and stronger than chickens. They should have a broad chest and shoulders. 

Benefits of Raising and Breeding Deathlayer Chicken

It turns out that the unusual name derives from the hen’s prodigious egg-laying prowess. She will continue to lay one egg a day until she is dead. 

This is remarkable, given that a good laying hen may expect to lay eggs for roughly three to four years in most chicken breeds. 

As her eggs decrease in number each year, she will eventually cease producing them altogether. Deathlayer hens can lay eggs for up to 20 years, which is a long time in the poultry world.

Deathlayers are known to be a sturdy and low-maintenance breed. Due to their high level of activity and energy, it is vital to ensure that their chicken house and run have enough space. 

It would be even better if they were allowed to roam and forage freely during the day. Additionally, a normal chicken waterer and feeder are necessary. 

However, they do not need any special care while they are in our care. It’s because of their little cushion combs and small to medium-sized wattles that they are more tolerant of cold weather. Keeping their coop clear of drafts is all you need to do for their care in the winter.

Problems with Raising Deathlayer Chicken

Raising Deathlayer Chicken
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Raising Deathlayer Chicken

Deathlayers are a very rare breed, and finding one can be a challenge. They arrived in the United States only recently. Even in Germany, where they were born, they are quite rare. 

A recent German census “estimated the total registered population at around 1,500 birds,” according to Greenfire Farms. 

As a result of their usefulness and scarcity, Deathlayer chickens can be pricey to buy. A good breeding couple, on the other hand, will ensure that generations of hens will carry the abundant laying gene.


Are Golden Deathlayer chickens rare?

This is a rare, beautiful, and unique chicken breed. Deathlayers are a very rare breed, and finding one can be a challenge. They arrived in the United States only recently.

Do Deathlayer Chickens have a good personality?

This chicken has an extremely timid demeanor. As a result, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get too close to this particular breed.

What is the price of a Silver Deathlayer Chicken?

Like other chickens, this one is a rare breed, which boosts the price significantly. Depending on the breed, the price of a day-old chick can range from $25 to over $100.

Do Dealthlayer hens get broody?

Yes, Dealthlayer hens can go broody. They make great moms and take care of their baby chicks very well.


As a new addition to your chickens’ genetic diversity, Deathlayer chickens could be just the ticket. In addition to its witty moniker, this breed is a reliable egg layer that continues to produce well into old age. 

They’re also a relatively low-maintenance breed of chicken. Each year, they can produce up to 150-250 eggs.

According to legend, they continue to lay eggs until the end of their lives. After a few years of age, most chickens begin to decline in productivity.

We’ve already mentioned that this is a kind of chicken that you’ll need to pay close attention to the feed to keep it laying eggs. This chicken has an extremely timid demeanor. 

As a result, it is likely that you will not be able to get too close to this species. They’re not there to be your best buddy; they’re there to produce eggs. In spite of this, these birds will never be aggressive. 

They will simply flee if someone gets too close to them and they perceive that person as a danger. From the moment they are born, it is critical that you get to know this chicken and get to know each other. 

If you don’t, you’ll have trouble building their trust and, as a result, their egg production will suffer. A chicken breed that hasn’t been properly domesticated is to blame for this situation.

With the Deathlayer chicken, the most important consideration is where you breed them. Some people may find this difficult to deal with. This is a bird that does very well in a coop, but it prefers to spend the night in a tree.

Bijaya Kumar
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