a flock of chicken with deathlayer

Deathlayer Chicken: Meaning and Origin

If you hear the word “chicken” and immediately think “food,” you’re not alone. Chickens are the most common bird in the world, numbering more than 20 billion. They come in a lot of different breeds. Among the many possible varieties to add to your flock, you might wonder whether a Deathlayer chicken is an ideal choice.

Here’s everything you need to know about this breed. 

History of Deathlayer Breed  

A Deathlayer is a chicken that originated in Germany and was brought to the USA by Greenfire Farms in the early 1990s. The breed was created by crossing the Brahma and Langshan breeds. The resulting poultry was then bred with each other to develop the desired traits. 

The Deathlayer’s name origins are somewhat uncertain. This breed of chicken originated in Germany where it was translated either as “day layer” meaning one egg per day, or “death layer” meaning they would lay eggs until they died. “Westfälische Totleger” is the current “official” name.

When you search for the most beautiful chickens, the coolest breed name deathlayer appears in the internet poultry circle.

General Profile

As mentioned above, the name deathlayer is associated with their ability to lay many eggs until it dies. 

Deathlayer is a landrace type of chicken, meaning they aren’t purebred but are bred for specific characteristics, in this case, egg-laying ability, in a given region. 

death layer chicken photo
The name “death layer” means they lay until the day they die.


The average lifespan of a Deathlayer chicken is about ten years. 


The Deathlayer Chicken is not a large breed of chicken. Roosters typically weighing around 5 pounds and hens around 3.5 pounds. 


The breed has rare and valuable features. It has a single tight cushion comb and red wattles that are medium in size. The plumage is typically white, although there may be light brown markings. Some birds also possess a mix of white and black feathers.

These beautiful chickens have totally black doll eyes that give them a remarkable appearance. Gold Deathlayer chickens are also famous for their totally black doll eyes.

Lay Eggs: (Medium-sized White eggs)  

photo of six white eggs
Their eggs appear to have silver colors

The deathlayer chicken is a prolific egg-layer and is famous for egg production, which exceeds the average egg production of most breeds. The deathlayer hens can lay up to 250 eggs per year!  

It lays medium-sized white eggs of good quality. It’s an excellent breed for small-scale egg producers.

Temperament: Coolest Breed  

Active and energetic are the hallmarks of Deathlayers. They find a tree is a more appealing roosting spot for them than an indoor coop since they prefer being able to roam freely about. Restricted environments are not conducive to their efficiency, so small coops should be avoided.

Getting socialized with humans takes them more time at a young age because they are less domesticated breed.


Deathlayer flock has two varieties: gold and silver penciled

The silver penciled variety is the more common of the two. It is characterized by light brown markings on white plumage.  

On the other hand, the gold penciled type is less common and has darker brown markings on the white plumage. 

Both varieties are known for being good egg layers, with hens typically laying more than 200 per year. 

Health Issues  

Deathlayer chickens are generally healthy. However, they are susceptible to the same health problems as any other chicken. These issues include Marek’s disease, coccidiosis, and respiratory infections. 

Benefits of Raising Deathlayer 

brown rooster picture
This variety has a more beautiful rooster with brown markings
  • They are good egg layers, with hens typically laying more than 200 eggs per year. 
  • Their egg color is white and has a medium-sized shell. 
  • They are a hardy breed that is easy to care for. 
  • They are not particularly prone to disease and can withstand cold weather well. 
  • They are good foragers and will happily scratch around in the dirt for food. 

Drawbacks of Raising Deathlayer 


Deathlayers are a rare breed, so it can be hard to find them for sale. Although these are famous for their beauty, this popular bird’s population has declined during the last century. According to a recent census, the total registered population of this breed is 1500. However, Greenfire Farms are striving to preserve these rare and beautiful poultry birds.

They’re known for their intelligence levels, ranging from low to average, depending on how much care training you take with them. 

a beautiful white hen in a green grass
 Chickens naturally enjoy space to run around

Can be expensive 

They’re a breed that has been around since before World War II, and their rare qualities make them quite expensive to purchase in some areas! However, you will have generations of birds who lay ample eggs with good breeding stock. It means that these hens won’t be going anywhere anytime soon either! 

Deathlayer as Showchickens 

The Deathlayers are not a typical show chicken breeds, but those shown are usually good quality. If you are interested in showing poultry, you may want to learn about the Showgirl Chicken, or find a breeder who specializes in this breed.

The Deathlayer Chicken for Meat Production 

The Deathlayer chicken is not typically raised for meat production, as they are not a particularly large breed of chicken. However, if you are interested in raising this breed for meat, Deathlayers can make good table birds. 

They will usually dress out at around 4 pounds, making them a good size for one or two people. 

The meat is white and tender, with a mild flavor. 

Suppose you are raising Deathlayer poultry for meat production. In that case, you will need to start with chicks that have been specifically bred for this purpose. You can purchase these chicks from a hatchery or breeder. 

As with any chicken, you will need to provide them with a clean and spacious coop, access to fresh water from a chicken watering system and food, and plenty of space to roam and exercise. 

How To Raise Deathlayer Chickens 

four black and white deathlayer chickens
Regardless of breed, most chickens have white and black feathers
  • Choose a healthy chicken from a reputable breeder. 
  • Give your chicken plenty of space to roam and forage. 
  • Provide your chicken with a nutritious diet. 
  • Keep the surroundings clean and free of parasites. 
  • Monitor your chicken for signs of illness and consult a veterinarian if necessary 
  • Deathlayers can be kept in a chicken coop, but they prefer to roost in trees. Ideally, you should plant the death layer in a secure location with access to trees. 

With proper care, the Deathlayer flock can make excellent pets and provide you with plenty of fresh eggs. Keep them healthy and happy, and they will reward you with years of enjoyment. 

Common Questions About Deathlayer

What is the average weight of a full-grown Deathlayer chicken? 

A full-grown Deathlayer chicken can weigh up to 7 pounds. 

Is a Deathlayer chicken friendly? 

Deathlayers are generally shy and a nervous breed that needs socialized from a young age. Many families enjoy raising them and the entertainment they provide. You can find many chicken coop surveillance camera footage on social media of this chicken’s antics.

How much does a Deathlayer cost?  

Deathlayer typically costs around $15-$50. 

Where can you purchase a Deathlayer Chicken?

There are a few hatcheries selling Deathlayer Chickens. Some good places to start are:

What do Deathlayers eat? 

Deathlayer flock typically eat a diet of seeds, insects, and greens. 


a chicken with black and white feathers standing
A deathlayer chicken lays a large volume of white eggs

With all this information, you can decide if Deathlayer chickens are the right breed for you. If you are looking for a chicken with a good egg layer and is also hardy and easy to care for, then the Deathlayer chicken might be a good choice for you.