The Lakenvelder is thought to originate from the Westfalen area of Germany as long ago as the 1830s. The name, however, is Dutch and is believed to mean a shadow on a sheet and describes their striking black and white plumage. There is also a bantam version and a blue variety which was developed in the Netherlands and brought to the UK. They have a medium sized single comb, white almond shaped ear lobes and an orange-red eye. The legs are featherless and slate blue and they have four toes. They are a slightly built breed with an elongated body and a tail which is carried high. They make a very good utility bird and have white skin and a particularly plump breast. They are seen quite rarely in the United States but always attract attention.
They are fairly small birds and are good layers, producing white shelled or occasionally tinted eggs. The hens are not good sitters and tend to be rather flighty and wild so need to be contained carefully with suitable fencing as they can manage a 2 Ã‚Â½ metre flight. Chicks mature quickly and grow vigorously but they don't gain their characteristic markings until they have been through their third moult. They are confident, robust birds which tend to avoid human contact and are able to adapt to being kept in confined spaces but prefer to be allowed the freedom to free range. Males weigh around 5-6 lbs while the females are from 3-4Ã‚Â½ lbs.
The Lakenvelder is generally seen in the black and white form known as Belted but there is also a blue variety which is described as Blue Marked.