silver deathlayer chicken standing together
Breeds Death Layer

Deathlayer Chicken (Westfalische Totleger): Everything You Need to Know


Among the 500 different chicken breeds, a special one catches the eye of many people. The deathlayer is a laying breed that is used mainly for laying purposes. Why not for slaughtering, you ask? I’ll get to that later.

This laying breed is a special one; it’s not your average egg-laying chicken. Before I dive into the two things that make this breed special (other than its rarity), it is important to get a birds-eye view (pun intended). Here’s everything you need to know about this breed.

silver deathlayer chicken female standing on grass
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Having originated from Germany, it gets its name from Germany as well. The name “Deathlayer” has been derived from its German counterpart.

Also known as Westfalische Totleger, this breed is known for its egg-laying. The term “Totleger” translates to “killer”. The name “Deathlayer” is probably a variation of its translation that was changed with the passage of time.

Even though the exact time that this breed has been around is not known, 400 years can be taken to be a good estimate. Please, keep in mind that this is not an exact number, so take this with a grain of salt.

Egg-laying Specialty: The Egg Production Factory

This is what this breed is mainly used for. Two things about it make it a good choice. This can hands-down be considered the best egg-laying chicken. Why? Here’s why.

Egg-laying Duration

Unlike other chickens, which lay eggs for around 3-4 years, the deathlayer doesn’t stop until it reaches the end stages of its life.

The average lifespan of a chicken is 10 years (You can read more about the average lifespan of a chicken here). Chickens start laying eggs when they are around 18 weeks old.

That means this breed will start giving eggs from the very first year till its time is almost up. Even in the latter stages of its life, it doesn’t stop laying eggs.

It lays almost an egg a day; you can expect its egg-laying rate to be around 2 eggs/ 3 days – almost 0.66 egg(s)/day.

You can expect 250 eggs/ year from this breed. So, one deathlayer, if taken care of properly, can give you 1000+ eggs in its life.

Egg Quality

This breed lays white-colored, medium-sized eggs that weigh around 50-60 grams. Unlike other chickens, the quality of its eggs does not deteriorate with the passage of time.

As other breeds age, their rate of laying eggs and the quality of their eggs decreases. However, that is not the case for this breed.

These two combined make it a deadly combination. Not only does it keep laying eggs for a longer period of time (as compared to other breeds), it also keeps giving high-quality ones. There is no compromise on quality.

three white color eggs of deathlayer chicken on a nest
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This is on the prettier side of the spectrum. Its tight red comb, combined with shades of green and black in its feather, gives it its beauty. On top of that, its dark black eyes add to the beauty. This looks no less pretty than a peacock does.

It comes in both silver and gold penciled colors. These two are usually the only colors.

A beautiful gold deathlayer male

gold deathlayer male standing on grass
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Sensational gold deathlayer female

gold deathlayer female standing on grass
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A beautiful silver deathlayer male

A beautiful silver deathlayer male  on grass
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Sensational silver deathlayer female

A beautiful silver deathlayer female  sitting on grass
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Baby chicks of deathlayer chickens look adorable. They are just love to watch and i love holding them in hands.

Silver deathlayer chicks

silver deathlayer chicken chicks
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Gold deathlayer chicks

gold deathlayer chicks in a brooder
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Like other chickens, its lifespan is also around 10 years. What’s different is its egg-laying capacity in the last years of its life.


A rooster weighs around 2.26 kilograms (5 pounds), and a hen weighs around 1.81 kilograms (4 pounds).


This is more of a shy breed as it has not been domesticated completely. It will take some trust to start trusting you. Do not rush with the process. If you do, you will affect the egg-laying process.

If you want it to keep laying high-quality eggs at a consistent rate, you have to facilitate them by providing the type of environment it likes.

They do not like being in closed spaces; they prefer roaming in open spaces. Keeping it in an open environment will ensure a decent and consistent rate of laying eggs.

Rarity and Pricing

It would be no surprise to know that this is an extremely rare breed because of how good it is. Pricing varies from country to country but you can expect around $25-100 for a day-old chick.


How long do death layer chickens live?

Just like other chickens, they live up to around 10 years.

When do death layer chickens start laying eggs?

They start laying eggs when they are sexually active – after week 18.

How often does a death layer chicken lay eggs?

It lays almost 2 eggs every 3 days.

How much does a death layer’s egg weigh?

A deathlayer’s egg is medium-sized and weighs around 50-60 grams.

What is a death layer’s temperament?

A deathlayer is shy by nature. Since it is not domesticated, it is not very comfortable with humans. It needs open space.

If you’re interested in buying these, you can get them from Star Hill Farm and Greenfire Farms.

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