If you are looking for a friendly, dual purpose chicken that comes in a variety of interesting colors then the Wyandotte chicken might be perfect for your flock.
Wyandotte chickens were developed in the late 1800s and accepted into the APA breed standards in 1883. They are good layers of large brown eggs averaging around 250 per year. They are also a heavy bird which makes them excellent as meat birds. They come in a wide variety of different colors including gold laced, silver laced, columbian, blue, black and more.
|Size||Males: 8-9lbs; Females: 6-7lbs|
|Color||Black, Blue, Buff, Columbian, Gold Laced, Silver Laced, Silver Penciled|
History & Origin
Wyandotte chickens exact history and origin is muddled. They were originally called the American Seabright. There is not a clear documentation of the exact breeds that were used when creating Wyandottes. However, it is thought that Dark Brahams and Silver Spangled Hamburgs contributed heavily.
Wyandottes were named in part after the Wyandotte tribe of New York - which is the area where they were originally developed.
Due to their good egg laying and meat production capabilities, they became a popular breed to own and have their own clubs in various states and countries.
What Do They Look Like
Wyandotte chickens are a heavy breed. The males/roosters weigh in at about 8 -9lbs and females/hens weigh in at about 6-7lbs. There is, however, a bantam version of this breed and they weigh ⅓ to ½ less than their standard sized counterparts.
Other than adult weight, it can be difficult to sex this chicken breed much earlier than several weeks of age unless vent sexing is used.
Need some help keeping your chickens health and care taken care of? Check out the Organized Chicken Keeper for an easy to follow system.
In order to meet the breed standard as laid out by the APA and poultry associations around the world, Wyandottes must meet several criteria. These criteria do vary slightly from association to association.
Wyandottes were officially accepted into the APA breed standards in 1883.
In general, they deep bodied, broad chested and rounded looking bird - similar to Australorps. They have round and compact feathers.
Their comb is a rose comb. Their combs, wattles and faces are bright red in color.
The colors that are accepted do vary slightly by association. But, those colors which are generally accepted are:
- Gold Laced Wyandotte
- Silver Laced
- Columbian (which is a great if you are looking for a black and white colored chicken)
There are also a variety of other colors like blue laced red, red, silver penciled, buff columbian and more.
As evidenced by the list above, there are multiple different color variations that this breed can come in. Below we will detail a little about the history of a few of the more popular colors.
Gold Laced Wyandotte
The gold laced color is essentially golden colored feathers that each have a dark black outline around their edges. It is quite stunning. Joseph McKeen is credited with creating this color in this breed.
Silver Laced Wyandotte
Silver Laced Wyandottes are the original color that this breed came in. Silver Laced was therefore the first color accepted into the breed standard. It is likely that the lacing originated from one of the breeds used in development of Wyandottes. There has been speculation that the Silver Seabright is the breed that introduced this lacing.
This breed has a reputation for being fairly calm and friendly. They have a generally good disposition.
They do well in multiple different environments, but are particularly cold hardy. However, they do withstand summers just fine.
It is not uncommon for hens to become broody. They are excellent mothers if you want to leg them hatch their own chicks.
What is Their Purpose?
While they are termed a dual purpose breed. The fact is, that Wyandottes can serve more than just two purposes very well.
First, they are good egg layers. They lay a large brown egg at the rate of about 210 per year. Since they are cold hardy, they can also lay well through the winter and fall.
Second, due to their weight and size, they are an excellent meat bird.
Third, due to their easy going temperament they make a good show chicken. They are easy to handle and don't mind being taken to various poultry shows and being groomed.
Lastly, they make excellent pets. They have an excellent and friendly temperament. Additionally, they are well suited to a variety of environments from being kept in a run to being allowed to free range. This means that they fit in well in a variety of different flocks.
Care & Health
As expected, based on what we have covered with their ability to adapt and thrive in most situations and environments, Wyandottes tend to be a very hardy and healthy breed. They need the typical chicken care.
They have a typical lifespan for chickens at an average of 8 years. Though that can vary based on potential health issues and predator problems.
This is a breed that doesn't have any health issues they are more at risk for due to their genetics or qualities. So, of course make sure you know how much it costs to feed chickens, provide them with a safe coop and run. There are lots of chicken coop plans and DIY chicken runs you can use. And make sure to do regular health checks.
Are Wyandotte chickens good layers?
Yes, they are good layers of about 210 large brown eggs per year.
How long do Wyandotte chickens lay eggs?
They will lay super well until age 2 and then laying and egg production begins to slow each year. How long chickens lay eggs is based on both breed and health of the individual chicken.
Are Wyandotte chickens noisy?
While they will cluck and make some chicken noises especially when laying (and roosters certainly will crow). They do not tend to be a particularly noisy breed.
Are wyandottes good meat birds?
Yes, they are excellent meat birds due to their large size.
At what age do wyandottes start laying?
Can Wyandotte chickens fly?
Due to their heavy size, they are not good at flying. They can certainly get a little bit off the ground for a small distance. But nothing like what you commonly picture when thinking of a bird flying.
Are wyandottes friendly?
They are extremely friendly, calm and docile birds. This makes them fantastic as pets.
What color egg's do Golden Laced Wyandottes lay?
They lay a brown egg - some are lighter and some are darker, but all are a brown color.
If you need more help with taking care of your chickens, check out The Organized Chicken Keeper for a complete system for managing their health through keeping their supplies stocked and coop clean.