Wyandotte Chicken: Care Guide, Color Varieties and More…

The Wyandotte is a true American breed.

She was created during the late 1800s and was bred to withstand the harsh northern winters.

While they are not overly affectionate they will provide you with lots of eggs and free pest control if you allow them to free range.

The Wyandotte chicken is not a bird that needs to be fussed over.

She is quite content with the basics of life (food, water and adequate shelter).

Has this beautiful large chicken caught your eye with their dazzling plumage?

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about Americas most eye catching chickens…

Wyandotte Chicken

Wyandotte Chicken Overview

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Silver Laced Wyandotte

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Flock Of Silver Laced Wyandottes

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Golden Wyandottes

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Wyandotte


Wyandottes are a stunning American chicken.

The patterning of their feathers alone is enough reason to have a couple of these ladies in your flock.

Silver Laced Wyandottes were one of the first American breeds to be created and even today still remain one of the most visually attractive chickens around.

She is a dual purpose breed that will lay around 3-4 light brown eggs each week.

As a heritage bird they grow slower than their hybrid counterparts and their egg laying is slightly delayed too – they won’t start laying eggs until they are 20 weeks old (though they are well worth the wait).

Hens are not known to be broody but every now and then one will surprise you – they make very diligent sitters and great mothers.

Wyandotte Chickens appear a bit reserved as they are very calm and docile flock members.

They prefer to be with their own kind and are a bit aloof with other breeds.

She will do equally well in confinement or free ranging, but just like most chickens they prefer to free range.

Wyandotte
Beginner Friendly: Yes.
Lifespan: 5-12 years.
Weight: Hen (6lb) and Rooster (9lb).
Color: Silver Laced, Golden Laced, Blue Laced Red and more…
Egg Production: 3-4 per week.
Egg Color: Light brown or Cream.
Known For Broodiness: No.
Good With Children: Yes.
Cost of Chicken: $3-$20 per chick.

Why We Love This Breed

  • Wyandotte chickens are very cold hardy because of their rose comb.
  • They are known to go broody and make excellent mothers.
  • Wyandottes are a versatile dual purpose breed.
  • They are fairly common so they are not difficult to find from a hatchery.
  • This breed is docile and gentle.
  • You can also find them in a cute bantam size.

Appearance

Blue Laced Red Wyandotte

Wyandotte are big and beautiful.

These large bodied chickens have lots of feathering and look very solid.

They were bred in the northern climates of Michigan and New York. The winters in those areas can be brutal so these chickens need to be very cold hard. Those chickens with larger combs would often suffer from frostbite to their combs and wattles.

Because of this Wyandotte chickens were bred to have a rose comb.

The rose comb tolerates the cold much better and rarely suffers from frostbite.

Their head is broad and short, they have a stout beak and their eyes are a reddish color.

Wattles, combs and earlobes are all red.

Wyandottes have yellow legs with four toes on each foot. Their legs should be clean of feathers and their skin is yellow.

Size and Weight

Wyandottes are fluffy and large chickens.

Roosters usually weigh 8-9lb and hens 6-7lb.

Bantams are available too in some varieties and usually weigh around 3lb.

Wyandotte Chickens Colors

Gold Laced Wyandotte

The exact number of recognized colors will depend on the country you live in.

For example the UK recognizes 13 varieties of Wyandottes, while Europe recognizes 30 varieties.

Here in the US the American Poultry Association only recognizes 9 standard varieties and 10 bantams.

The first Wyandotte bred was the Silver Laced back in 1883. Since then the following colors have been added:

  • Gold Laced, White (1888)
  • Buff, Partridge, Black (1893)
  • Silver Penciled (1902)
  • Columbian (1905)
  • Blue (1977)

Interestingly the Blue Laced Red Wyandotte has become extremely popular even though they are not a recognized breed.

Given all these colors, by far the most popular are the Golden Laced Wyandotte and the Silver Laced Wyandotte.

What Is It Like To Own A Wyandotte?

Flock Of Silver Laced Wyandottes

They may be a large bird but they enjoy being active.

You will often find them searching and hunting up bugs, seeds and other tasty things. Scratching in the dirt is a popular activity with the Wyandotte.

Letting them free range (even if only for limited periods of time) will help to keep them active, engaged and healthy.

Surprisingly for such a big breed they are quite reserved.

They prefer the company of their own kind.

She is not a bully and will only show aggression to other chickens if they are picked on.

However she can firmly put the aggressor in their place.

Personality

As mentioned above this breed is known as for being quiet and reserved.

She is not one for mixing in with other breeds and prefers the company of her own kind. Wyandottes tend to hang together in groups ignoring other breeds.

Sometimes because they are quiet and gentle other birds may try to pick on them, but this is a big mistake. They will put bullies in their place without much effort.

Wyandotte Chickens are not overly affectionate with humans but neither do they actively avoid human contact. They will come for treats or to check out what you are doing and generally take an interest in what you do. However they do not necessarily want to be best friends.

They will tolerate being picked up and held but really cannot be described as a lap chicken. She does well enough with children and makes an excellent beginner chicken.

You will rarely see her flustered and they are very calm and dependable.

Because of this you often see this breed in show or exhibitions.

Their calm temperament and feathering usually gathers plenty of comments and commendations.

Silver Laced Wyandottes

Egg Production

Wyandottes are good layers of cream or light brown eggs.

While they may not be in the superstar category, they do put out a very respectable 3-4 eggs each week.

They are not known for broodiness but when they do decide to sit they are dedicated to the task and make good mothers.

Egg Production
Eggs Per Week: 3-4 Eggs.
Color: Cream and Brown.
Size: Large.

Noise Levels

Apart from the egg song they really do not talk that much at all. Like all chickens they chatter while ranging but this is a low murmur and is not likely to disturb neighbors.

Because they are so quiet they make a good contender for an urban setting.

Facts About This Breed

  1. Wyandottes come in a variety of colors including Silver Penciled, Golden Laced and Blue.
  2. This breed lays beautiful large eggs.
  3. Originally they were known as American Sebrights.
  4. This is an American breed.
  5. Roosters will weigh up to nine pounds and hens will weigh up to six pounds.

Wyandotte Chicken Care Guide

Golden Wyandottes

Health Issues

Wyandottes are usually a healthy and strong bird.

They are remarkably disease free.

Vaccinations against some of the major diseases are available to all chicks bought from hatcheries – you should check into it and see if this is something you want.

All chickens will suffer from minor problems such as lice, mites and worms at some time or other. These ailments are easy enough to fix with regular health checks and appropriate medication.

A note of caution here.

In recent year there has been a fad in creating designer colors of Wyandottes.

When buying your Wyandotte Chicks you should make sure they conform to the standard body type and coloration. There are some very disappointing specimens of the rarer colors such as blue laced reds out there, so buyer beware.

Feeding

As chicks you will need to give them a good quality high protein feed to make sure they grow properly.

A chick starter (or grower) mix of no less than 20% protein is recommended.

Once your Wyandotte Chickens are at the point of lay (around 16-20 weeks) you can gradually switch them over to a 16% layer feed.

Your chickens should also have access to calcium in the form of oyster shell. This should be given in a separate container and not mixed into their regular feed. Insoluble grit should also be given separately too – there is a chick size soluble grit also.

Clean fresh water is a must for all livestock and chickens are no exception.

When your birds start to molt you can change them over to a higher protein (20%) until they have feathered back in.

Coop Setup and Roaming

Blue Laced Red Wyandotte

Wyandottes are quite large and rounded so they need a good amount of space.

The standard 4 square feet per chicken is recommended but more is always better. Although they are generally a peaceful breed, if they are in with more assertive breeds then they will need 6 square feet of coop space each.

Inside the coop 8-10 inches of roosting space per chicken will be sufficient.

However if you can give them a little more room they will appreciate it.

During the warmer months they will spread out and in the winter months you will find them all cuddled up together to keep warm. Just make sure the perches are quite substantial as they are a heavy bird. A 2×4 inch piece of sanded wood placed wide side up for them to perch on will ensure that they have a stable roost and they can keep their toes warm.

A 12×12 inch nesting box will be needed for these large ladies – they will fit quite snugly and prevent any double bunking.

As for outside roaming space.

Wyandottes do enjoy fresh air and free ranging – they think there is nothing better than gathering tasty little morsels fresh from the garden.

To prevent them from wandering too far and becoming Mr. Fox’s lunch, you can confine them to an area enclosed with some form of sturdy fencing. Wyandottes are not good flyers so a fence three feet high will contain them nicely.

If you are keeping them in a run then make sure each chicken has 8 square feet of space.

Skimping on space will lead to nasty habits such as feather picking as they will become bored.

Wyandotte Chicken Breed History

A Silver Laced Wyandotte

Chickens in the 1880s were much different from today’s birds.

In the 1800s there was not very many good dual purpose chickens to be had.

Farms were small family affairs in the main and chickens were not seen as a cash crop or even as worthy contributors to the food pantry.

All that changed when some enterprising poultry men decided to create a chicken that would be able to withstand the cold northern climates and also be a good dual purpose chicken.

Like most chickens of today the Wyandotte Chicken is a mixture of several breeds. While the exact recipe is unknown we do know that Brahmas and Hamburgs were contributors to the breed.

At the beginning of the breed, the chicken could have either a single or rose comb. But since the rose comb was more practical this became the standard for the breed in 1883.

The Wyandotte became the preferred American bird for northern climates for many years until the introduction of industrial farming. Although the Wyandotte laid well enough they were not productive enough to compete with the newer hybrids.

A slow decline in numbers ensued but dedicated breeders kept the lines going.

The recent resurgence in all things chicken has seen the popularity of this regal bird rise sufficiently for them to be removed from the endangered category.

Should You Keep This Breed? (Summary)

By far the Wyandotte Chicken is one of the most beautiful breeds in existence.

She is tolerant of hot summers and can survive brutal winters.

They lay well and makes a good mother to her chicks. They tend and fuss with them until they are old enough to be on their own.

Although at one time their future was very uncertain, they have made a huge comeback in recent years.

Their calm and docile nature has impressed many backyard chicken keepers.

Wyandottes remain wildly popular in the mid-West states where they regularly win ribbons and rosettes in the poultry shows.

Overall this is a stunning low maintenance breed that does not require much in the way of care.

Food, water, accommodation and she is all set.

Let us know in the comments section below if you keep Wyandottes in your flock…

Chris Lesley Bio Picture
Chris Lesley has been Raising Chickens for over 20 years and is a fourth generation chicken keeper. She can remember being a young child when her grandad first taught her how to hold and care for chickens. She also holds a certificate in Animal Behavior and Welfare and are interested in backyard chicken health and care. Her work has been shared on HuffPost, Mother Nature Network, Community Chickens, Mother Earth News and many more outlets. Today Chris keeps 11 chickens including 4 Buff Orpingtons, 4 Rhode Island Reds and 3 Silkies. She is our backyard chicken expert at Chickens And More, and shares her knowledge on raising healthy, happy chickens with our readers. You can contact Chris at chris@chickensandmore.com

1 Comment

  1. Great article, as are all I’ve read, I have some 4 month olds silver laced ,and they are beautiful, I have many breeds of chicken, but these sure are attractive

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