Wyandotte chicken is a dual-purpose breed. It’s best known for laying brown eggs and delicious tasting meat. It’s one of the most popular backyard chickens in the United States.
Wyandottes are hardy, healthy and friendly birds that will transform your flock with warmth. If you’re looking for a striking chicken and want four medium-to-large brown eggs each week, then Wyandotte will be a great fit for your coop.
Here’s what to know about keeping Wyandotte chickens, including their appearance, temperament, egg production, purpose, varieties, and characteristics.
What Does a Wyandotte Chicken Look Like?
These fowls are quite big compared to other home-reared chickens and distinguished by their variety of colors. As far as the Wyandotte’s appearance, it has a well-balanced size rose comb that’s close to the skull and a leader on the back that follows the skull.
The skull is wide, meaning the body will be wide as well. All dual-purpose chickens have these attributes.
Wyandotte chickens are full-breasted with healthy-looking, colorful wings. Their wings are wide and have thick feathers. They have clean legs. The back is wide and flat with an excellent full tail. Wyandottes mostly have perfect lacing throughout their body, from the breast to the wings.
They have strong yellow legs. Like all American chicken breeds, they have yellow skin.
Wyandotte Size and Weight
Wyandotte chickens are considered to be heavy farming birds, however, they are different weights and sizes.
An adult hen weighs around 6 to 7 pounds and is considered a slightly larger chicken among the standard of perfection. The Wyandotte rooster will weigh around 8 to 9 pounds and will be one of the coop’s biggest chickens.
There is also a bantam size. Bantam Wyandottes will have an average weight of 2.2 to 2.5 pounds for females and males. These bantams are perfect ornamental chickens for your backyard because of their friendliness with other pets.
Overall, Wyandottes are quite economical; they don’t consume much food but are productive at laying eggs.
Depending on the variety, there are different color patterns. The Wyandottes have a wide range of colors, and the Blue Laced Red Wyandotte is the most recent, while the Golden Laced Wyandotte is the most popular today.
Being so docile and having the ability to continually lay brown eggs in the cold weather has made these birds so versatile that many crossings have been made to extend the varieties.
With a phenomenal rose comb and a variety of colors, the Wyandotte has become a popular fowl at bird shows. Wyandotees have a rose comb. If you are breeding Wyandottes, a rose comb is important.
Wyandotte Chicken Varieties
In the United States and Great Britain, each country has a different number of official varieties. Both countries were very active at reproducing and mating new chicks; that’s why today we have plenty of them.
The American Poultry Association recognizes nine Wyandotte varieties. They include: Black, Blue, Buff, Columbian, Golden Laced, Partridge, Silver Laced, Silver Penciled, White.
The Poultry Club of Great Britain recognizes Partridge, Blue Partridge, Barred, Black, Blue, Blue Laced, Buff, Buff Laced, Columbian, Gold Laced, Red, Silver Laced, White, Silver Penciled.
Here’s a list of the most well-known and popular varieties of Wyandotte chickens.
Golden Laced Wyandotte
This variety has golden feathers with black edges. It has short yellow legs and a black tail. The Gold Laced variety was created with a Silver Laced Wyandotte hen and a Gold Spangled Hamburg and a Partridge Cochin rooster. The Gold Laced Wyandotte is the most popular variety.
This is the first type of Wyandotte chicken. The Silver Laced Wyandotte has silver feathers with black edges and short yellow legs, and wide black tails.
It’s the rarest color of Wyandottes. White all over, but in rare scenarios, can have black-edged feathers on the neck and tail.
Black-feathered with yellow legs.
Blue Laced Red Wyandotte
It has exceptional buff/red feathers with blue lacing. Breeding this color is difficult because parents can be blue, but the chicks might have a black or blue splash.
They are buff-colored with white lacing. Bantam’s neck feathers are white, while the rest are buff.
This variety has the same coloring, just it doesn’t have the same lacing as the Buff-Laced Wyandotte.
This Wyandotte variety is one of the angriest and sometimes goes wild. Columbians have white feathers all over, but the tail, neck, and wings tips are black.
The difference between regular Columbian and buff is that the buff version has brownish feathers, not white.
- Barred Wyandotte
These chicks were created in Germany by mating Black Wyandottes and Barred Rocks. Interestingly, some generations have surprisingly long tails and back feathers. Overall the feathers are crosswise black and white.
Partridge Wyandotte is a rare variety for large hens because there aren’t many breeders of this pattern. They have a triple lacing down the red feather.
These chicks are even rarer than the partridge, but more and more farmers are into breeding this variety, especially in Canada. They have the same pencil pattern and are just silver-based instead of red.
Mille Fleur Wyandotte
This type has a lot of black marks on the end of the feathers, but the tips are white. Overall, all fowls are dark brown.
It’s natural to wonder how aggressive Wyandotte roosters are. Like most roosters, they are active and will want to dominate the flock.
Wyandottes aren’t among the friendliest rooster breeds, however, each will have its own temperament and personality. Overall, they aren’t very mean.
When considering adding one or more Wyandotte roosters to your flock, determine how many chickens you have and other roosters you may already own. There are many pros and cons of keeping a rooster.
Overall, Wyandotte chickens are very friendly and docile fowls. When keeping them in a large pen or area, they can be kept with other chicken breeds, but if they live in small spaces, they will show who’s the boss there. In general, they are toward the top of the pecking order.
They generally have dominance and like to be at the top of the flock. This doesn’t mean they will make a lot of noise or be fighting against other chickens all day, just that they like their space. They have a dominant streak. They like to stick with their own breed, which may make them seem a bit aloof.
In fact, they’re calm birds, and you can notice by how slowly they walk around looking for worms and grains.
Although Wyandottes tolerate other breeds and can live with them, they tend to like their solitude. Giving them space will keep things peaceful.
Wyandotte Chicken Noise Level
The noise of these birds is considerably low, but they can be loud when they want to be. Wyandottes make more noise in the small areas, where their personal space has been disturbed by others.
If they’re living in a large barn or in an open chicken coop, the noise level will be minimal. Overall, they have a docile demeanor. In general, these birds are dominant; that’s why they get loud when their space is intruded upon.
Can Wyandotte Chickens Endure Cold Weather?
Yes, they are hardy and can handle cold temperatures and like cold climates. It’s a robust chicken with a large body, dense feathering, and a rose comb, making it a perfect cold-weather inhabitant.
Wyandottes prefer cold weather, so if you’re living in very hot climate, it might not be the best chicken for you. You may want to choose a different breed. Regardless of the climate, chickens require shelter, a secure chicken coop, and fresh water troughs.
Purpose for Raising Wyandotte Chickens
There are many benefits to raising these chickens. Wyandotte is considered a dual-purpose breed, specifically made for delicious meat and brown eggs. They are reliable layers and big enough for table fowl. This makes them one of the best chicken breeds for your backyard or rural living.
They are one of the best dual-purpose breeds because, along with those benefits, Wyandottes can also be a great chicken for a pet. They’re very friendly and calm towards humans, so giving your child a Wyandotte hen to raise will give your child a whole new experience.
Wyandotte Meat Production
Being a heritage breed, they are slow growing. It will take them longer to reach table weight than other breeds. Overall, people like Wyandotte meat because it’s very lean and can be raised for slaughter fairly quickly. To get the juiciest and tender meat, you should butcher it between four and six months of age. Some people have noted that if you slaughter it after this time, it won’t be as high quality.
If you keep the chicken longer, the meat will get tougher, but it will be better for egg-laying.
Note: If you’re planning on raising Wyandotte for meat, keep in mind that the feeding will significantly impact how it tastes. As a rule of thumb, feeding it natural foods or letting it be free-range will give better tasting meat, but it will take more time to mature.
Wyandotte Egg Production
Being a dual-purpose chicken, the Wyandotte will lay around 200 eggs per year. Egg color is brown. This amounts to about 4 – 5 any given week. They are medium-to-large in size.
What is even better is that it holds the same rate of production during really cold weather. They are productive layers during the winter months. That’s why the Wyandotte is one of the most popular breeds for chicken breeders in cold climates.
Oftentimes, dual-purpose breeds aren’t as reliable laying eggs throughout the year. Many will stop laying in the cold weather months, but nothing will stop the Wyandotte.
Wyandotte hens have a tendency to be broody and make excellent mothers. Reliable sitters, they will often sit on fertile eggs.
How many eggs does a Wyandotte Chicken lay in a day?
They lay around 200 eggs a year, but converting this into a per-day rate will vary. Some days you will have no eggs, and others, one, two or three eggs a day.
Average Lifespan of a Wyandotte Chicken
The lifespan of a Wyandotte highly depends on the variety, but it ranges between 6 to 12 years. Stress is a huge factor when it comes down to the lifespan of a chicken.
If you only have a few chickens in your backyard, and they’re free range all the time, then you can expect a longer lifetime. Chickens that are kept and raised in small cages without having the pleasure of running freely through the yard will drastically increase the level of stress.
Consider also the other breeds you will be raising alongside Wyandottes. Choosing easy-going breeds will mean less stress overall. Extra stress means a shorter life.
History of the Wyandotte Chicken
An American breed, the Wyandotte chicken story began in the late 1800s. Around 1870, four people from the United States produced the first variety of this chicken, called the Silver-Laced Wyandotte.
Before 1883, the Wyandotte had a different name; it was called an American Sebright. The name Wyandotte was given by the Wyandotte Nation, but the hens have no correlation with the society.
In 1883, the Silver-Laced variety was included in the American Standard of Perfection. Right after the official breed standard, the Wyandotte was taken to Great Britain for reproduction.
There isn’t information about this breed’s real origin. Still, it’s known that Silver Spangled Hamburgs and Dark Brahmas were used as the primary chickens in the crossing process.
Wyandotte chickens have many color varieties. They are popular in bird shows, especially in Germany.
The Silver-Laced Wyandotte is the original type of Wyandotte breed and was used to produce many other varieties. Because of the excessive breeding, white and black Wyandottes were an outcome of the mutation.
The Barred Plymouth Rock and the White Wyandotte were crossed in between, and from there came the Columbian Wyandotte.
The name Columbian originated because of the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. At that time, people celebrated the 400th jubilee of Christopher Columbus’s expedition to the United States.
The buff type was produced by crossing the Buff Cochin and the Silver-Laced. The Buff Wyandotte’s first variation didn’t have many colors or buff, but it was used a lot for mating to have a wide variety today.
Do Wyandottes Have Health Problems?
They’re sturdy and long-living chickens, without any prominent health issues, but it also depends on their living environment.
The biggest concern you should have while raising Wyandotte chickens should be small parasites, such as ticks and lice, because they can easily hide under their dense feathers. Keeping parasites at bay is important.
Another risk factor is the hot climate. They’ve adapted to cold weather, so living under a high temperature will definitely shorten the lifespan. In addition to having plenty of shade, consider mist systems or other cooling systems if you live in a hot desert climate such as the southwestern United States.
Consider these quick, actionable tips you can follow to prevent health problems and extend life.
Tip #1 Perform a Dust Bath at Least Once a Week
Dust baths for chickens work well to help get rid of loose and weak feathers and rub off old skin.
It’s a natural procedure that chickens often do if they find dry, friable sand to hop in and wiggle around. Dust baths also work against small parasites, which can cause serious health issues for your fowls.
Tip #2 Correct Feeding and Nutrition
By correct feeding, I mean, don’t overfeed it. A Wyandotte’s meat is lean, and it doesn’t require excessive feeding. That said, being overweight will badly affect their overall health.
Back, heart, and leg problems will be the first things you will encounter if you don’t take this seriously. Go easy with the treats and give them plenty of vegetables if possible. For example, cabbage is a perfect choice.
Tip #3 Activity Level
Giving Wyandotte chickens and roosters the ability to free range and roam will ensure they are active and fit.
Tip #4 Veterinary Care When Needed
This tip leans more towards the people who are raising a specific type of chicken for their own joy. If you notice any concerns, such as illness or injury, finding a specialist in poultry is important.
Taking your Wyandotte to the veterinarian for a health check because you have spotted a strange change in their behavior or appetite can also help them stay healthy.
Tip #5 Keep Them With Their Kind
Consider keeping only Wyandotte chickens to minimize stress between more aggressive breeds. You can still have a colorful flock by raising Blue Laced Red Wyandottes with Golden Laced and more.
- How to Raise Wyandotte Chickens
How to Raise Wyandotte Chickens
Raising Wyandotte chickens can be easy and joyful if you follow the right steps. In fact, you can care for them like other chicken breeds. They don’t require much attention or special knowledge but they will need protection from predators. Consider this when setting up their shelter and free range areas.
Still, there are a few things you should know before raising Wyandotte chickens. 10 Tips for Raising Backyard Chickens for Beginners
When considering adding chickens to your backyard farm, it’s important to learn how much space do chickens need. Then, you can determine the right location on your property for them to live and how many chickens to start with.
The best place to raise your Wyandotte is a large backyard or a farm, where they can toddle around freely, especially if you’re planning on mixing breeds.
There should be a shelter or a chicken coop in which they can be fully protected from predators. In addition, you’ll need to consider your climate and temperature. No matter where you raise Wyandottes, they’ll need protection from the weather. This can include cold temperatures, storms, and cold temperatures.
They also will benefit from shade from direct sunlight. Like many chicken breeds, they’re vulnerable to heat exhaustion.
Having a small pond in the chicken territory would be ideal, but it’s not necessary. A compact bowl of water is enough. On especially hot days, you may want to set up a DIY misting system or a child-size pool. There are other tips to keep chickens cool in the summer heat as well.
Having an nutritious diet is a must if you want to have a healthy, great-tasting Wyandotte or to support her laying 200 eggs a year. Nutrition plays a huge role for every living being, so don’t skip just because chickens are omnivores.
If you have a large area to let your birds be free-range, there may be enough food for them to forage in the warmer summer.
If you live in a climate with cold temperatures certain times of the year, you must provide a full feeding of vitamins, minerals, fats, and amino acids during that time. Also, in the winter, they may have a smaller appetite, but extra food is still necessary.
Let’s take a look at how you should feed Wyandotte. Their diet should consist of nutritious feed to include:
- 18 – 20% protein
- 1% calcium
- The rest should be foraging, nuts, seeds, and fruits for dual-purpose breeds
Calcium is responsible for building strong eggshells and growing bodies.
When feeding with the layer feed, pay close attention to how much calcium it has and don’t overfeed them because too much calcium can cause liver and kidney disease.
Can You Keep Wyandottes With Other Chicken Breeds?
Wyandotte varieties are friendly birds and can live peacefully with other breeds. Although they’re dominant, only the roosters are sometimes aggressive in confined areas.
Hens and roosters prefer larger spaces, but hens remain calm in large or small fields.
Try to mix your Wyandotte with other calm breeds such as the Orpington, Australorp, Plymouth Rock, Welsummer chicken, and Sussex. Avoid gaming birds like the Malay chicken, Cornish, and Sumatra Calder Ranger Asil.
Should You Keep a Wyandotte As a Pet?
Yes, definitely. Wyandottes make productive pets. They’re large and calm birds, with colorful feathers and easily managed by their owners. The Wyandotte laced varieties are particularly striking.
They are a good choice for kids, especially when you start with baby chicks. Taking care of chickens is relatively low maintenance. Pouring feed once per day in the morning and letting them free-range sounds like a carefree pet to have. These backyard chickens will absolutely add amenity and flamboyance to your homestead.
This breed also popular for 4-H, FFA, and other show ring projects.
Who Should Keep Wyandotte Chicken?
Many backyard chicken keepers, homesteaders, and poultry fanciers choose these chickens. They are ideal if you’re looking for a docile, robust, calm, hardy dual-purpose breed to bring into your flock.
The Wyandotte can be the right choice, especially if you live in a climate with cold winters. If you live in a very hot climate, you may want to consider another breed.
Young Wyandotte’s meat tastes good, so keep that in mind if you’re thinking of keeping them only for meat.
Regarding egg production, Golden-Laced Wyandottes are among the best egg laying chickens. On average, Wyandottes lay about four eggs per week. While this isn’t as many as some breeds, they are more consistent. Wyandottes lay all year, even during the colder months. Hens make good mothers if you decide to add chicks to your flock.