If you own, or are considering getting, Wyandottes, then this is the article for you! Keep reading to learn all about this calm, fun-to-keep breed!
H.M. Doubleday, John Ray, L. Whittaker and Fred Houdlette bred the first Wyandotte, the Silver Laced, in New York. It was included in the American Standard of Perfection in 1883.
The breeds that were used to create the Wyandotte are not known for certain, but Silver Spangled Hamburgs and Dark Brahmas are thought to have had important roles in the process. The Hamburg gives the Wyandotte its rose comb, and the Brahma gives it its color pattern. Both of these are beautiful features of the breed that make it so versatile and recognizable.
Before the breed was accepted into the American Standard of Perfection, the breed was called the Sebright Cochin, or American Sebright.
The Golden Laced Wyandotte was produced by breeding Silver Laced Wyandotte hens with Gold Spangled Hamburg and Partridge Cochin roosters. The White Wyandotte was a sport of the Silver Laced. The Black Wyandotte is also a sport, including both the Silver Laced and Golden Laced.
A sport is an organism different from others of its type or breed without apparent reason. This variation may be transmitted to the descendants or they may revert to the original type.
In 2015, the Wyandotte was listed by the American Livestock Conservancy as recovering, but in 2016 it was removed from that list and is no longer considered at risk.
Wyandottes are larger birds, with roosters weighing 8-9lb (3½-4kg), and hens 6-7lb (2½-3kg). They usually live from 6 to 12 years depending on their health and the conditions that they live in.
They start laying eggs a bit later than most breeds, at 25 to 30 weeks old, but they also continue laying longer than most, up to 3 or 4 years. Laying brown, medium sized eggs, Wyandottes will also continue laying steadily throughout the winter. Other chickens will usually slow down and not give nearly as many eggs.
Wyandottes are friendly, and they don’t mind being around people. Because of this, they are good chickens for beginners and children. They do not like to be held, although they will tolerate it.
They are relatively quiet birds, and apart from the “egg song” and quiet “talking” amongst themselves, they really don’t make much noise. Roosters, of course, still crow, and rather loudly, but they don’t do it as often as some other breeds.
Since the Wyandotte was bred in New York, where the winters can be cold and harsh, it was bred to have a rose comb. A longer comb, like a single or buttercup comb, can be easily frostbitten in such cold conditions. The rose comb, along with its thick, dark feathers, makes the Wyandotte very cold hardy.
They are good with free ranging or being contained, although like any chicken, they would rather free-range. However, if you are not comfortable with that, or simply can’t let them roam, they will be fine in a run.
Wyandottes are larger birds, so predators will not be as big of a problem. Hawks and other birds of prey should not be a problem, but be on the lookout for foxes, coyotes, etc.
Overall, Wyandottes are good, calm hardy birds, and easy to care for. They are good for beginners.
Silver Laced Wyandotte: http://chickensandmore.com
Golden Laced Wyandotte: http://handmedownfarms.com