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  • Writer's pictureBrowns' Family Farmstead

Columbian Wyandotte Chickens: A Comprehensive Breed Guide

Columbian Wyandotte chickens are a long-standing heritage breed dating back to the late 1800's. This once localized breed can now be easily found across North America.


They have gained popularity with beginners and homesteaders for their docile personality, hardiness to the cold, and their ability to be good dual purpose (eggs or meat) birds.

Columbian Wyandotte Staring Angrily into your soul

Table of Contents

History

Columbian Wyandotte's are a heritage chicken breed that made their first appearance in the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. It was not until 1906 that Columbian Wyandotte's were recognized by the American Poultry Association (APA) as a heritage breed.


A Columbian Wyandotte were first noted in the 1870's as being produced by cross breeding a White Wyandotte and a Barred Plymouth Rock.


Meet the Parents

White Wyandotte's exact origins are unknown, but they are believed to have come from Ontario, Canada and upstate New York. It was not until 1883 for them to become recognized by the American Poultry Organization (APA) as a purebred.


Barred Plymouth Rock's originated in the mid 1800's in New England. They are derived from crossbreeding several breeds including Dominique's, Black Javas, Cochins, and possibly Malays and Dorkings. John C. In 1874 they became recognized by the APA as a heritage breed.


Heritage or Hybrid

Columbian Wyandotte's are a heritage breed with their parents' breeds dating back to the civil war (1860's). They are cross bred from two recognized breeds by the APA, White Wyandotte's and Barred Plymouth Rocks.

Due to their long-standing lineage and parent breeds that were both recognized by the APA; Columbian Wyandotte's were recognized by the APA in 1883.


Appearance

A few common features of this breed include:

  • Rose comb

  • Red wattles

  • White body

  • Black feathers around Neck

  • Tail

  • Bare Legs

While these features are consistent across the breed, there are several other breeds which have been noted to have a strikingly similar appearance at a glance. They are often confused with Light Brahma's, however they featherless legs and the rose comb tend to be the distinguishing feature.


Weight

Roosters weigh 8.5 pounds on average at maturity, and hens are closer to 6.5 pounds. This makes them larger than the average breed as a typical sized rooster is 6 pounds and a hen is 5.7 pounds.


Due to their heavier build, Columbian Wyandotte's are considered to be good candidates for meat harvesting.


Lifespan

Columbian Wyandotte's have an above average lifespan of 6 to 12 years, which is more than the average chicken which lives between 3 and 7 years.


Egg Color and Production

Basket of Brown Eggs

Egg production typically starts between 20 and 24 weeks (5 to 6 months), which is typical of most breeds.

You can expect 4-6 medium brown sized eggs a week. In their first year, they can produce 200+ eggs with proper diet and care. Note that egg production does decrease by 10 to 15% per year as chickens age until they stop laying altogether.

Columbian Wyandotte's have become well known for their consistent brown eggs that can quickly fill a carton.


Breeding

Columbian Wyandotte chickens are seldom broody as breeders have made careful selections to breed this tendency out.


While they may not have strong maternal instincts, Columbian Wyandotte's are able to and breed naturally and prolifically without human intervention.


Hardiness

Columbian Wyandotte's are known for being a cold-hardy breed. In addition to their resilience to winter, they are also tolerant of warm weather and diseases.

Like many breeds of chickens, they do need access to shade in hot and sunny weather and may require a few accommodations such as a heater or brooder during severe cold.


On a cold winter day where we hit as low as negative twenty-two (-22) with wind-chill, our Columbian Wyandotte's persevered without any problems in the enclosed and unheated chicken coop.


Even during the hottest days, we simply provide shade and that has been sufficient. For more tips on keeping your chickens cool in hot weather check out our article.


Health Risks

Due to their hardiness as a heritage breed, Columbian Wyandotte's are not ailed by any notable illnesses.


We provide our chickens with vitamins in their water as a precaution to ensure they do not have any deficiencies. This is especially important for younger birds still integrating into the flock.


Of course, it is still possible for them to get parasites and other general illnesses, so it is always good to keep a watchful eye on your flock.


Meat Production

As a medium sized bird, they are considered good for meat production as they gain weight quickly and can be harvested as broilers (8 weeks).


Noise Level

Columbian Wyandotte's are a quiet breed that are not known for being noisy. This makes them a good candidate for urban farms.


While the hens don't make an abundance of noise, Columbian Wyandotte's roosters may be too noisy for densely populated areas.


We have several Columbian Wyandotte hens ourselves and they are rather quiet, I would see no issue raising them with close neighbors.


Temperament

Gentle is a word often used to describe Columbian Wyandotte chickens. We have several ourselves and they have never been aggressive, and in fact they are some of our friendliest birds.


Unlike our Barred Rocks and Cuckoo Maran's which are at the top of the pecking order, our Columbian Wyandotte chickens have never been so much as assertive towards one of our other chickens.

With their gentle disposition, they are easy to hold and do well around children.


Housing Requirements

As a medium breed Columbian Wyandotte's require 4 square feet per bird in the coop. Our coop is secure without drafts but is unheated. Our Columbian Wyandotte's did not have any issues during the winter.

In an enclosed run 10 square feet per bird is recommended for happy and healthy birds.


During hot sunny weather we keep our chickens in a roofed run with lots of airflow and free access to the coop which tends to be shady and cooler. This was sufficient for days that got upwards of 90 degrees and sunny.

Broad side Columbian Wyandotte

Are They Right For You?

Columbian Wyandotte's are great for beginners due to their gentle nature, consistent egg production, resilience to disease and weather, and ability to be a meat bird if necessary or desired.

Ultimately the purpose of the chicken is a key factor in this decision. Columbian Wyandotte's can produce a moderate amount of meat and produce slightly less eggs than many other breeds. But if you are looking for a unique addition to your flock or a gentle bird that can be easily held and around children, they may be a great choice for you!

They were some of the first chickens we got, and we have not had any issues with health or temperament with this breed.


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