Wyandotte Chickens are best known for their unique appearance of stunning feathers and ability to be a dual-purpose bird. For these reasons and many more they can be found in backyards across the states.
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Wyandottes originated in the United States in the 1870's by a group of four individuals.
The exact parent breeds of Wyandotte's are unknown, but they are believed to be derived from crossbreeding Hamburgs and dark Brahmas.
This breed was first accepted into the American Poultry Association Standard of Perfection in 1883 with Silver Laced as the original variety.
For a time, Wyandotte's were considered to be a breed in danger. Luckily, in 2015 their status changed to "recovering."
Heritage or Hybrid?
Wyandotte's are an American Heritage breed of chickens.
This breed was created to have dual-purpose, meaning they provide a steady supply of eggs and are large enough for meat.
Wyandotte Chickens can come in a variety of colors of colors included Silver Laced, Gold Laced, Black, Buff, Partridge, Silver Penciled, Colombian, and Blue. In all there are 30 colors/varieties of Wyandotte's.
While their appearance varies, they do all have common features that stay true regardless of color or variety.
A few common features of this breed include:
Comb is Red
4 (Four) Toes
Roosters weigh around 8 to 9 (eight to nine) pounds on average, hens are closer to 6 to 7 (six to seven) pounds on average. This makes them larger than average sized chicken. On average roosters weigh 6 pounds and hens weigh 5.7 pounds.
In optimal conditions some homesteaders report that their chickens are living even longer lifespans.
Egg Color & Production
Egg production starts bat around 20 weeks (5 months), which is early for most breeds.
You can expect 4+ large cream or light brown eggs a week. In their first year, they can produce up to 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.
Wyandotte Chickens are known for their broodiness and tendency to sit on a nest.
Roosters and hens are able to and breed naturally without human intervention or insemination.
The general rule of thumb is that heritage breeds are able to breed naturally, whereas hybrid breeds are not always able to do so.
Wyandottes are well known for being an extremely cold hardy breed, but they are less tolerant to heat.
While they are moderately tolerant to the heat, they do need access to shade in hot and sunny weather. It is important to know how to keep your chickens cool in hot weather, view our complete guide for more tips and tricks.
In the winter it is important to ensure they have access to clean water and are not showing signs of frostbite on their combs, wattles, or feet. They likely will not require accommodations such as a heater or brooder in the winter unless there is extreme cold.
Wyandotte's have strong immune systems and are resilient to many illnesses and diseases.
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.
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.
As a dual-purpose and large sized chicken, they are considered to be a good meat bird. Additionally, their skin is yellow which makes them a good candidate being roasters.
Wyandottes are considered one of the quietest breeds of chickens. This makes them a good candidate for more urban farms in neighborhoods with close neighbors.
While the hen doesn't make an abundance of noise, roosters will crow and can be generally noisy. We would definitely not recommend this breed of rooster for densely populated areas.
In our experience they make noise infrequently, and compared to some of our more vocal chickens like Barred Rock Hens they are extremely quiet.
Independent, friendly, and reserved are words often used to describe Wyandotte's temperament.
In our experience, Wyandotte hens have never been aggressive towards us. But other homesteaders will attest to them potentially having an aggressive streak. Based on our research this seems to be a rare occurrence.
With their generally calm disposition, they would do well around children, but they may not like to be held.
While by nature the roosters are seldom aggressive, if the ratio of hens to roosters is not appropriate, they can be aggressive with each other roosters. An ideal rooster to hen ratio for this breed is 1 rooster to every 10 hens.
As a larger than average sized breed Wyandotte's require 4 square feet per bird in the coop. It is important to ensure your coop has adequate space and height to ensure your birds are comfortable.
Our coop is secure from predator's and limited drafts, but still is unheated. Wyandottes in our area did not have any issues during the winter, even on days it dipped to -22 (negative twenty-two) with wind chill.
In an enclosed run, 8 to 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.
Are They Right For You?
Wyandotte's can be a suitable option for beginners due to their ability to be dual purpose, cold tolerance, resistance to illnesses and diseases.
Ultimately the purpose of the chicken is a key factor in this decision. Wyandotte chickens produces less than the average eggs per year, but they can be processed for meat as a dual purpose bird.
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