The Wyandotte chicken breed is one of America’s favorite breeds and for good reason too. Although it was created in the North-Eastern side of the US, it has spread all across the globe by now, being recognized as one of the best egg and meat options on the market right now.
But despite that, it is considered to be first and foremost, an American chicken breed simply due to its cultural and historical significance. It was actually the very first American breed to have been specifically bred to cover both the egg and the meat industry as a whole, making it a very important heritage bird for our nation.
Sadly though, as time moves on, we find ourselves opting for this chicken breed less and less, due to the advent of industrial farms. As such, although still quite popular, the Wyandotte chicken breed is nowhere near as widespread as it used to be.
If you are interested in getting yourself a batch of Wyandotte chickens, or if you just want to find out more about this beautiful and unique American chicken breed, then keep on reading because for today, we’ve decided to treat you with a guide on everything you should know about it.
So, let’s not beat around the bush any longer and instead just hop right into a little bit of a history lesson on what makes the Wyandotte chicken breed so special in the first place:
Wyandotte Chicken Breed History
The cool thing about the Wyandotte chicken breed is that it was actually imagined by four different people altogether, specifically: Fred Houdlette, L. Whittaker, John Ray and H.M. Doubleday.
They managed to get their names in the history books by taking it upon themselves to create an American dual-purpose hen, because the market was completely run by offshore breeds around this niche back in the 1800s.
Originally, the four decided to name this breed the American Sebright, but as soon as the American Poultry Association decided to accept this bird and legitimize its production, they changed that to Wyandotte.
The reason for this change is because they wanted to showcase the help and aid that they received from the first white settlers of the area, using the Wyandotte Indian Nation as the main inspiration.
The very first chicken that was legitimized out of this was a Silver Laced variety that came about in New York around the 1860s. Soon after though they managed to come out with a second variety known as the Gold laced Wyandotte which was also accepted almost immediately.
The latter variety there is especially important to us these days because it was created using a silver-laced Wyandotte, a Gold Spangled Hamburg and a Partridge Cochin.
As soon as the 1880s rolled around though, they decided that it was time that this American bird flew across the Atlantic already to try out its luck around Britain.
It didn’t take long for the Wyandotte to quickly catch the attention of a lot of poultry fanciers here, to the point where the price for them skyrocketed, going as high up as 165 Great British pounds per bird at the time.
Seeing their success across the Atlantic caused them to be spread all across the globe over the next couple of decades, to the point where it’s not even an exaggeration to say that this bird actually ruled over most markets around the world as we know it.
But hey, not all stories have a happy ending, as it didn’t take long for this breed to soon lose its edge and be taken over by the industrial breeds that are a lot easier to come by and a lot easier to take care of.
This is still a very good chicken breed though, and if you’re looking for a reliable egg layer that can also serve as a tasty meal later on, you can’t go wrong with it.
Wyandotte Chicken Appearance
The appearance of the Wyandotte chicken is actually one of the main reasons as to why people still opt for it these days. Believe it or not but this breed is actually a very good option for ornamental chickens and it all stems from their unique look.
They are quite large chicken, which is partly due to the fact that they were originally bred just for their meat alone.
Since they were originally bred for northern climates, they’re pretty much some of the most cold-resistant birds you could get your hands on.
This is also the main reason as to why their combs are so small. The majority of the time, chickens end up suffering from frostbite in their combs and wattles, so in order to get rid of that nasty problem, their breeders decided to get them this strange and nifty physical trait.
Their rose combs are very famous around the northern parts of the country such as Michigan or New York. Not having to worry about your chicken catching frostbite is always nice to see, and the money you’ll save on medication is a very good incentive to go for this breed altogether.
As far as their heads are concerned, they have a relatively broad and shoulder top alongside a very unique looking stout beak that immediately stands out from all the other chicken breeds out there.
Another interesting physical trait that they have is their red wattles, combs, earlobes and eyes. While the first three are very common for chicken in general, having red eyes definitely is unique to them and it is a nice way for you to tell whether you are dealing with a Wyandotte chicken or not.
Wyandotte chickens are also very famous for having yellow legs with four toes on each of their feet. They have relatively long legs and are known for not having any feathers growing on them.
Skin wise they are typically yellow, and as far as the general color of the chicken breed is concerned, it all depends on the variety you got on your hands.
Size and Weight
As far as their general size and weight is concerned, you are looking at a relatively large chicken right here, which is made all the bigger by the fluffiness of their feathers.
The roosters can get quite heavy, weighing in almost 9lbs each which is definitely good for those looking for a good meat chicken. The hens on the other hand are around 6 to 7lbs each, which may be a bit on the smaller side but they are still quite large to say the least.
Wyandotte Chickens’ Temperament
For the most part, the Wyandotte chickens are not going to cause you any problems with their temper, especially so considering the fact that they are usually the ones being bullied by the other breeds.
Despite being relatively large birds, they are usually going to be pushed around a lot by any other chickens around the coop, so it’s best if you take the time and separate them from any other breeds that may cause them trouble.
They can definitely take a pounding though, since we mentioned that they are very resistant and all that, but it really shouldn’t come down to this around your coop so for the most part just keep them away from any other more violent birds.
Luckily this works out in their favor as Wyandotte chickens are very happy in confinement, although we would still recommend keeping them free-ranging just so they can be healthier and move a lot more on their own.
They also make for some of the best hunters of bugs and seeds out there so they will happily pace around your backyard as much as possible and clear it out of any annoying little critters in no time.
We highly recommend that you take your favorite book and you just take your comfiest chair with you as you watch over them patrolling your yard.
They are not the most energetic creatures out there but they will take their time to clear out any bugs or seeds you may have lying around your yard which can be quite restful to look over to say the least.
As we mentioned previously, thanks to their hefty feather coverings they can pretty much resist most climates out there, although when it comes to some of the warmer areas around the world, we do believe that you should keep them in shade and give them a lot of cool water every now and then.
If you want to keep them as pets then you should know that the typical Wyandotte chicken lives for around 6 to 12 years or so, although this highly depends on their diet and their overall health.
For the most part though you can expect them to live for around 10 years or so, and when the time comes, we recommend that you allow them to die naturally as opposed to taking them out yourself or asking a professional.
Wyandotte Chicken Varieties
We mentioned previously how there are several varieties of Wyandotte chickens that you need to look out for, and they are the following:
You have the original one, the Silver laced variety, which was actually created way back in the day by crossing a silver spangled Hamburg with a dark Brahma.
It is known for having a bunch of different white and black spots all across their body, which is very interesting to see and quite unique to this variety.
Just so you know, if your Wyandotte is all white colored then you are pretty lucky right there because that is by far the rarest coloring you will ever find on a Wyandotte chicken overall.
Next up you have the Colombian variety which actually came into being after the breeders decided to cross a white Wyandotte with a Barred Plymouth Rock.
The Gold laced Wyandotte came up next as the people of Wisconsin decided to cross a Silver laced Wyandotte with a Gold Spangled Hamburg and interestingly enough, a Partridge Cochin as well.
The Buff variety came into being after the breeders decided to cross a silver laced with a Buff Cochin, and as a side note, this may be one of our personal favorite varieties right here because of the unique patterns they sport.
The Partridge variety is also known for having divided into two different strains altogether, so depending on the area you live in you could either deal with a Partridge Cochin and Buff Wyandotte cross or with a Cornish/Buff Wyandotte and Partridge Cochin cross.
These are by far the most popular crosses out there, but we should mention that besides them you also have the Blue, the Blue Laced Red, the Red and a whole lot more of them that are pretty much just crosses of one another.
Not all of these are officially accepted in the registry, but if you’re just looking for a unique chicken and you happen to stumble upon a different colored variety, we personally wouldn’t really give it a second thought but that may just be us.
Egg Laying and Health Issues
As far as their egg laying ability is concerned, the Wyandotte chicken breed is known for laying relatively medium to large brown eggs, at a decent pace of around 4 eggs per week or so.
Their motherly instinct are definitely up there as they have a very good brooding instinct and they will often times attack other chickens if they come too close to their chicks. This is the only time you will ever see a Wyandotte chicken starting an altercation too.
Health wise you’re looking as one of the most resilient chicken breeds on the market. They are fairly robust little birds that can take on most colder climates and completely disregard frostbite no matter how cold it gets.
In fact, there are actually no specific health problems that this breed faces off against for the most part. There are always going to be a bunch of ectoparasites that you will need to look out for, but for the most part you should be able to handle all of that with ease.
They do have pretty dense feathering around their rear end which will require you to trim it down every now and then, but as long as you don’t mind doing that there’s no reason as to why you should go for any other breed out there.
Overall, the Wyandotte chicken breed is perfect regardless of whether you are looking for a healthy egg layer or a good meat chicken that you can take out as soon as it reaches adulthood.
Wyandotte Chicken Care
Taking care of a Wyandotte chicken is actually a lot easier than you may think, especially due to how friendly they are around children.
They are very dependable egg layers, which means that even during the toughest of winters they will still offer you plenty of reasons to keep on taking care of them, and considering how healthy and non-aggressive they are, there’s practically no reasons against owning one or two as pets.
They are not the typical “lap chickens” and they can be quite noisy which is not exactly the best thing to have when your neighbors live very close to you.
If you can live with that though you will find the typical Wyandotte chicken to be the perfect companion for you, and this definitely shows considering their overall popularity around the world.
They are popular regardless of where you go, they’ve even won several awards over the years due to how pretty, easy to handle and overall perfect they are.
So, as long as you can handle them being a bit on the talkative side and if you can handle their general needs, you should definitely opt for a Wyandotte chicken next time you go out.
So, what have we learned today? We found out that the Wyandotte chicken is by far one of the most popular chicken breeds out there, and for good reason too. No matter which variety of color you wish to go for, you can still be sure of the fact that this chicken breed will bring you nothing but joy.
Being a multi-purpose chicken breed also works in its favor as not everyone wants to butcher their feathered friends and at the same time, not everyone wants to deal with a constant influx of eggs if they don’t like to consume them in the first place.
As such, the Wyandotte chicken breed is pretty much universally acclaimed as one of the best chicken breeds out there, especially for new farmers that have just now decided to start their business.
It may not seem like it by the Wyandotte chickens are fan-favorites for a reason, and we honestly believe that if you ever wanted a docile chicken that you can have follow you around the coop every time you come down to feed them, this may very well be the perfect chicken breed for you.