Wyandotte chickens are arguably the most beautiful variety of chicken and quite possibly the most beautiful chicken in existence. Maybe I’m a little biased, I’ve kept wyandottes for over a decade now. Their interesting and unique plumage makes them prized birds for hobbyists and show chicken breeders. They are excellent egg layers and can be used for their meat as well. If you want a beautiful bird that will provide you a delicious breakfast, the Wyandotte is for you.
All about Wyandotte chickens
Before you rush out and get some chickens, it’s best to know a little about them. Here are some of the basics:
- Appearance: Black, brown, and golden feathers
- Origin: Wisconsin
- Temperament: Docile, but aloof
- Rooster behavior: Some may be aggressive
- Noise: Quiet
- Purpose: Meat, eggs, show
- Eggs per year: 200
- Egg color: Light brown
- Size: Large
- Hen weight: 6 pounds
- Rooster weight: 8.5 pounds
- Broody: Very broody
- Lifespan: 5+ years
- APA Recognized: Yes
Wyandotte chickens originated in Wisconsin by crossing Silver Laced Wyandotte females with a Cochin-Brown Leghorn Cockerel. They have brown and black feathers with a bright golden ‘lace’ to the feathers. These birds are docile, sometimes friendly, but generally aloof. Wyandotte roosters aren’t prone to aggression, but they can be depending on how they are raised and treated. Like the Buff Orpington chicken, Wyandottes are generally quiet.
These chickens are a good dual-purpose bird, being an excellent source of meat and eggs. A hen will lay about 200 light brown colored eggs per year. An adult hen is about 6 pounds while a fully grown rooster will weigh between 8 and 9 pounds.
One word of warning: Wyandottes as a breed can be very broody, meaning they are eager to sit on their eggs and hatch them. This is great news if you want to breed your chickens, but not great if you don’t plan to. Broodiness can be hard to break in a chicken. It helps to collect eggs early and often.
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Some chickens are very friendly and some are more aggressive, but Wyandottes as a whole tend to be neither. They can be nice, but tend to be cold and aloof toward humans, other animals, and even other types of chickens. Wyandottes are known for sticking to their own kind. They’re a real self-serving, self-starting kind of chicken. Don’t expect to be best friends with your Golden Laced Wyandotte chickens.
Wyandotte chickens are not the best breed for meat or eggs. They have neither the highest meat yield or the highest egg yield. They are, however, still a solid dual-purpose meat and egg bird. The hens will grow to approximately 6 pounds when fully grown and lay 200 eggs per year. Roosters grow to 8.5 pounds but aren’t generally used for meat.
Golden Laced Wyandotte chickens have black and brown feathers that have a golden colored pattern that looks a bit like lace. Their tails tend to be black and their combs, wattles, and earlobes a rosy red color. They are one of the more stunning breeds of chickens and will undoubtedly turn the heads of your visitors.
Coop and run
Chickens tend to pick up bad behaviors when their coop and run aren’t up to their standards, so making sure you have the appropriate cook and run for your Wyandotte chickens is vitally important.
Wyandottes are a very self-sufficient bird, meaning the more run space you can provide them, the more money you’ll save on feed. They are solid foragers and should be provided 10 or more square feet of free range area per bird.
Chicken runs and coops should be kept properly cleaned out and provided fresh straw regularly. At least one nest box per laying hen is preferred, although they can tolerate “buddying up” and laying eggs in the same nest box. These chickens are known to wander some and will occasionally find creative places to lay their eggs.
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Wyandottes are hardy, healthy, and strong chickens. They are not prone to any noteworthy diseases or other health issues aside from the ones most common to chickens. With proper attention and care, your chickens will live many happy, healthy, productive years for you.
History of Golden Laced Wyandotte Chickens
Wyandotte chickens were named after the Wyandotte tribe that lived in the Great Lakes region as well as ranging from what is now Ohio to Kansas. The bird was first developed in the state of Wisconsin by crossing Silver Laced Wyandotte females with a Cochin-Brown Leghorn Cockerel. The breed was recognized by the American Poultry Association in 1888 and has been a favorite bird of backyard keepers ever since.
What to feed Wyandotte chickens
Up until about 16 to 20 weeks, your Wyandotte chicks should be fed a commercial chick starter feed with 18% protein. This added protein will help your young chicks grow and develop into healthy birds. At 20 weeks, they can be switched to a 16% protein layer feed to support healthy feathers and good egg production. Chickens enjoy being put out to pasture where they can eat grass, bugs, and other plants. They will also gladly eat some fruits, vegetables, grains, and leafy greens.
For more information, check out our comprehensive guide on what foods chickens can and cannot eat.