In our current flock, we have two Wyandottes – one Silver and one Gold. As chicks, they were pretty tough to tell apart. Now that they mature, the difference is as obvious as day and night. Yet despite their polarizing appearances, the two girls are often seen together; as if their common heritage holds a special bond.
### Special Note ###
The Wyandotte Chicken has the distinguishment of being named after the Native Americans, the Wyandot people.
Wyandottes are generally a stocky bird. Once mature, they have long wattles under their chin and rose combs on their head. Their coloring can vary, but most breeds have very distinctive black tips on their feathers – giving them a sort of chain mail appearance.
They also tend to be big breasted, which often makes them look like they’re sticking out their chest.
If chickens had a muscle-bound ‘body builder’ class, it would probably belong to the Wyandotte.
The Wyandotte breed boasts a very wide range of variants – credit due to their positive characteristics.
In the United States, nine colors are recognized with Silver Laced and Golden Laced being among the most popular. There is also Buff, Blue, Black, Silver Penciled, Colombian and Partridge.
Wyandotte also comes in a bantam version (think miniature pony) which has the ninth color – Buff Colombian.
But if nine colors aren’t enough for you, Europe recognizes 30 different variants of the Wyandotte breed.
Wyandottes are considered a dual purpose breed; meaning you can raise them for eggs or butcher them for the freezer.
Their eggs are brown and of medium size with production being slightly less than other ‘top-performing’ breeds.
This balances out though as they tend to have large breasts, which is ideal for those who are looking for meat.
Wyandottes are considered to be generally docile, though not so much as other breeds.
As chicks we noted that both the Silver and the Golden were more ‘intense’ when pursuing a bug of interest. This is not to say that they were hostile towards other members of the flock, but rather they would charge in without regard to who might be in their way.
This attitude changed however, as they were introduced to an established flock, as the larger more mature and experienced birds ‘schooled’ them on their place in the pecking order.
(Squabbles are common when introducing new birds to an established flock.)
But after flock hierarchy was established, the Wyandottes have proven to get along well with the other members of the flock, as well as, being docile enough to eat treats out of our hands.
Caged Vs. Free-range
The Wyandotte Chicken can do well in a caged environment, but like most breeds seem to enjoy escapes outside of the run.
Our Wyandotte hens can often be found under bushes or low pines, scratching at the loose ground covering as they look for bugs or any other thing of interest.
In situations where lots of space is available, they will range well beyond sight of the nesting box. So make sure that you have trained them well on using it before giving them such freedom, as they may find a new and less convenient spot for you to gather their eggs.
Cold Weather Vs Hot Weather
With their short rose comb and long round wattles, the Wyandotte breed of chicken should do well with both cold and hot weather.
- Cold Weather – Wyandottes do not have the pronounced tips on their combs, giving them an advantage against other breeds in combating frost-bite. With proper care, this breed can do very well in a below freezing environment.
- Hot Weather – All nine variants (US) of the Wyandotte breed have some degree of variation in their plumage. And as such, have some ability to repel direct sunlight – (as compared to the solid black plumage of the Australorp).
Their wattles are large and hang away from their body, allowing for more airflow around them which enhances their ability to dissipate internal heat. If given adequate access to shade and water, the Wyandotte should do well in hot environments.
It has been my experience that Wyandotte owners usually lean more towards the appearance of their birds rather than pure function. This is not to say that the breed does not perform – as it does produce a good number of eggs. But if a scale were made measuring visual appeal and food output, then the Wyandotte’s strength would clearly be in its plumage.
The Wyandotte chicken is arguably one of the best looking breeds available today.
My personal favorite would be the Silver variant, though some of the Blue variants can be quite notable.
If you are the type of ‘flock owner’ that wants some uber-tasty backyard eggs, but really cares about having sharp looking birds as eye candy to decorate your backyard, then a Wyandotte is probably a good fit for you.
I would give this breed 3.5 out of 5 stars.