Wyandottes are a wonderful moderately sized dual-purpose breed that is packed with personality. They are reliable layers throughout the year and despite sometimes showing their slightly bossy nature, they can be good birds around children. Their thick plumage makes Wyandottes a great breed for cold climates and their strong maternal instincts make them great mothers.
Quantity: 4 eggs/hen/week
Good egg production
Good meat production
Cold climate hardy: Yes
Rare breed: No
The Wyandotte breed was developed in America in the second half of the 19th century to serve the purposes of both meat and egg production. The breed was originally intended to be named the ‘American Sebright’, however, Wyandotte was chosen instead as a nod to the Wyandotte Indian Nation in the area in which the breed was developed.
Wyandottes are moderate to large sized birds, weighing between 2.5-4kg (hens ~ 2.7kg; roosters ~ 3.8kg), making them good table birds. Despite being harder to find, bantam varieties are also available and weigh between 1-1.5kg. The large appearance of the popular show breed is accentuated by their feathery plumage which comes in a variety of colours. While only eight colour variations are recognised by the APA – silver laced, gold laced, black, white, buff, partridge, Columbian and silver pencilled – there are 17 known colour varieties. Of the known varieties, the original silver-laced variety is the most commonly found. Wyandottes are also reliable layers throughout the year, producing approximately 200 large, brown eggs a year.
Wyandottes are known for having strong and sometimes loud personalities. They have plenty of energy and are talkative while still being calm and laid-back birds. However, they rank relatively highly in the pecking order of a mixed flock and won’t be bossed around by other birds. This can mean that they tend to stick with other Wyandottes when in a mixed flock. Despite this tendency in their demeanour, they are good family birds, but aren’t likely to be as tameable as other family friendly dual-purpose breeds such as the Sussex.
While this breed can tolerate confinement, they flourish in environments where they can free-range and forage form worms and bugs to supplement their diet. Their thick plumage keeps them nice and warm during cold weather, making them particularly cold climate hardy. However, this can lead to them overheating in hotter climates, so it’s important to ensure they have ample shade and water. Finally, Wyandottes frequently go broody and make wonderful mothers should you choose to hatch your own chicks.