Wyandotte Chicken – Breed Profile & Facts
The Wyandotte chicken is among the most prominent chicken breeds in the world, especially in the US. This hardy, dual-purpose breed has been popular since the end of the 1800s. The breeders behind this breed were looking for a breed that could withstand the cold northern winters.
This beautiful and fairly large bird will catch your eye thanks to its dazzling plumage. Poultry farmers keep this chicken for its yellow-skinned meat and brown eggs.
What is a Wyandotte Chicken?
It’s an American chicken breed that became popular in the poultry world in the late 1880s. The chicken breed derives its name from the ancient Wyandot people from Northern America. Wyandotte chickens are dual-purpose chickens.
Chicken raisers keep them for their tasty yellow-skinned meat and large brown eggs. The Wyandotte chicken is a popular ornamental bird with dozens of color variants.
It’s the original version of the American Sebright. Four American breeders were the minds behind the breed in the late 1880s. The four breeders are L. Whittaker, Fred Houdlette, John Ray and H.M. Doubleday.
Although the origin of the Wyandotte chicken is somewhat a mystery, poultry experts urge that the breed is a crossbreed of the dark Brahmas and silver-spangled Hamburgs.
Wyandotte Chicken Characteristics
The Wyandotte chicken is a relatively large breed with a rounded and compact body. Wyandotte chickens have full, deep, and well-rounded breasts. Although these birds have medium-length bodies, their bodies are quite wide. They have clean legs, broad skulls with rose combs, and are fairly close-feathered.
Their shanks and skins are all yellow, while ear-lobes, wattles, and faces are red. Wyandotte chickens have small wattles and combs, which protect them against frostbite, making them some of the cold-resistant chickens to raise in cold northern climates.
These chickens come in various color variants, including golden laced, partridge, Columbian, blue, and silver penciled.
– Size & Weight
The Wyandotte chicken is a fluffy and large breed. Wyandotte roosters weigh between 8 and 9 lb., making them excellent for meat production. Hens weigh between 6 and 7 lb., but they are bigger than hens from the standard chicken breeds despite being smaller than Wyandotte roosters.
The Wyandotte chicken is overly a docile, friendly, and calm bird. Its lovely temperament makes it an awesome backyard chicken. Whereas the bird is relatively large, it can tolerate being pushed by other birds around the coop. Therefore, it’s best for chicken owners to separate their Wyandotte chickens from other aggressive birds that cause trouble in the cage.
Wyandotte chickens thrive in confinement, although the birds still love free-ranging. They are avid hunters of seeds and bugs. Although these chickens have a good temperament, some of them have strong personalities, making some chicken farmers assume the birds are aloof. Again, these chickens are friendly, although not cuddly.
Wyandotte chickens can live between 2 and 12 years, much longer than the average chicken breed. Because of their hefty coverings, these chickens can live for many years, especially in cold climates. Nonetheless, these chickens may not live long in warmer temperatures if their owners don’t provide them with cool water and shade.
Also, some Wyandotte chickens may not live beyond five years because of diseases and predation. Overall, these chickens’ lifespan depends on their overall well-being and diet.
– Egg Production
Wyandotte chickens are wonderful layers, capable of laying around 200 medium-sized or large brown eggs annually. Wyandotte hens lay about four eggs weekly. They have a motherly instinct, so they are efficient mothers. Hens are also highly protective of their offspring.
They usually attack other birds if they get too close to their baby chickens. Moreover, hens have a good brooding instinct.
The other factor making Wyandotte chickens wonderful layers is that they can lay throughout the harsh winter months. Other breeds seem to stop egg production during wintertime. Young Wyandotte pullets start laying when they are between six and eight months old.
Like other chicken breeds, egg production in Wyandotte chickens declines as they age. That’s why pullets will lay consistently but lay fewer eggs as they age.
– Meat Production
Wyandotte chickens are awesome egg producers. These chickens, especially roosters, are also wonderful birds for the table. Although chicken keepers don’t specifically keep these chickens for meat, some won’t hesitate to add them to their meat flock. Their bulkiness means that they can provide large quantities of yellow-skinned meat.
Wyandotte chickens also mature quickly compared to standard breeds. Thus, the birds are ready for the table within a couple of months after hatching. Hens are strictly for egg production, although they are large enough to be decent meat producers.
Wyandotte Chicken Care
Wyandotte chickens are some of the easiest birds to raise because they have fewer care requirements than average breeds. Since these birds are cold hardy and somewhat disease-resistant, they don’t have specific care needs. It’s easy to keep them in confinement and free range.
Wyandotte chickens still have their care needs like other birds. This detailed Wyandotte chicken care outline will be instrumental in helping you care for your Wyandotte chickens.
– Feeding & Nutrition
Wyandotte chickens love free-ranging and they will meet their nutritional requirements from the many food items they pick up while foraging. However, keeping these birds in the free range is only possible if you have a spacious yard where chickens can hunt bugs, worms, and insects or peck on plant material.
Try feeding your Wyandotte chickens a commercial feed containing about 16% protein content in their early days. Wyandotte baby chicks need additional protein from what they get in the regular starter feed. It would help if you started feeding your chicks a higher protein content than the protein in the standard starter feed.
Wyandotte chickens need more protein during molting. Consider increasing the protein your birds consume to about 20% during the molting season.
Because these chickens have heavier and fluffy feathering than other chickens, they require more protein during molting than other breeds with lighter feathering. Your Wyandotte chickens can get additional protein during their molting process from food sources like mealworms, seeds, cooked eggs, and fishmeal.
Because Wyandotte chickens are layers, hens need a substantive amount of protein in their diet. While hens are capable of laying during wintertime, a protein deficiency can suppress egg production, prompting them to cease laying. A protein-rich layer feed is hence essential for pullets and older Wyandotte hens.
Wyandotte chickens also love indulging in fruits and vegetables. These chickens love eating greens like kale, chard, and spinach. These vegetables are refreshing to Wyandotte chickens and rich in nutrients and crucial minerals.
Furthermore, vegetables are full of potent antioxidants that help Wyandotte chickens overcome diseases by combating the free radical cells that cause infections in chickens, including Wyandotte chickens.
Fruits are also beneficial for Wyandotte chickens because they have a refreshing effect in hot weather. Fruits like ripe mangoes, berries, and melons have plenty of water, which helps your Wyandotte chickens remain hydrated.
The other benefit of fruits for Wyandotte chickens is that they have loads of vitamins, especially vitamin C which helps birds have a robust immune system.
Wyandotte chickens also need a moderate amount of carbs to help them maintain high energy levels. Chickens, including Wyandotte chickens, generate lots of heat while burning carbs in their bodies, so carb-rich food items like grains and cereals can help your Wyandotte chickens stay warmer in the cold months.
However, too many carbs are unhealthy for your Wyandotte chickens because they can make them inactive and obese in the long run. Therefore, you must avoid giving too many carbs to your chickens to keep them healthy.
Wyandotte chickens are heavy drinkers, so these birds need water to beat heat stress. Dehydration is the leading killer of Wyandotte chickens, especially for chicken raisers raising these chickens in warmer climates.
Your Wyandotte chickens need to drink twice as much water as the amount of food they consume. Keep watering your Wyandotte chickens frequently to help them avoid dehydration and ensure they can digest their food.
Because Wyandotte chickens are fairly large compared to the average chickens, these chickens need to live in a larger chicken coop. Ideally, the best cage for your Wyandotte chickens should provide each bird with a minimum of 14 x14 inches of coop space. Therefore you need a larger coop if you are keeping several Wyandotte chickens.
Wyandotte chickens have trouble with hot weather because their thick plumage makes it impossible for the birds to lose heat during hot weather. Consequently, your coop should allow for ventilation to ensure the birds have an easier time beating heat stress.
If you keep several egg-laying Wyandotte chickens in the coop, it’s good to have sufficient laying boxes for the ladies. Hens are great layers, and because they tend to lay year-round, it’s best to have several laying boxes in the coop to ensure they don’t fight over laying boxes.
The best ratio of laying boxes should be one box for three hens. A limited number of nesting boxes will encourage the hens to lay on the floor, and you will need help collecting and cleaning the eggs.
Protection from predators is a vital part of rearing Wyandotte chickens. These chickens are highly vulnerable to possums, raccoons, rodents, cats, and dogs. These predators can sneak into the coop and steal your eggs or kill your Wyandotte chickens alongside their offspring.
Your cage should have a door that is strong enough to deter predators from opening it with ease. It should also have a covered run to protect your birds from predator birds. The chicken wire should be thick with tiny holes that don’t allow even the smallest predators to get to your Wyandotte chickens through the chicken wire.
Have enough roosts for your Wyandotte chickens because these chickens won’t feel comfortable and secure spending the night on the coop’s floor. Having roosts will help your chickens enjoy their sleep because the more they feel safe, the more they will enjoy their sleep.
– Health Problems
Wyandotte chickens are cold and disease-resistant fowl. Nonetheless, this American breed faces health problems like other fowl. For instance, your chickens can suffer from Salmonella if they eat contaminated food or drink contaminated water.
The worst part of Wyandotte chickens suffering from Salmonella is that the bacterial infection can wipe out an entire flock of hundreds of Wyandotte chickens within days.
Wyandotte chickens also stare at the risk of getting fowl cholera, especially when there are outbreaks of this disease near your chickens. Luckily, you can seek vaccination for your Wyandotte chickens to protect them against the deadly disease.
Parasites are also a health problem for Wyandotte chickens. External parasites like mites and lice are the biggest concern when raising Wyandotte chickens. These external parasites target the Wyandotte chickens because of their thick plumage, making it easy for the nasty parasites to hide in the feathers undetected.
Use pesticides to counter these external parasites before they drain your chickens off blood, ultimately making them anemic. Internal parasites like worms also affect Wyandotte chickens, making them susceptible to disease and further wrecking their digestive systems. Worming your Wyandotte chickens will help protect them from hookworms, tapeworms, and other internal parasites.
How Much do Wyandotte Chickens Cost?
Wyandotte baby chicks cost approximately $5 per chick. Hens cost between $15 and $20 per bird, while roosters cost below $15.
Are Wyandotte Chickens Good for Beginners?
Yes, they are good for beginner chicken raisers because they are friendly and easy to care for. They are also a good choice of breed for beginners searching for a non-aggressive breed.
Are Wyandotte Chickens Hardy?
Yes, they are. Wyandotte chickens are cold-hardy and thus ideal for colder regions. They are also disease-hardy compared to many breeds.
Can Wyandotte Chickens Fly?
No, these chickens don’t fly. First, they have large bodies that make it impossible to fly. They also have short and muscular wings that ensure they can’t fly away from their homes.
Tips on Keeping Wyandotte Chickens
- Have good housing conditions for your Wyandotte chickens
- Give your Wyandotte chickens a nutritious diet
- Ensure your Wyandotte chickens are safe from predators
- Protect your chickens from poultry diseases
- Give the best care possible to your Wyandotte chickens
The Wyandotte chicken is the classical American breed revered for being cold hardy, and a wonderful layer. This breed is suitable for novice and seasoned chicken raisers. Its beautiful plumage makes it a worthy bird to raise in any backyard. Furthermore, it is an excellent bird for yellow-skinned meat and brown eggs.