Wyandotte Chickens: Size and Broodiness

All About Wyandotte Chickens

Wyandotte Chickens

Wyandotte chickens are an extremely popular backyard breed of chicken and for good reason.  The name “Wyandotte” comes from a Native American Tribe who lived primarily in upstate New York and Ontario, Canada.  Not only do these birds come in a wide variety of beautiful plumage variations, but they’re one of the best dual-purpose breeds available to small-scale farmers.

Where do wyandotte chickens come from?

The true origin of the Wyandotte breed isn’t confirmed, but many think they came from a cross between Dark Brahmas and Spangled Hamburgs.  Silver Laced Wyandottes were the first to make it into the American Standard of Perfection in the year 1883.  Since then, many plumage patterns have arisen out of various crossings with other breeds.  Some of these variations include: the Partridge Wyandottes, Columbian Wyandottes, Black Laced Red Wyandottes, Buff Laced Wyandottes and many more.

What size are wyandotte chickens?

wyandotte chickens
Gold Laced Wyandottes have a striking coloration!

Wyandottes are pretty big birds, but their overall body size is rather compact despite their average weight.  Males weigh usually around 8.5 pounds with hens averaging out at about 6.5 pounds. They are clean-legged birds who sport a beautiful rose comb on top of their heads.  They have yellow skin, shanks, and ear-lobes, with a red face and wattles.

With their larger size and adequate laying ability of light brown eggs (~200 a year), Wyandottes are one of the more versatile and efficient breeds for backyard farming.  Their hardy, larger bodies also allow them to still lay effectively into the colder winter months.  To go along with their larger bodies, these birds mature rather fast, meaning they don’t cost a lot of money to raise for their meat.  If you’re looking for a docile and friendly breed to provide you with plenty of eggs as well as substantial meat, this breed is one of the best options available.  Their typically docile and friendly nature make them a go-to choice for novice and first time bird raisers. With the extravagant and wide ranging plumage patterns, some owners also raise Wyandottes as exhibition birds!

Are wyandotte chickens broody?

These birds are also a bit gregarious, which is why some owners love them and some don’t.  If you live in a compact neighborhood with close neighbors, you should maybe speak with your neighbors before introducing a flock of wyandotte chickens.  They will also be great mothers and can effectively forage to either supplement their diet, protect your garden, or both!  Sometimes they can be a little too eager to go broody, which can cause problems for you, especially if you’re trying to maintain a laying flock.  It’s always good to know ways to break a broody hen, should you need to do so.  Another great aspect of this breed is their adaptability.  While like most breeds Wyandotte chickens prefer some room to roam, they are more adaptable to confined spaces that other breeds of the same size.

What is the wyandotte chicken’s conservation status?

The Wyandotte breed was actually quite recently considered endangered until 2016 when they graduated from the Livestock Conservancy’s priority list.  A major contributor to this are the conservation breeders and raisers who have taken action to raise this amazing breed.  Also, top-tier hatcheries such as Cackle Hatchery and Hoover’s Hatchery produce the heritage wyandotte chicken varieties, and distribute them to pastured poultry farmers and backyard chicken owners all over the country.  Despite their recent “pomp and circumstance,” it’s never too late to jump on board the conservation train and keep the breed flourishing the way it should by raising your very own flock of Wyandotte chickens.

Where to buy wyandotte chickens and chicks?

The wyandotte chicken has grown in popularity over recent years as the trends of backyard chickens and pasture raised poultry have boomed.  There are many websites that offer them for sale and can ship them (assuming you have an order that meets the necessary minimums).  However, more and more local farms are offering the chicks or the started pullets for sale.  One thing we are working on at eFowl is a directory of local farms and hatcheries that are not national-scale hatcheries, but rather provide chicks to the immediate markets. (If you have a farm or hatchery and would like to be a part of this, get in touch!)  Finding a local source for chicks rather than ordering from national-scale hatcheries is beneficial for a number of reasons –

  • You do not have to stress day-old chicks by shipping them. – The only viable time to ship live poultry is when it is a day-old chick, or past the juvenile phase.  This is because the chick retains nutrients and hydration from the egg incubation process, and is able to travel for a few days before needing a high intake of water and feed.  Thus, if you can avoid the need to ship chicks by locating a local farm or hatchery, you do not have to risk the birds excessively during the transportation process.
  • Livestock raised locally is more accustomed to regional flora and faunas. – Do you ever travel to a different part of the world, or a different region within the US and start to feel run down or even sick?  This can be because the local flora and fauna is foriegn, and your body is not accustomed to it.  The same thing can hap
    wyandotte chickens
    Wyandottes like this silver laced variety are excellent foragers.

    pen with livestock.  Buying locally reduces the need to transport biological organisms across long distances, and can yield better overall health and wellness.

  • Supporting local farmers and producers facilitates a vibrant local agricultural economy. – As sustainable agriculture and pasture raised poultry boom, more and more individuals are returning to America’s agrarian roots and joining in the local food revolution.  It is important that pasture raised poultry farming be equitable, profitable, and fulfilling for both the producer and the consumer.  What better way to facilitate this than to seek out a local farmer and purchase from her or him?

Does eFowl sell wyandotte chickens?

eFowl does not directly sell any live poultry.  We used to sell and dropship wyandotte chickens (along with hundreds of other heritage poultry breeds) to tens of thousands of customers all over the United States.  However, we do not sell wyandotte chickens (or any other live poultry) directly any longer.  Rather, our goal is to create an educational marketplace where we can show customers the purchasing options and help them make the best decisions when it comes to raising chickens for their farm or backyard.  The need for companies like eFowl to ship orders to customers is a thing of the past.  Rather, we need to help facilitate a vibrant pasture raised poultry ecosystem with thousands of farmers and producers participating.  This allows for farmers to supply food to their local economies.

Do you raise wyandotte chickens?

If you raise wyandotte chickens, first of all – THANKS!  That is awesome that you are contributing to conservation of heritage poultry breeds, and being a part of a food system revolution.  Why do you like or dislike the wyandotte chickens?  Do you have any tips or tricks that you’ve found to be especially helpful when raising this breed?

Let us know in the comments below.  Also, if you liked this article, PLEASE SHARE IT on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest!  This greatly helps us promote the agricultural values and ideals that eFowl stands for.  Thanks!

4 thoughts on “Wyandotte Chickens: Size and Broodiness

  1. Austin Johnson says:

    That is super cool. It is neat to see how hens will practice alloparenting like that. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Audrey Combs says:

    Our partriage wyandott’s have been the best mom’s. When diffrent young hens won’t care for her young we have our older hen partriage wyandott’s adopt the baby chicks and raise them as there own, even to hatch some for non broody breeds.

  3. Juanita says:

    We have had issue with our ladies and gents pecking each other. To an extreme. We have hens whose entire trunk is featherless. Any suggestions.

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