Silver Laced Wyandotte hen
Wyandottes are a true American breed of chickens developed in New York state in the early 1870s. They get their name from the Wyandotte Nation, but they have no direct historical association with the tribe. The original Wyandotte was the Silver Laced Wyandotte, which was first accepted into the Standard of Perfection in 1883. Other Wyandottes were developed from the Silver Laced by crossing it with other breeds.
The Silver Laced Wyandotte was first referred to as the American Sebright or Sebright Cochin. There is a bit of mystery as to the true origin of the Wyandotte, but the Silver Spangled Hamburg and the Dark Brahma was used to make this breed. White Wyandottes and Black Wyandottes were a result of sports produced from the Silver Laced Wyandottes. The Columbian Wyandotte was then produced by crossing a White Wyandotte with a Barred Plymouth Rock. The name Columbian comes from the Columbian Exposition/World’s Fair or Chicago Worlds Fair of 1893. The fair celebrated the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival to the Americas in 1492.
The Golden Laced Wyandotte originated in Wisconsin and was produced by mating Silver Laced Wyandotte females with a cross-bred Cochin-Brown Leghorn Cockerel, while the Buff Wyandotte was originally said to be a light colored Rhode Island Red. The original Buff lacked type and color, but they were the foundation of the Buff variety we have today.
The beautiful Partridge Wyandotte originated in the east and west parts of the United States. The Partridge Cochin was used for the color pattern of both the east and west strains. The eastern strain was crossed into the Buff Wyandotte and the western strain was crossed into Cornish/Buff Wyandotte crosses. The Silver Penciled Wyandotte also originated in the east and west parts of the U.S. and are a result of crossing a Partridge Wyandotte with the Dark Brahma. Another strain of the Silver Penciled Wyandotte was made by crossing the Silver Laced Wyandotte with a Silver Penciled Hamburg.
Today there are many more color varieties of Wyandotte, with the Blue Laced Red being one of the most recent. Famous for their docile disposition, the ability to lay in cold weather, and the utility value for table use still remain popular today. Wyandottes also have taken their place in the show ring. Being easy to handle, having a rose comb, and existing any many color varieties, have won the hearts of American poultry exhibitioners.
Qualities of the Wyandotte
Wyandottes are an excellent dual-purpose bird, which can be raised to produce both eggs and meat. They are particularly well-suited for regions that have cold winters.
Egg Laying — Wyandottes are good layers of light to rich brown eggs and are good winter layers.
Hardy — The rose comb, plumage, and good body size of the Wyandotte make it well suited to cold climates.
Temperament – Wyandottes are generally docile and friendly, but some individuals can be aggressive.
Adaptability – Wyandottes tolerate confinement well, and they are also good foragers, which makes them well suited for free ranging.
Silver Laced: The silver laced Wyandotte has white feathers with black edges to every feather, an effect called lacing. The tail is black and they should have yellow legs.
Golden Laced: The golden laced Wyandotte is a golden color with black around the edge of every feather and black tail.
Blue Laced Red: The blue laced red is a buff/red color with a blue that looks just like grey around the edge of every feather.
Buff Laced: The buff laced is buff but with white around the edge of the feathers.
White: The white is white all over. The whites are the rarest color.
Black: The black is black all over.
Buff: The buff is a buff color all over. A buff is like a ginger orange color.
Columbian: Columbian is white, but with a black tail, black wing tips and the neck is mainly black with some white.
Partridge: A red color but with three black stripes, meeting at the middle of the feather and then going outwards at an angle in the hen, and the cock looks like a typical farmyard cock.
Silver Pencilled: Like the partridge, but with a silver undercolor in the hen and the cock is a white color but with bits of black in there until the tail and the wing which are black.
Blue: The hen is blue all over but the cock is black with the tail and wing blue on some birds.
Barred: The barred, in both genders, has feathers which have black and white stripes across the width of the feather, all over the body.
Mille Fleur: The mille fleur Wyandotte is a dark brown color with black crescents with white spots on the tips.
Buff Columbian: Like the Columbian except buff.
Red: The red Wyandotte is a dark red/brown all over.
Adapted from Heritage Poultry Breeders Association of America – Breeders of rare and heritage poultry. http://www.hpbaa.com