If you are looking for an elegant bird that is popular for backyard flocks, then you may have heard of a breed known as the Silver-Laced Wyandotte. This beautiful dual-purpose bird breed might be a good pick, but it’s still smart to know a little more about it.
Before you run to get a hen or a rooster, you better know the ins and outs of the Wyandotte. Our guide can help you make the best decision for your flock.
What is a Silver Laced Wyandotte?
The Wyandotte breed originates from New York, with Dark Brahmas and Silver Spangled Hamburgs as likely contributors to the gene. While it can be traced back to the 1870s after the Civil War, no one quite knows exactly how old this breed is.
Officially, the first Wyandottes were all Silver-Laced Wyandottes and they were first shown in the 1880s. Since then, they have been a proudly accepted bird breed according to the American Poultry Association.
What does a Silver Laced Wyandotte look like?
Silver Laced Wyandotte chickens are an elegant bird breed indeed! These gorgeous birds have bodies that are black with silver lacing, and heads that feature white heads. Their ears, comb, wattles, and faces are all bright red.
A well-bred Wyandotte will have short beaks with red eyes. Their beaks, legs, skin, and feet are all yellow. Their plumage, though, definitely makes them stand out in a crowd. This might be why people love to have them as show birds.
They have broad bodies and short necks, which is key to their meat production. Other variations of the Wyandotte breed include Gold-Laced Wyandottes and Partridge Wyandottes. Since 1977, you can also find Blue Wyandottes.
This is a breed that has a gorgeous, Brahma-like cream sheen to its feathers. A full comb also is part of their characteristics. They’re also known for their fluffiness. Overall, they are considered to be very pretty birds—perhaps one of the most beautiful breeds ever.
Note: You can also find this breed in a Bantam size that maxes out around 3 lbs when grown.
What other colors can Wyandottes come in?
Wyandottes are most commonly associated with the Silver Laced Wyandotte, but you can get them in a different color if you want to. The next most common is the Golden Laced Wyandotte, followed by white Wyandotte breeds, and Black-Laced SIlver Wyandottes.
If you are willing to do a little hunting around, you also may find rarer colors. Currently, the rarest of this breed are Blue Laced Reds. They, along with straight blue Wyandottes, can cost a pretty penny.
Where did Silver Laced Wyandottes come from?
This breed was developed in New York over a century ago. It became particularly popular as a heritage breed in parts of upstate New York and Canada. With that said, you can find them throughout the Northern United States.
What are Silver Laced Wyandotte personalities like?
Wyandottes are chickens that seem to know that they are awesome. They tend to be top of the pecking order when put among other chickens, and often can be somewhat “snooty” with other birds. They should be kept away from other breeds because they can get a bit mean.
With that said, they are best described as “standoffish.” Wyandottes like Wyandottes. They tolerate other chicken breeds as long as the others don’t get too aggressive or close to them.
However, they tend to be somewhat friendly with human keepers. While they are not lap chickens by any means, they won’t attack you. They may follow you around and cluck at you, just to give you a summary of their day.
Do Silver Laced Wyandottes make good pets?
While they do have an easygoing nature and an attractive appearance, they aren’t exactly the best pets to have. They are friendly, but they are still standoffish. They might follow you around, or they might not. It’s a gamble, but they are not that fun to have as pets.
They are nice, but they are not that nice. If you try to pick them up and put them in your lap, you will end up with an upset bird. You might even get pecked at. As a result, they may not be a good match for backyard flocks for families with young kids.
Are Silver Laced Wyandottes good egg layers?
If you are looking for a prolific hen, then you’re going to want to consider a Wyandotte. These birds are great for backyard flock owners who want to have a lot of eggs. A Wyandotte lays approximately 200 eggs per year.
They’re also known for laying a good-sized egg. Along with a decent egg size, you can expect to see medium eggs that tend to have a creamy flavor to them. They look appetizing and also have a feeling that you would expect from a heritage chicken breed.
Egg color can vary greatly with this breed. You can just expect them to be a light-to-rich brown in most cases. However, paler cream eggs can also happen. It depends on the bird.
Do Silver Laced Wyandottes get broody?
Yes, they do. This is a drawback of having a dependable egg layer like a Wyandotte. These lacy girls can get quite broody. When they do have chicks, they tend to be great mothers. A heat lamp is not necessary for these productive layers.
Are Silver Wyandottes good for meat?
Along with being some of the most strikingly beautiful chickens you’ll ever see, they also are an excellent choice for meat livestock. They are a heritage bird that can grow up to 8 pounds (for roosters) or 5 pounds (for hens).
Are Silver-Laced Wyandottes healthy birds?
For the most part, Wyandottes are fairly hardy birds that can handle a lot of different temperatures. They don’t get sick too often, so medical care is not something you have to worry about. They can live for 6 to 12 years on average.
These energetic birds do have one drawback. Due to the thickness of their plumage, they are more prone to mites and lice than your typical chicken. You will have to keep an eye on that and possibly even keep treatments on hand. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Another issue that you may have deals with the length of their feathers. Since they are so fluffy, they can occasionally end up with poop and grit stuck to their tail feathers. You might need to give them baths from time to time.
How should you house Silver-Laced Wyandottes?
Wyandottes are notorious for being able to handle colder climates with ease. They actually can handle snowy climates with minimal risk of frostbite. It’s the most winter-hardy of all breeds, so don’t worry too much about a snow day.
Warmer climates, though, can be a poor choice for these birds. Overheating is a possibility. If you live in a hot area, give them tons of shade and a regular source of cool water. Should you get hit with an extreme heat wave, keep them in a climate-controlled area.
With that said, housing a Wyandotte is simple. They can handle confinement like pros, and can do well with as little as four square feet per bird in the coop. Like most other egg laying breeds, they still do need some free-range space.
If you live in an area where there are high numbers of predators, make sure to keep these birds safe with a high fence. They are notorious for being unable to notice predators until it’s too late. Owning a rooster can offer a little extra protection against aerial predators, too.
How should you feed Wyandottes?
Wyandottes are quite energetic and tend to look for worms and grubs throughout the day. They love to free-range and are adept at it. With that said, they still should have a little feeder and some oyster shells to peck at throughout the day.
Wyandottes, particularly chicks, do best on a high-protein diet. The healthier the diet, the better your chickens will feel and the more eggs they will lay.
Are Silver-Laced Wyandottes good for backyard flocks?
While they may not be the best choice for pets, they are a fairly good choice for people that want to tend to a backyard flock. These birds are quiet and keep to themselves, so you aren’t likely to get many noise complaints from neighbors.
Since they are fairly healthy birds, you also get the ability to enjoy chicken ownership without having too much to worry about in terms of medical care. This bird breed is also good for beginner to intermediate chicken keepers.
Are Silver-Laced Wyandottes good show birds?
Yes, but there’s a caveat to be aware of. This is a chicken breed that can be a total showstopper, but certain birds can also be total nightmares to bring to the show. You need to take this on a case-by-case basis depending on the bird’s unique personality.
Wyandottes are known for getting awards in almost every farm show they are entered into. They are a 4H favorite. They are gorgeous and are natural showstoppers. Their plumage is highly regarded and they are easy to care for in terms of show breeds.
However, they do have a major issue you need to be aware of.
Wyandotte chickens, whether they’re buff, Silver-Laced, or any other color, can get very skittish around other chickens. As a result, being in shows surrounded by other birds can make them act out or even get aggressive. This can put a cramp in your showing experience.
How much do Silver-Laced Wyandottes cost?
This all depends on the breeder that you buy the chicks from. Most of the time, you should expect to pay between $5 to $20 per chick. The more chicks you buy, the lower the price usually is.
If you choose to buy a Silver-Laced Wyandotte for a show, you need to be aware that you will pay extra money for it. Breeders may need to do a lot more work for a show bird. Moreover, show birds are not always the most prolific egg layers.
Like with many breeds, you may have to choose between spectacular show quality and prolific egg laying. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide what you are going to be using these birds for.
Should you get a Wyandotte?
Wyandottes are a great heritage breed for people who want to have farm-fresh eggs, or who want to grow birds for their meat. They also do fairly well when it comes to 4H-style shows, so you can also use them for that purpose too.
While they are very low-maintenance and aren’t prone to health problems, the one purpose they don’t always do well with is being a pet. They’re just not that type of bird. So, if you wanted a pet, this may not be the right choice for you.
A person who has a soft spot for beautiful plumage is going to fall in love with the Silver-Laced Wyandotte. These birds are the true gems of Upstate New York and are absolutely dazzling in shows.
But, they aren’t just pretty faces. They are dual-purpose birds that are ideal for egg laying and meat production, even if they aren’t the best pets. If you are a person who loves the idea of having a gorgeous bird that can provide for you, this is a great breed to choose.