Silver Laced Wyandotte standing

The Silver Laced Wyandotte: A Comprehensive Care Guide

The Silver Laced Wyandotte is an American chicken breed and an all-rounder for the backyard chicken coop.

They are dual purpose birds with origins dating as far back as the 1870s making them one of the oldest types of chickens in the world.

Silver Laced Wyandottes are easily identified by their double laced feather pattern that is more pronounced in the hens compared to the roosters.

As one of the most beautiful and popular chicken breeds for the urban coop, let’s discuss their personality, egg production, and general health so you can decide if the Wyandotte is right for your backyard flock.

The origins of the Silver Laced Wyandotte can be attributed to four men, namely, H.M. Doubleday, John Ray, Fred Houdlette, and L. Whittaker. Their goal was to develop a bird that would provide the average American family of four with meat and eggs while proving economical to feed.

The chicken had to be well-feathered to contend with the frigid winters of the North, hence the dense feathering of the original Wyandotte that has remained an important part of the breed.

Both rose comb and single comb varieties were created in 1883; however, the American Standard of Perfection accepted the rose comb for the Wyandotte chicken as these flat combs were less prone to frostbite in the cold winter months.

Here’s a nice video on the Silver Laced Wyandotte as a breed

An overview of the Silver Laced Wyandotte

While there is no clear description of exactly which chicken breeds were part of the Wyandotte’s origins, historical records show that a large Sebright rooster is part of the Wyandotte ancestry. It is further believed that Dark Brahmas, Silver Spangled Hamburgs, and possibly Polish fowl helped to produce the exquisitely laced bird.

FACT

The breed’s name, Wyandotte, was created in honor of the Wyandot Native American tribe who assisted the early settlers across New York and Canada.

Ironically, founder Fred Houdlette’s boat was also called the Wyandot with many believing that the American breed was actually named after the vessel.

The most popular Wyandotte color varieties are the silver and gold laced but many people are confused as to which of these colors was developed first.

Well, in the 1860s, the Silver Laced Wyandotte was the first to be developed in Upstate New York and the Gold Laced Wyandotte was considered the second variety that appeared in Wisconsin around the same period.

NOTE

The Wyandotte was listed as recovering by the Livestock Conservancy in 2015.

Fortunately, it was only a year later, in 2016, that they were removed from the conservancy list and today they enjoy immense popularity as backyard and show chickens.

Wyandottes are undoubtedly beautiful birds and have many features that are desired by avid poultry keepers from their egg laying to their appearance.

In the following chapter, we learn more about their unique feather pattern and the breed standard of the Silver Laced Wyandotte.

Breed Standard

Wyandottes have a broad, round body and a full breast creating a compact shape. The head is large and both the hens and roosters have bright red rose combs, wattles, and earlobes.

They do not have a single comb as this was rejected by the American Standard of Perfection because it didn’t suit the cold weather.

The beak is a yellow or horn color while their eyes are orange to reddish bay. This breed has featherless yellow legs and four toes on each foot.

If we compare the gold to the silver variety, the Golden Laced Wyandotte has gold to orange feather color and well-defined black lacing. The Silver Laced Wyandotte should have light silver and white feathers with black lacing.

Silver laced wyandotte standing in a herd
Pictured: The Silver Laced Wyandotte

The feather pattern is more noticeable on the beautiful hens in this chicken breed compared to the roosters. Hens will be covered in lacing from their heads to their tails.

The males have laced plumage across their chests and abdomen with partial cover on the wings. In most breeds, the roosters are showier than the hens but not with Wyandottes!

For the small backyard chicken coop limited in space, Wyandotte bantams are available in virtually every color from silver to partridge.

They are also considered easy to handle so you get all the beauty and grace of the breed in a tiny package!

Weight

Wyandottes are heavy birds with the hens weighing 6-7 lbs and the roosters 8-9 lbs.

Wyandotte bantams are much lighter with little bantam roosters reaching 40 oz and females 36 oz.

Both hens and roosters cannot exceed 10-20% of their weight for show purposes

Both hens and roosters cannot exceed 10-20% of their weight for show purposes as it affects the judges’ scoring of the chicken.

Colors

The American Poultry Association recognizes the following colors in the Wyandotte Chicken:

  • Silver Laced – 1883
  • Golden Laced – 1888
  • The Buff, Black, and Partridge Wyandotte – 1893
  • Silver Penciled – 1902
  • Buff Columbian – 1905
  • Blue – 1977

The Poultry Club of Great Britain recognizes colors such as the Barred, Buff-Laced, Blue Laced Red, and the White Wyandotte in addition to the colors accepted by the APA.

The PCGB accepted the White Wyandotte as they made great utility birds in the UK providing eggs and light-skinned meat.

While the white variety is not as popular as the laced types, they are still available as dual purpose chickens across the UK. In the US, Wyandottes are better known as exhibition birds.

Silver Laced Wyandotte in a cage
Two Silver Laced Wyandottes in a cage (1)

The Entente Europene or EE is a European Breeders Organization of poultry, rabbits, cage-birds, and more, and they accept 30 color varieties including the silver and golden laced, silver penciled, partridge, red, barred, blue, and black.

How to Sex Silver Laced Wyandotte Chicks

An SLW chick is easiest to sex at around 6 weeks of age when the red combs become prominent in the cockerels and remain small and pink in the pullets. The tails of the males are also slower to feather in compared to the females.

If you’re picking straight run chicks, remember that they are not sexed so there’s a chance you could end up with all cockerels.

FACT

Some Wyandotte roosters may display hen feathering making it harder to sex.

Hen feathering is an uncommon feather oddity in which the males develop female plumage and is most common in the Sebright Bantam.

When Do Silver Laced Wyandottes Start Laying?

You can expect egg laying to start at 18 weeks for this breed. There are many poultry keepers who claim that their Wyandottes only started laying at 22 weeks of age. They are good layers and produce eggs that are large in size.

How Often Do Silver Laced Wyandotte Chickens Lay Eggs?

The Wyandotte chicken will lay up to 200 eggs per year and she will continue to lay through the winter months. The bantam hens will also give you between 150-200 eggs per year.

What Color Eggs Do Silver Laced Wyandotte Chickens Lay?

The Silver Laced Wyandotte lays a brown egg color that can vary from light to medium brown eggs.

Six eggs in colors going from dark brown to white
Silver Laced Wyandotte eggs tend to be towards the middle two colors

Their eggs may start as medium sized when they first lay but they will eventually increase in size after a year to two years of age.

Are Silver Laced Wyandottes Broody?

Yes, these chickens can become broody at least once or twice a year but it also depends on the strain.

Some chickens may have strong broodiness while others seem to never go broody. If you’re thinking of using the Silver Laced Wyandotte to hatch eggs then it all depends on your individual chicken!

Silver Laced Wyandotte hens are very protective of their chicks and will chase other birds that come near their brood.

Is The Silver Laced Wyandotte a Good Meat Bird?

Owing to their large size and heaviness, the Wyandotte chicken is a good meat bird.

They take a long time to mature and are only ready for slaughter at 8 months. Other breeds such as the Rhode Island Red mature at 4 months but will have tougher meat compared to Wyandottes.

Personality

The Silver Laced Wyandotte is a docile bird that is easy to handle but they also have a bit of a bossy streak that can lead to other birds being bullied.

If you want to add them to a mixed flock, keep an eye out for dominant traits such as pecking and chasing that cause distress to other hens.

You will find that the Wyandotte tends to keep to themselves rather than stick to other chickens when free ranging in the yard.

The Wyandotte breed is considered independent and will forage for seeds and grubs all day long. They are not energetic chickens and prefer to go about the coop or yard at their own, slow pace.

Are Wyandotte Chickens Aggressive?

Wyandotte chickens are not considered aggressive but they will stand their ground to improve their ranking in the pecking order.

Close up of a wyandotte chick
They can be pretty defensive of their chicks as well

You may notice a peck at another bird which is a natural way to let them know who’s in charge but feather pulling and biting of other girls shouldn’t be tolerated in the coop. It causes stress and can lead to serious injuries.

Noise Levels

The Silver Laced Wyandotte is not a very noisy bird but she will call out once she’s laid an egg and she does like to talk to you for the better part of the day.

They don’t like being in confinement for too long and you’ll notice that they start to pace and whine if they aren’t allowed to free range.

Lice and Mites

As densely feathered chickens, the Wyandotte will be susceptible to lice and mite infestations. These external parasites like to feed on healthy feathers so signs of bedraggled plumage, constant scratching, and lethargy may indicate pests.

If you suspect that your Wyandotte is affected by parasites, check around the vent area where lice and mites like to hide. Apply poultry dust every 4 weeks to get rid of these pests.

Cold Hardiness

This cold hardy chicken was developed for harsh winters and low temperatures. Their rose combs, thick plumage, and short legs give them perfect cold tolerance in frost and snow.

They should be provided a dry coop to protect them against heavy rainfall. Wyandotte chickens should not get soaked because they can chill and die very quickly.

Silver laced wyandotte at the entrance of a coop
Make sure they have the right coop space and shelter (2)

Despite them doing so well in cold weather, they need help to withstand hot climates. Give them enough shade and access to cool water and they should be fine.

Coop Setup

The Silver Laced Wyandotte is a large breed and because of their dominant traits, they need a fair amount of space to be happy and comfortable.

Around 15 square feet of coop space per bird is recommended for the Wyandotte breed especially if they are housed with other chickens.

Their weight makes them prone to leg injuries which they sustain when jumping off high perches. Keep their roosts low to the ground so they can jump on and off without a problem.

Lifespan

The Silver Laced Wyandotte has a natural lifespan of 6-12 years.

Is the Silver Laced Wyandotte the Right Breed for You?

The Silver Laced Wyandotte is a cold hardy breed that is ideal for the homesteader or backyard coop provided they have enough space to forage.

These chickens are good at laying eggs and will produce a brown egg, size medium to large.

Their friendly and curious nature makes them good with children who are often fascinated by their beautiful color.

Silver laced wyandottes in a barn
Two Wyandottes in a coop

The hens don’t mind being handled and will usually follow their keepers and chat to them especially with treats in hand.

They are not suited to first-time chicken keepers because of their temperamental nature and difficulty raising them with some other breeds.

Wyandottes do need a fair amount of coop space and prefer to free range where they can forage for bugs and seeds.

Conclusion

The Silver Laced Wyandotte is the one breed with a beautifully defined double laced feather pattern that is more prominent in the hens than in the roosters.

Their colors include the gold laced, blue, buff, and partridge and they can lay eggs through the winter when your other chickens take some time off their laying cycle.

Bossy Breed

When you introduce the Wyandotte to your chicken coop, be mindful of their flockmates.

They can be a tad bossy and will usually stick to their own kind which might distress timid or flighty breeds. Even the larger chickens with a gentle nature such as the Brahma can be intimidated by the Wyandotte.

Friendly Feathers

They are, however, very friendly chickens that are quite brave and they don’t allow other animals including the pet dog or cat to intimidate them.

Being so relaxed when out in the yard, could make them easy targets for predators so keep an eye out or give them a secure run where they can safely forage.

If you’re interested in Wyandotte chickens for your backyard coop or you want to enlighten your fellow chicken hobbyists about the breed, please share our Wyandotte guide with them.

We hope that you’ve enjoyed reading about this wonderful chicken and that you’re looking forward to making them a part of your home.

(1) Silver Laced Wyandotte by Michel Curi – licensed under CC BY 2.0
(2) Wind in the Willows – Toad Hall – Ralph Court Gardens – Wyandotte Chickens by Elliott Brown – licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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Jess Woods
Jess Woods
Founder of Chickens & You. I love raising chickens and creating a self sustainable homestead for my family. I like to spend my time writing and teaching skills for homesteading and self sufficient living. 🐓 👩‍🌾