The Wyandotte: an American Original

It all started in New York State in the 1870's.  No one is really sure who first crossed the Sebright bantam with a cochin, but it is thought these first efforts took place in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of upstate New York.  The purpose was to create a good dual purpose  American fowl that was also handsome enough to excell in the show ring. Some say that the Wyandotte is named after the indigenous American peoples that inhabited that part of North America.  I've also read, in an obscure volume on poultry husbandry, that the Wyandotte might have been named after the ship owned by the breeder's father.  Whether his father's ship plied the waters of Lake Erie or one of the Finger Lakes is unknown.  I'm fairly confident I'll never know the real story behind the bird's name. Regardless, we're fortunate the breed was developed and has been faithfully kept true to the standard all these years.

The first color variety was the silver laced, which sported beautiful white feathers, each individually laced with crisp black.  Because of it's beauty and utility, the Wyandotte's popularity quickly spread to other states, where new colors were developed.  The first of these was the golden laced variety which hailed from Wisconsin.  By the early 20th century, the standard included eight color varieties, although the silver laced still proved to be the most popular.

As a backyard utility fowl, the Wyandotte can't be beat.  They are friendly birds that don't mind being held (for that occasional inspection), and are prolific layers of medium sized brown eggs.  They enjoy foraging on their own, but will also do well in confinement.  For the backyard breeder, the Wyandotte hen makes an excellent mother, occasionally going broody. The hens of this breed will lay from 150 to 200 eggs a year unitl they start to slow down after about three years.

The Wyandotte brings with it an authentic bit of American history, a nice supply of delicious fresh eggs and a personality to warm your heart. Regardless of why you might want to keep them, a small flock of these American "originals" will cut a handsome picture as they forage their way across a green lawn.