I have the amazingly beautiful and striking blue laced red Wyandotte. This is a beautifully marked American heritage bird. It was specifically bred in the United States to be a dual purpose bird providing eggs and meat for the table.
The original name of the breed was American Sebright but when the bird was accepted by the American Poultry Association (APA) in 1883, the name was changed to Wyandotte to honor the Wyandotte Indian Nation for the help and aid they had given to the first white settlers of the area. They were accepted into the American class under Large Fowl & Bantam. Officially recognized varieties include the Silver Laced, Golden Laced, White, Black, Buff, Partridge, Silver Penciled, Columbian, and Blue. Unofficial varieties are Blue Laced Red, Barred & others.
My blue laced red Wyandotte is from the Foley line. They have very crisp blue lacing on a true red background. I strive to breed and continue the APA general standards and proposed standards specific to the blue laced red Wyandotte breed. Although this color is not a currently recognized with the American Poultry Association, they are working on being so. In the interim, these beautiful birds can be shown as under the All Other Variety until the breed color is accepted by the APA.
Wyandottes are excellent layers of approximately 4 medium to large sized, tan/peach colored eggs per week or 200+ per year. The Wyandotte is a good winter layer. The hens have a strong brooding instinct and make excellent mothers. My eggs are a beautiful rich tan/peach color.
Wyandotte’s tolerate confinement well but of course also enjoy free ranging The Wyandotte has a rose comb and are cold tolerant. They are somewhat slow to mature and feather out. They average 8+ months before they start laying. Their prolific laying rate makes them worth the wait.
The Wyandotte is a friendly and gentle breed with a calm, docile temperament. They do well with children, making them an excellent choice for a family flock or 4H project.
The beautiful Blue Laced Red Wyandotte is relatively rare in the many varieties of recognized Wyandottes. A dedicated group of breeders are working diligently on the perfection standards. It is anticipated they will be submitted to the American Poultry Association for approval in the near future.
As noted above, the Wyandotte is a friendly and gentle breed. They are known to be ‘talkative’ and sometimes described as noisy. Although a gentle breed they are usually fairly high in the pecking order. They usually don’t put up with any nonsense from other hens but also do not bully the other hens. This makes them an excellent addition to a mixed flock.
Wyandottes lay approximately 4 medium to large, tan/peach eggs per week. They make good mothers and are not especially prone to broodiness. They will usually accept any eggs placed under them for hatching. A very useful trait if you want to raise your own birds.
Chicks are typically mottled dark brown, black, and blue with some tan markings, but the splash chicks may come out in lighter shades of blue and red to silvery blue and buff. You can get an idea of what shade of blue your chicks will end up with from the down color. Dark chicks are the dark blue, chicks a shade or two lighter will generally be the mid-color, and the palest chicks normally come out with nearly white lacing. They are lively and busy right from the start!
The Wyandotte is a large, heavy bird with roosters weighing around 8-9 pounds and hens 6-7 pounds. They are excellent meat for the table.
Characteristics of the Wyandotte should follow the currently establish standard for all Wyandottes per the American Poultry Association.
The Wyandotte has a deep, full breast with a broad back and frame. The body is broad and deep with a gentle ’U’’ shape, supported by short, stout legs.
The body of a male, when viewed in profile, should be somewhat heart-shaped. The head and tail about the same height, with the breast broad and full, and the tail standing erect, but with a full, rounded shape. The back should be of medium length, but curve into both the back and tail, forming a broad U-shape. The legs should be centered directly under the bird, yellow shanks, and the hocks in full view. Viewed from the front, the legs should be well spread and heavy in bone. Females should have a slight cushion. The back appears to be somewhat short, as if the tail starts almost immediately behind the hackles, but this is due to the feathering characteristics of Wyandottes, which is softer and looser than other breeds, and not to the bird actually having a short back. The head is somewhat broad with a rose comb. Wings are carried level with and held closely against the body. The overall body shape should be smooth and uniform.
Wyandottes have yellow skin and legs. The legs are stout and well-spaced to hold the heavy frame of the bird, legs are clean with no feathering. There are 4 toes to each foot.
Wyandottes face, wattles, comb and earlobes are all red and the beak is horn/yellowish in color tending towards a darker color.
They have a rose comb set close to the head fairly flat with small rounded points. These are smaller in the female.
The eyes are deep set and reddish bay almost orange in color.
The neck hackles of the cock are full and flowing and the tail is carried at a 40 degree angle.
Wyandottes have really good feather covering which makes them hardy in the colder climates. In the warmer areas they require shade and cool water.
They are not good flyers.
The Wyandotte chicken in general can suffer from a low fertility rate. This is apparently linked to the rose comb gene. Occasionally a single comb bird will surface in the hatch. Keeping the single comb for breeding can be very beneficial to the genetic health of the flock by increasing the fertility rates. It has been recommended to use a single combed rooster in a flock, rather than use single combed hens, as the rooster will throw less chicks with single combs than vice versa. Thus single combs are not bad when considering breeding genetics. Single combed birds won't be eligble for showing.
Wyandotte Color Genetics:
The blue laced red feathers of the blue laced red Wyandotte is something of a rarity. There is a lot of evidence that the blue laced color was developed in the United States then made popular in Germany.
Blue Laced Red Wyandottes feathers should be a mahogany red outlined by a thin edging of blue. Feathers should not be double or have Andalusian lacing (light blue outlined in darker blue). Due to the genetics of the Andalusian Blue gene, Blue Laced Reds come in three colors: dark blue (kind of a charcoal color), blue, and splash (very light blue to whitish).
Here is a very simplistic ‘breakdown’ of the components of the Blue Laced Red Wyandotte.
Red Firstly, the ‘Red’ color needs to be a mahogany red – no other red is acceptable for the base coating. Red is a dominant color gene. There are two types of melanin: eumelanine and pheomelanine. Eumelanine gives black and pheomelanine gives yellow/red (called gold). If you add red enhancing genes to the pheomelanine, you will get the deeper mahogany of Rhode Island Reds which is the required base coat for the Blue Laced Red Wyandotte.
Lacing Lacing is the narrow contrasting band along the edge of the feather. Lacing comes from the genetic makeup of the bird. Generations of breeders have worked hard to get the lacing perfect. Even so, following a molt, the lacing can be ‘smudged’ on a few feathers – this is usually caused by environmental factors such as sudden temperature changes.
Blue The blue laced red Wyandotte has the Andalusian blue gene. This is a diluting gene, which is an incomplete dominant. You only need one copy of the Andalusian Blue to make blue. Blue Laced Red Wyandottes have the genetic coding to produce three different color offspring.
The Blue: Which is more of a charcoal grey color. The Splash: The blue feathers are replaced by a white/pale grey. The Black: These birds have red feathers with black lacing. They look similar to a Gold Laced Wyandotte but the red in the feathers should be a rich mahogany.
The following indicates the proportions you will get when breeding the different colors of blue laced red wyandottes: Blue X Blue = 50% Blue , 25% Black , 25% Splash Blue X Splash = 50% Blue , 50% Splash Blue X Black = 50% Blue, 50% Splash X Black = 100% Blue Black X Black = 100% Black Splash X Splash = 100% Splash
Breeding for body and color perfection is time consuming and exacting.
The Wyandotte has the distinction of being the first American breed specifically bred to be dual purpose. The emergence of the Wyandotte breed can be credited to four people: Fred Houdlette, John Ray, L.Whittaker and H.M. Doubleday. These fellows set out to create an American dual purpose hen, something that was lacking in the early 1870s.
The very first Wyandotte was a Silver Laced variety created in upstate New York in the 1860s. The second variety was the Gold laced Wyandotte, created in Wisconsin, also in the 1860s. Their origins are uncertain but the Wyandottes are thought to have been developed from the Dark Brahma and Spangled Hamburgs, as well as other breeds.
The Wyandotte is a beautiful and useful breed. They were originally named the American Sebright but when the bird was accepted by the American Poultry Association (APA) in 1883, the name was changed to Wyandotte. The name change was to honor the Native American Wyandotte Nation (also known as Hurons), prevalent in parts of upstate New York and Ontario, Canada for their help and aid given to the first white settlers of the area. They have no direct historical association with the tribe. Other colors followed:
1883 – silver laced
1888 – gold laced
1893 – black, buff, partridge
1902 – silver penciled
1905 – Colombian
1977 – Blue
Bantam Wyandottes were admitted to the standard in1933. They are difficult to find but there are some dedicated breeders out there.
Since the development of the Silver Lace, many other varieties of Wyandottes have also been bred with the Blue Laced Red being one of the most recent.
The History of Blue Laced Red Wyandottes:
Many sources state the Blue Laced Red Wyandottes were created back in the late 1800s’ by a Mr Heidenbluth of Frankenburg, Saxony by crossing Gold Wyandottes (which no long exist) with Andalusian Blue. (In Germany the color is referred to as Gold Blue Laced.) However, there appears to be a document in existence that disputes this, stating that the Blue Laced Red Wyandotte was created here in the United States. Reading through this document, it would suggest that in fact much of the stock of Blue Laced Red Wyandottes originated in the United States and were shipped to the UK where they became very successful. It isn’t a giant leap to suppose that some of the stock imported into the UK was sent to Germany where further breeding and refinement of the bird continued.
Blue Laced Red Wyandottes became quite popular in Germany in the 1920’s and in 1929 over 100 birds were shown at the Poultry Show in Leipzig, Germany. It was admitted to the German Standard of Perfection in 1929.
Sometime after that the German stock was imported to England they finally made their way back to the United States in the 1980s’ thanks to Lowell Barber. This color is not yet recognized officially in the US, but is being worked on by several private breeders.
Famous for their docile disposition, the ability to lay in cold weather, and the utility value for the table use the Wyandotte chicken still remains popular today. Wyandottes have taken their place in the show ring. Being easy to handle, having a rose comb, and the existing many color varieties, have won the hearts of American poultry exhibitioners.
The Wyandotte graduated from The Livestock Conservancy's priority list in 2016 and is no longer considered endangered.