Wyandottes: The Breed
The ideal pullet
Wyandottes are a "dual purpose breed", that is to say they were originally bred to provide both meat and eggs. Typical of this type of bird they are categorised as a soft feathered heavy breed. They are known as "sitters" which means, unlike Mediterranean breeds, they will go broody and hatch their own eggs. They make excellent mothers.
The ideal cockerel
The Wyandotte is a medium size curvaceous bird. They are well feathered and their body should fit in a circle. Other breed characteristics are a rose comb and yellow legs. They lay well, both the bantam and large version are good layers - renown for laying well in winter. Wyandotte bantams usually lay surprisingly large eggs and the yolk is proportionally larger than eggs of large fowl or those bought in shops and their eggs are usually tinted.
Wyandottes are one of the most glamorous exhibition breeds but they are also an ideal 'first chicken'. Chickens can come in many shapes and sizes. Wyandottes come in both large (up to 15lb) and bantam (about third the size of the large);
The smaller size of bantams means that they need less space, do little damage to the garden and easier to handle - just right for children and beginners (or anyone else who just wants easy chickens) - but are still very productive; mine lay eggs up to 60g..
Wyandottes are friendly and easy to care for they are happy to free-range or live in a coop. Being clean-legged (feather-free legs and feet) they are stay looking good even in muddy conditions -which is very useful if keeping hens on less well-drained soils.
The ideal shape for a Wyandotte should relate to a circle and still be shapely
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