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Ardchattan parish : Benderloch, Barcaldine, North connel, Bonawe - Past and Present
Kintaline 2016 : we still sell Muirfield Black Rocks but no longer have the old utility pure breeds - please enjoy our information. : Chickens : Utility breeds : Wyandotte
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The Wyandotte : Old dual purpose breed.
The Wyandotte is an American breed. Silver Laced Wyandottes were developed in New York State in the early 1870s and were admitted into the standard in 1883, these were the parent variety of the Wyandotte family. The other varieties accepted in the American Standard of Perfection are the Golden Laced, White, Black, Buff, Columbian, Partridge and Silver
There are at least 17 varieties~ the White was only utility strain in the UK, the others are pretty but not productive.
As you can see from this picture of two hens finishing off our dogs breakfast, they are very pretty, medium sized birds.
White Wyandottes were at one time famed for their productivity, vigour, and hardiness, but their popularity waned after the 2nd World War. White Wyandottes should lay large light brown eggs, and, good utility strains bred outside can have wonderful feathering, making superb, tough layers. However most British strains are soft fluffy feathered birds, and these lay less and need much more protection from the elements.
In the middle of the last century the hens used to be great winter layers and were a great choice for a hardy garden bird which gave plenty of eggs (around 200 a year - an exceptional bird may get up to 240) for a family with a gentle character. Sadly it is very hard to find birds of this type nowadays here.
The two pictures below show an old, 1920's strain which was a GREAT layer, and a modern utility bird, still capable of respectable egg numbers a year, and being a decent table bird - you can see the similarities between these and the differences between them and the exhibition types in the poster pictures further down this page.
What a good Utility Wyandotte should be like :-
Layers of good-sized brown eggs and reaching a weight in the males of 8 1/2 pounds, Wyandottes are good dual purpose birds, the boys being quite meaty.
The typical rose comb is low and tight to the head. The texture of the feathers is important in Wyandottes. This is especially true in the White Breed. Broad feathers and smooth fitting plumage are necessary to preserve the
characteristic of formed curved lines in the true Wyandotte.
They grow very quickly, and reach near full size around 15 weeks. They should come into lay around 25 weeks, and lay good sized eggs right away.
Most breeders of Wyandottes in the UK are either breeding for the standard - aspiring to the Breed Club excellence in form and feather, or are novices without the knowledge or capacity to select for eggs and meat. The former are to be respected and admired, but produce a very different bird. Sadly the latter mean that the breed is no longer as useful for the table as it was, and there are plenty of better layers.
It would be really good to see more people working to improve their flocks, culling birds that do not come up to scratch, working to get a meaty, well grown bird by 18 weeks, and pullets that lay over 200 eggs in their first year. There has to be still birds to work with, but it is hard work.
Pictures from old posters - these are exhibition birds not like our utility ones!!!!
Tim and Jill Bowis
Kintaline Mill Farm,
Benderloch, OBAN Argyll PA37 1QS Scotland
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