Which Bantams Lay Great Eggs?

Which Bantams Lay Great Eggs?

Oh, bantams, you infinitely cute and cuddly chickens. What is it about small that just turns our knees to jelly? Is it really just because they’re smaller? Or maybe it’s because they’re adorable AND they lay eggs? 

It could also be their attitudes. Most bantams are just the sweetest birds. They really are the perfect package of lovely – they’re irresistible!

If you’re like me, you’re probably going to find a few in your coop. You might never know how they get there, either. One day, you’ll just head out there and find the most adorable hen in with your other layers. Chicken math wins again.

It’s alright, of course, as you’ll fall in love with her, but the question is, if you’re actually planning on adding some bantam hens to your coop, should you spend time researching which variety to add? It couldn’t hurt!

Bantams are more than just a pretty face. They’re great at laying eggs, just like their larger cousins. In fact, you can get several eggs a week from one hen. As a bonus, she won’t eat as much! 

In this article, we’ll look at the top tier bantam eggers (whether they’re true bantams or not). True bantams are chickens whose breed has no regular-sized alternative. “True” bantams will be marked as such, in case anyone is interested. 

Araucanas

These South American birds are known for their blue eggs. They’re a very distinctive breed – they’re “rumpless” and have no tails to speak of.  They are friendly and come in a variety of colors. Like most other bantam varieties on this list, Araucana eggs are quite small. But they lay fairly abundantly – you can expect about 150 blue eggs per year. 

Frizzles

Frizzles are an odd addition to this list. Sure, they are generally excellent layers that can produce about 200 eggs per year. But what really sets them apart from most other chicken breeds on this list is they aren’t actually a breed. They’re a variation of a breed. Meaning, out of 2 parents, in any given clutch, some of the offspring will have frizzled feathers, and some won’t.

Frizzles are birds that have a quirky genetic disposition for feathers that curl outward, where most other chickens have feathers that lay flat against their bodies. They’re delightfully quirky looking as a result.

Two things to consider with these birds is that most frizzles are not cold hardy. Because their feathers do not sit flush, they are susceptible to chills in really cold weather. The other thing to keep in mind is that the number of eggs they produce will intimately reflect the tendencies of their base breed. If you have a Cochin frizzle, it will lay a solid 200 eggs per year, but if you have a Japanese bantam, you’ll get less than half that amount – about 75 max!

Polish Bantams

These funny looking characters are some of the friendliest chickens out there! The tufts on their head are actually extra feathers. While there’s a lot of Polish bantam varieties out there, I’m partial to Silver Laced. You can expect about 150 white eggs per year.

Dutch Bantam

These are another bantam variety that has the potential to add a rainbow of color to your flock. They originated in Holland. Their officially recognized colors are:

  • Partridge
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Lavender
  • Silver

These are really colorful birds. What’s more, Dutchies are true bantams! There is no larger equivalent. These are a special breed designed for their compact sizes and about 160 to 200 small cream-colored eggs each year. 

Barbu d’Uccle

In French, the name means “Beards of Uccle,” and their beards truly are a delight to run fingertips through. These are a newer variety of bantam chicken, but boy are they colorful! They come in:

  • Blue
  • Lavender
  • Mille fleur
  • Porcelain
  • Mottled
  • Black
  • White
  • Cuckoo

For eggs, each year, these lovely birds can deposit up to 200 cream-colored eggs to your collecting baskets.

Brahmas

While Brahmas are known as a large breed, there is a bantam variety. These chickens are amazingly sweet. For people with limited space, you’d be hard pressed to find a hen more ideally suited for urban environments and for cold weather. These little sweethearts are one of the best egg-laying bantams out there – at over 200 each year. An added bonus is the variety of colors that Brahmas come in. In addition to laying lots of eggs, your flock can be a rainbow of light, dark, buff, black, and white.

Cochins

Like Brahmas, Cochins are known for being a larger breed. But there is a bantam variety, and they’re some of the friendliest chickens out there! I really like my Cochin bantam hens, and recommend them to families with children. If anyone is looking for a sweet, docile breed that’s like toy poodle of the chicken world, Cochin bantams are it. As a bonus, each hen usually drops upwards of 200 brown eggs every year. They have feathered legs, and enjoy spending time with their humans.

Easter Eggers

No list about egg laying would be complete without mentioning Easter Eggers. With these birds, you can end up with a coop full of a rainbow of egg colors. Because Easter Eggers are mixed breed chickens, they can lay white, brown, cream, blue, green, or olive eggs. They’re not as friendly as other breeds on this list (in my experience, the Easter Egger bantams tend to be more flighty). But they make up for it with their eggs! You can expect about 200 eggs per year. The color will be dependent on the genetics of each individual chicken.

With the bantam options available, there are two things to keep in mind: the eggs will generally be small (with some possibly even being tiny), and the chickens will be adorable! I hope this list helps you to find the best layers for your number goals. 

Why Mille Fleur d’Uccle Chickens Are The Best Pets

Why Mille Fleur d’Uccle Chickens Are The Best Pets

Thought about adding Mille Fleur d’Uccle chickens to your flock? Not sure if they’re right for you? Read on, and discover this wonderful breed!

The Mille Fleur d’Uccle is a small bantam whose heart is massive. It is a chicken who loves affection – and reciprocates. Their speckled feathering is lovely, and captivates all who look upon them. Unlike other breeds, people buy Mille Fleurs as pets. They’re very quiet and love cuddles. They’re the perfect size for small children. If you add them to your flock, they’ll bring great big smiles to your family!

What Does “Mille Fleur d’Uccle” Mean?

The breed originated in Belgium, and the name “Mille Fleur d’Uccle” has French origins. Mille means “thousand”. Fleur means “flowers”/ De and the contractive form d’ mean “of/from”. Uccle is a region of Brussels where this breed originated. So, the chicken’s name translates to Million Flowers from Uccle. How adorable!

Where Do Mille Fleur d’Uccle Chickens Come From?

These birds have quite the origin story! In the late 1800s, a Dutch businessman living in Belgium, Michael Van Gelder, set out to create the greatest chicken breed. By 1905, he’d reached his goal when he premiered his new breed at a chicken show – the Mille Fleur d’Uccle bantam. Soon, it’s popularity spread over the continent and into the UK. The USA followed soon after. The American Poultry Association added the breed to the Standard of Perfection in 1914.

What Do Mille Fleur d’Uccle Look Like?

They’re adorable! Mille Fleurs live up to their names – their red feathers are tipped with white and black. It looks like they’re covered in a thousand little flowers! They have a muff and beard which extends all around the head. They have feathered shanks, and the feathering can be quite impressive! Female Mille Fleur d’Uccle have very small or non-existent wattles. Both males and females have a single comb.
Hens and roosters are about 1 – 2 pounds. They’re a true bantam chicken and their small size very much reflects this. There is no standard size for this breed. Because they’re so tiny, they’re more susceptible to predators (especially rats). Keep this in mind when choosing a coop for them!
If you read my article about how chickens mate, you might plan to coop your hens with other breeds. Remember, these hens can’t have large roosters mating with them. They’ll get squashed!
These birds do well in cold weather. But because they’re small, you should shelter them from extremely cold temperatures. Keep them in a warm coop that’s are not drafty. In the summer, be sure to keep them in the shade as much as possible.

Personalities

This breed is perfect for any flock. Owners everywhere love these birds for their remarkably docile temperaments. The hens are very quiet. They’re fantastic around children, and will allow your child to hold them. They do well in small chicken coops, and are great for urban flocks. The hens aren’t very broody.
They don’t fly often, if their coop is welcoming. But if necessary, they’re great fliers. Larger birds have too much mass for their wings to carry them. Bantams have a leaner body that’s more suited to flight than many birds. But you won’t have to clip their wings – they tend to be homebodies. They sometimes roost in higher locations, but usually just a few feet off the ground. You might find your hens prefer roosting on swings! 

Are There Any Other Varieties?

Technically, no. The Mille Fleur is a type of d’Uccle bantam. If you flip through a hatchery catalog, you’ll notice their cousins:
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Buff
  • Golden Neck
  • Grey
  • Mottled
  • Porcelain
  • Self-Blue
  • White
The Porcelain d’Uccles are popular as well.

Are They Good Egg Layers?

Mille Fleurs are fair layers, mostly kept for ornamental reasons, and not for egg production. Hens lay about 160 small cream-colored eggs per year. Provide a safe nesting area, and you can expect your hen to lay consistently when she’s old enough. Your pullets will start laying when they’re about 6 months old.
mille fleur chicken hen

Health Concerns

Because of their leg feathers, they are slightly more at risk for mites than other chickens. You should take steps to protect your flock from mites.

Here’s Where To Buy Mille Fleur d’Uccles

  • Meyer Hatchery in Polk, OH, offers them throughout the year.
  • Murray McMurray Hatchery in Webster City, IA, offer unsexed chicks throughout the year.
  • Hoover’s Hatchery in Rudd, IA, offer these chickens in minimum orders of 20 throughout the year.
  • Stromberg’s Chicks and Game Birds of Hackensack, MN, offers them throughout the year.
  • The Chick Hatchery in Lansing, MI, has availability from February through August.
  • From early February through mid-August, Cackle Hatchery offers chicks from their headquarters in Lebanon, MO.
  • Day-olds are available at My Pet Chicken based in Monroe, CT.
Bringing a Mille Fleur d’Uccle into your family is a great idea! They have fun personalities, and you’ll fall in love! (Not sure what to feed a bantam to keep them healthy? Read this article next!)
Frizzle Chickens: Buyer’s Guide & Care

Frizzle Chickens: Buyer’s Guide & Care

Looking back at the first time I ever learned about frizzle chickens, I remember I was REALLY excited to add these crazy looking creatures to my flock!

 

I finally added some this year, but learning about this particular breed has been a lesson in math.

 

You might ask: “what do math and chickens have in common?” On the surface, nothing really. (Unless we’re talking about chicken math, but I digress…..) 

 

If we follow the simplest equation of 2 or 3 hens in the same back yard, then you’ll likely get eggs. 

 

Put a rooster into the same coop, and then there will probably be chicks. 

 

Math and chickens really shouldn’t extend beyond that, but where Frizzle chickens are concerned, math becomes a far more important part of the equation than we might think! 

 

Today, we’re going to delve into just what makes a Frizzle so frizzley. 

 

We’re also going to be sure that we don’t let them Frazzle (because it is a thing!), and in the process, we’ll look at some other important details about this special chicken breed.

 

What Is A Frizzle Chicken?

Perhaps the most important thing to consider when discussing Frizzle chickens is the fact that the Frizzle isn’t one particular chicken breed. 

 

Instead, it is the result of careful or selective breeding and a whole lot of patience. Its defining feature is the curly feathers which makes these chickens reminiscent of a feather duster with a beak! 

 

They are very striking in appearance, but Frizzles take their genetic and shape cues from their originating breed (such as cochins or silkies). 

 

If, for example, you breed a Jersey Giant chicken with Frizzle genetics, it would big a big floofy critter with all the size and mass of the Jersey Giant (not that it is a very common occurrence.) 

 

Indeed, it appears to be a purely speculative breed. But this would hold true in theory! 

 

Just as with their baseline variety, Frizzle chickens can come in a wide variety of colors ranging from black, blue, buff, white Columbian like the Wyandotte, duckwing, black-red, brown-red, cuckoo, pyle, spangle as in the Old English Game and red as in Rhode Island Red.

 

Temperament is another area that Frizzle chickens are generally pretty consistent with. They are a friendly and lovable bird that are delightful to have in any backyard flock. 

 

So if you’re willing to add a Frizzle to your collection, here is everything you need to know about this curly chicken breed.

 

What Is Frizzling?

Frizzling is what happens when a chicken feather curls upwards and outwards from the body, and it’s a mutation resulting in imbalances in the genetic pool. 

 

Most chicken feathers lay flat against the body, but frizzling is special – it creates a very distinct-looking bird that some say resembles a muppet. 

 

It is the result of an “mf” gene which, if present, will result in your chick taking on either a normal-feathered chick or one that sports that “Frizzle look”.

 

Keeping track of which chicks have the gene is a very important task, as it is only through the mating of a Frizzle with normal-feathered fowl that results in the Frizzles that you are looking for. 

 

And herein lies the math that could potentially be so irritating (keeping really good records is a must!)

 

The outcome of the matings can result in three distinct varieties of chicken: 

  • Two of which are wonderful and a delight, but the last of which… well, that’s something that is best avoided. 
  • If you mate one Frizzle with another Frizzle, there is a 25% chance that the result will be something called a Frazzle

 

Frazzles are almost too delicate for their own good, and indeed, their feathers are almost brittle to the touch; Frazzles often suffer bald spots where the feathers have broken away. 

 

Not good because feathers play an important part in maintaining body temperature!

 

For these and other reasons, including heart and other physical issues that often prevent Frazzles from living to maturity, Frazzles are best avoided. 

 

When I first started researching Frizzle chickens, I spoke with various breeders who have experience breeding these creatures.

 

My friend Katie at Itty Bitty Chicken Farm in South Carolina told me it’s very critical to only mate a normal feathered chicken with a Frizzle (and to avoid a Frizzle/Frizzle mating at all costs.)

 

If you decide you want to hatch Frizzle chicks, here’s what you need to know:

 

Normal x frizzle = 50% frizzle, 50% normal
Frizzle x frizzle = 50% frizzle, 25% normal, 25% frazzle

 

While the science isn’t overly complex, good note-taking and controlled breeding is important to ensure all your chicks get the chance to live healthy lives. 

 

Luckily, the genetic chance of getting a Frazzle isn’t too hard to remember. 

 

What is most important is exercising care and caution with your birds, so that the Frizzles you’re looking for are the best quality bird that you can develop. 

cochin frizzle chicken on white

What chicken breeds have Frizzles? 

Common Frizzle bantam breeds:

  • Cochins
  • Silkies
  • Orpingtons (Buff, Lavender, etc)
  • Plymouth Rocks
  • Japanese Bantams
  • Polish Bantams

 

Cochin

Cochin chickens are one of the most popular breeds among beginners because they’re hardy, lay brown eggs consistently, and enjoy human company. 

 

Both the full-sized cochin and the bantam variety have been known to produce Frizzle variations. The standard sized cochins have big and beautiful bodies that can weigh in at about 5 pounds and have an abundance of fancy soft feathers. 

 

They are gentle giants that are easy to handle, and this temperament makes them great pets for families while also making them great foster moms for hatching and brooding. The bantam variety weighs about 2 pounds, and is exceptionally friendly. 

 

They are common in black, white, and red varieties. You can read more about cochins here.

 

Plymouth Rock

A dual-purpose bird that is one of America’s oldest chicken breeds, the Plymouth Rock is an excellent egg layer. 

 

This breed also has a distinct black and white bar plumage, which is a beautiful addition to any Frizzle flock. Both roosters and hens are generally calm, and these birds get along well with everyone. 

 

The roosters are good protectors for their flocks, and aren’t aggressive towards people. They’re curious and generally will prefer to free range and find morsels in the yard, although they do tolerate confinement well.

 

They come in the standard colors: Barred, Blue, Buff, Colombian, Partridge, Silver Penciled, and White. You can read more about Plymouth Rock chickens here.

 

Silkies

Silkies are a special, fully-bantam variety of chicken that are almost perfect for a Frizzle. Their legs are completely covered in feathers, so if you get one of these Frizzled up, you’ll have a feathery friend whose unique curvy feathers stretch from toe to top! 

 

A Frizzle silkie chicken is an adorable sight to behold!

 

With their super-soft plumage and easy-going temperaments, these beauties make for wonderful pets. Other details that make these birds such oddities (as far as other chickens are concerned) are their black skin and bones, blue earlobes, and feet covered in five toes each. 

 

If you don’t want to have your Silkies lounge about as pets, they can average at about 150 eggs a year, which makes for a sizeable contribution to the pantry.

 

They come in black, blue, buff, white, partridge, splash and gray varieties. You can read more about silkie chickens here.

 

Japanese Bantam

Japanese bantams are known in some parts of the world by another name: Chabo. Whatever their name, they got their start in the Land of the Rising Sun, and are a true bantam breed. 

 

These birds are distinctive for their upright tails that often stick up higher than the peaks of their combs! These beautiful birds are mostly decorative, as their small stature isn’t ideal for meals, and they only produce about 75 eggs per year. 

 

These fuzzy babies are born to strut the catwalk! 

 

Japanese Bantam Frizzles come in all the standard colors: black-tailed white, black, mottled, black-tailed buff, and gray. You can read more about bantams here.

 

Polish Bantams

Another show bird is the Polish Bantam. These sweet birds were originally developed as egg-raisers who can produce a solid 200 eggs each year! However, their primary function soon went to the wayside because of their telltale crest of curly feathers that engulf their heads. 

 

These crests have made them distinctive enough for chicken lovers around the world to covet them for their visual appeal. They are sweet – and oftentimes quirky or flighty owing to poor vision resulting from their crests – chickens whose unique qualities make them ideally-suited for a Frizzley offspring. 

 

The colors for the Polish Bantam Frizzle run the whole list, and as it is a show bird, the list is vast: white crested black, golden, silver, white, buff laced, white-crested blue. And then there are also the bearded and non-bearded varieties as well as the unrecognized varieties, too! 

 

You can read more about Polish bantams here.

 

Orpingtons

Originating in the UK, the Orpington is the quintessential chicken breed whose round body and distinctive buff coloring is often envisioned when one thinks of chickens. 

 

These chickens are hardy and rugged, and are ideal for confinement or small yards (like are most common on the small islands of Great Britain). These birds are consistent egg-layers, grow rapidly, and make for a tasty 2- to 3- pound bird. 

 

Although there have been sightings of all varieties of Orpington Frizzles (including black, blue, white, and the unrecognized splash and lavender), the buff variety is by far the most common.

 

You can read more about Orpington chickens here.

 

Is it a Frizzle rooster or hen?

So, how do you tell the males and females apart? Just like other chickens, there’s some easy and not so easy ways to tell frizzle hens from roosters:

  • Roosters will have redder combs/wattles earlier (about 4 – 8 weeks old)
  • Roosters will have longer tail feathers
  • Roosters will crow! (starting anywhere from 3 days old to 16 weeks)

You can read more about how to sex a baby chick here.

 

frizzle rooster and hen

 

Additional Frizzle Facts

Do Frizzles lay eggs?

Yes, frizzle chicken breeds do lay eggs, however, some breeds produce more than others. The amount of eggs laid will depend on the breed – for example, Cochin frizzles will produce about 200 eggs a year, while Japanense bantam frizzles will only lay about 75. 

 

What color eggs do Frizzles lay?

The color is dependent upon the root breed of the Frizzle. Cochins and Buff Orpingtons lay brown eggs, while Silkies lay white eggs. If you have a frizzle Easter Egger, than who knows what color eggs she’ll lay!

 

Are Frizzle Chickens good egg layers?

Across the board, the Frizzle chicken breeds are gentle and good layers, though some breeds produce a sizable quantity more than others. 

 

Can you breed Frizzle to Frizzle? Can you breed two Frizzle chickens?

Technically, you can, but with a one in four chance that it will produce a Frazzle, the practice is discouraged. Frazzles have feathers that are so brittle that they often break off the birds’ bodies and leave unsightly bald spots, making them more susceptible to cold in winter. These Frazzles also suffer a number of other health risks like organ problems. If you’re looking for your Frizzles to enjoy a long healthy life, it is best to breed them to non-Frizzles. 

 

Are Frizzle Chickens cold hardy?

While some breeds of the Frizzles are more cold-hardy than others, all Frizzles suffer one drawback. Because their feathers turn upwards, they cannot seal the heat the way their feathers are supposed to. As a result of this, they have a hard time creating an air buffer between their bodies and the outside air. In colder months and wet weather, pay special attention to their comfort, just in case they can’t keep as warm as the other non-Frizzles in your coops. 

 

Do fancy chickens lay eggs?

Yes. All of the Frizzle Chicken breeds lay eggs, and if you’ve decided to add these birds to your flock for eggs, you’re in luck! Keep in mind, however, that some breeds, like the Cochin and the Orpington, are better at producing a strong supply than, say, the Japanese bantam. The Japanese bantam do not particularly excel at laying eggs, and a yearly yield maxes out at about 75.

 

Where do frizzle chickens come from?

Records of the birds go back as far as the 1600s! Charles Darwin, the famed British evolutionary, made mention of them as being predominantly from India. He called them “Caffie Fowl.” Officially, there is no record (in English, at least) of where these birds came from, however, all details point to Asia, maybe China or the East Indies. 

 

Are all Frizzles Bantams?

No. At least one breed, Cochins, have varieties that are standard-sized. Generally speaking, though, most Frizzles are bantams. 

 

Is the frizzle gene dominant?

Yes, the frizzle gene is dominant and 50% of the offspring will at least have one frizzle gene and one normal gene, though the mixture of the flock does not always produce 50% Frizzle feathered chickens and 50% non-Frizzles. 

 

Are Frizzle roosters and hens friendly to raise?

Yes! While your experience will depend on the individual chicken, most Frizzles are extremely friendly, especially if you give them lots of treats!

 

Coops for Frizzles

 

What size coops do Frizzle Chickens Need?

Because most Frizzle Chickens are bantams, most advice relating to their homes overlap with rules for bantams. Providing them with perches for them to hang out will help keep them happy and content. As far as their coop space is concerned, about 1 to 2 square feet per bird is ideal. This is a little more than half as much as a full-sized chicken requires. 

 

Common Health Issues

As with any other chicken, Frizzles are not immune to their environments, and are susceptible to lice, mites, worms, and other parasites. To help boost their immune systems and beat the bugs, feed apple cider vinegar and crushed garlic daily. You can learn more about my favorite herbs for deterring mites here.

 

Where can you buy Frizzle Chickens?

One of the biggest problems with ordering your Frizzles is getting them to actually be Frizzles. If you buy day-old chicks in advance, there is no guarantee that they will be, and a dozen purchased might result in only six being Frizzles, or you could luck out and find the whole dozen frilled and foofy! Keep such in mind as you plan to acquire your chickens: buying mature, or at least semi-mature birds are more likely to actually be Frizzles. 

 

As far as where to order your chickens:

  • My Pet Chicken has a variety of Frizzles including day-olds. 
  • Meyer Hatchery, based in Ohio, might not immediately have stock, but they have a handy breeding schedule that you can use to help arrange to get the latest additions to your family. 
  • Strombergs’ Chicks and Game Birds, based in Pine River, MN, offers some Red Frizzle Cochin bantams.
  • Purely Poultry, based in Fremont, WI, offers Frizzle Cochin Bantams. 

 

The most important thing is to choose a high-quality hatchery that’s also close to you, so your new pets don’t spend forever in the mail.

 

You might have difficulty finding the colors of Frizzles that match your vision, so it might be best to contact a qualified breeder and discuss color possibilities with them. 

 

Most Frizzle chickens should cost just a little over $5.00, which is a small amount more than some other breeds. The increase price is a result of the need for handlers to plan them carefully.

Cackle Hatchery Review & Buyer’s Guide

Cackle Hatchery Review & Buyer’s Guide

On one cold, January morning, I received my catalog from Cackle Hatchery, and something stirred in me…..it was time to order baby chicks!

 

A lot of people who read this blog are just getting into backyard chickens, and aren’t really sure how or where to buy their fluffy butts. OR sometimes readers want a specific breed (which was my situation) and the only place to purchase those chicks are from a hatchery.

 

As a blog owner, my goal is to inform you, and help you raise your flock so they’re healthy. And that starts with getting quality chickens from a reliable source!

 

So, this article will tell you my experience purchasing chicks from Cackle Hatchery, and what you should know as a consumer so you get healthy chicks that’ll grow into happy layers.

 

After getting their latest catalog and happily thumbing through it, I decided it was time to bulk up my bantam stock here on the farm, as well as my colored egg layers.

 

I’ve purchased from Cackle Hatchery in the past (probably 2 years ago, when I got my Brahma hens and Jersey Giants – they’re still alive and healthy), and had a good experience. This supplier is also 4 hours from my farm, so the babies (in theory) wouldn’t have to go far to reach my home.

 

Read on, and discover my experience with Cackle Hatchery!

 

My Buying Experience

First, understand that this is just MY experience. Your mileage may vary, and this certainly isn’t the first (or last) time I’ve ordered from Cackle.

 

The Cackle Hatchery website is super easy to navigate. I had a hard time tearing myself away from the ducklings and turkey poults, but I headed over to the egg layer section of their website.

 

I knew the breeds I wanted: Speckled Sussex hens (I owned some before, and SUPER intelligent chickens), Silkies, Mille Fleur d’Uccle, Easter Egger bantams, Porcelain d’Uccles, and Black Copper Marans hens (I wanted some chocolate egg layers).

 

For this review, I purchased:

  • 10 Silkie Bantams (non-sexed, hatchery choice)
  • 5 Speckled Sussex Females
  • 5 Black Copper Marans Females
  • 5 Mille Fleur d’Uccles (non-sexed)
  • 5 Porcelain d’Uccles (non-sexed)
  • 5 Easter Egger Bantams (non-sexed)

 

I wanted some rare breeds from Cackle Hatchery, which is why I chose the Mille Fleur d’Uccles and Porcelain d’Uccles.

 

Remember that most suppliers, Cackle Hatchery included, don’t offer the option to purchase either male or female bantams. It’s harder to sex these chickens because they’re smaller, and the room for error is much larger. (You can learn how to sex chicks here).

 

So, I knew purchasing the Silkies, Mille Fleur d’Uccles, and Porcelain d’Uccles is a crap shoot. I’m fine with that. If you can’t have roosters in your area, though, it’s something to consider.

 

Placing my order was easy, and I feel the prices are fair (especially shipping. It only cost me about $25 for expedited shipping, although your mileage may vary).

 

All in all, my order cost $200, which included the shipping. I was happy with this cost.

 

Choosing a Shipping Date

Cackle Hatchery doesn’t have a system per se that allows you to choose a shipping date. Other hatcheries I’ve ordered from provide a list of dates, and you click a radio button to choose a specific date.

 

Cackle requests you put your desired dates in a text box, which was a little confusing at first. So, I put something to the effect of:

 

“Please ship the chicks during the end of May/beginning of July.”

 

Why this time frame? Because it’s warm enough so I won’t need a heat lamp in my cabin (where baby poultry live until they can go into a coop. You can find good chicken coop plans here), and not SO hot that the trip here will be miserable.

 

The folks at Cackle Hatchery ended up choosing the actual ship date: May 29, 2019.

 

In theory, I was fine with that. In practice, I wasn’t super thrilled: I didn’t realize the chicks would be shipped on a Wednesday for a Friday delivery because of Memorial Day (May 27, 2019).

 

Why is this a problem? Well, it only takes one dodo at the Post Office to mess up, and my fluffy butts spend the weekend in a cold building with no food, courtesy of the United States Postal Service.

 

We live in a remote area where mail CAN take an extra day to get to us. So, even though the Post Office guarantees a certain delivery date, sometimes, we get our mail a day later.

 

So, I would have preferred the babies to ship from Cackle Hatchery on a Monday or Tuesday. (In hindsight, I could have put that on my shipping directions, but it didn’t occur to me at the time – so, it’s something you should take into consideration. I’ll be doing it next time).

 

You might have a stronger stomach for these things, but I don’t! I worry about the chicks every step of the way.

 

Receiving My Order From Cackle Hatchery

As the shipping date approached, I notified my mail carrier that I’d be getting baby chicks, and asked her to tell me if they would spend an extra day at the post office before delivery (so I could pick them up early).

 

We know the post office staff here on a personal level, and they’re just as concerned for the safety of the animals.

 

When my bantams and full sized chickens shipped, I received an email notification from Cackle Hatchery AND the Post Office (I signed up for text alerts so I could monitor their journey).

 

It took 2 days for the package to get to my area, and on May 31, the chicks arrived! (By the way, US Post Office, that was the dumbest route EVER: Lebanon, MO → Kansas City, MO → St. Louis, MO → Cape Girardeau, MO → My local area).

 

My mail carrier texted me, and we agreed I would pick the package up at my local post office (rather than being delivered to the house) so I could get them into their brooder ASAP.

 

I wanted the chicks as fast as possible, and my mail carrier didn’t want to listen to chirping all day. I get it.

 

The box had a lot of air holes, was very securely taped, and had stickers informing the postal workers that there were live animals inside the box (in case the loud chirping wasn’t obvious). I was pleased to see a sticker that directed mail handlers to keep the chicks out of extreme cold and heat.

 

So, it’s obvious Cackle Hatchery does its best to ensure a safe arrival.

 

How Did The Chicks Fair On Their Journey From Cackle Hatchery?

I resisted the urge to peek into the box until the chickens were home. There was LOTS of loud chirping, which is a good sign.

 

Angry chicks = healthy chicks! What you DON’T want to hear is silence.

 

I’d already prepared the brooders, feeders, and waterers, so after I opened the box, did a head count, and checked for any casualties, everyone was ready to get into their new homes!

 

All the little ones arrived safely – there were no DOA. I’d call that a successful ship!

 

They were split into 2 different areas of the box, and they were wiggling, and ready to get out.

 

I was really pleased with my purchase!

 

Cackle Hatchery included 4 extra chicks to account for casualties, including 1 extra Speckled Sussex, and 3 others I can’t yet identify (a lot of chicken breeds look similar when young. However, they’re definitely bantam breeds).

 

We obviously had chick starter ready, and added apple cider vinegar to their waterers to help them establish good gut flora. (You can learn about the best chicken waterers here.)

 

But Are They Healthy?

The Black Copper Marans, Silkies, and Speckled Sussex in particular seemed (and still seem) very healthy. A good sign is when the chicks immediately begin seeking food and water, and they were VERY ready to feast!

 

The Mille Fleur d’Uccles and particularly the Porcelain d’Uccles seemed stressed and very confused, which isn’t a good sign.

 

As I opened the box, I noted that the Porcelain d’Uccles already were hunched, chirping loudly, and closing their eyes.

 

They were quickly put into their brooders and introduced to food and water, and given space and time to settle (sometimes, it’s just the shipping process that can cause stress, and when they realize they’re safe, they snap out of it).

 

As of writing this review, we lost 1 Mille Fleur d’Uccle and 3 of the Porcelain d’Uccles which I’m REALLY not pleased with (so, there’s only 2 Porcelain d’Uccles remaining from my original order) within 48 hours of receiving our order from Cackle Hatchery.

 

(Note: They do ask you to call in case of casualties within a 48 hour time frame so they can help you out. Because our chicks arrived on a Friday, I had to wait until Monday to call).

 

However, we haven’t lost any of the other Mille Fleurs, and they seem very eager to eat, interact with their clutch mates, and enjoy life.

 

It’s normal to lose some chicks, but the Porcelain d’Uccles seemed to struggle from the moment I opened the box from Cackle Hatchery (I inspect them before putting them into their brooder to check for heat stress, etc).

 

At the time, I wasn’t sure if it was stress or a health issue, but since the other chicks are doing well, I can’t really say why the Porcelain d’Uccles didn’t make it.

 

However, losing 4 out of about 40 chicks is pretty much to be expected, and I’m happy with the health of the remaining flock.

 

The box arrived with a free coop sign, a very useful pamphlet about how to care for my new pets, some stickers (which my kids loved), and a safety flier about avoiding salmonella, directions for washing hands after handling poultry, etc.

 

Would I Buy From Cackle Hatchery Again?

Would I order from Cackle Hatchery again? YES.

 

I think they’re a good quality supplier, and the Porcelain d’Uccles notwithstanding, the hatch I got arrived alive, and with most of the chicks in good health.

 

I got the breeds I ordered, and extras in case some chicks didn’t make it.

 

Their ordering process was straight forward, the poultry was reasonably priced, and the shipping process as simple and fast as possible.

 

If you’re a reader who wants to order from a hatchery, I’d recommend this one.

 

However, I think next year, I’ll drive out to Cackle Hatchery to pick up my order!

Wyandotte Chickens: Buyer’s Guide

Wyandotte Chickens: Buyer’s Guide

If you want a truly beautiful hen in your flock, you can’t go wrong with a Wyandotte chicken. With their intricately laced feathers and easy-going personalities, they’re the perfect addition to any backyard flock.

 

We have a few of these hens in our coop, and they not only are fun to look at, they lay large brown eggs. We’ve even hatched a few chicks – and even the barnyard mixes (aka mutts) had the delicate laced pattern on their feathers.

 

In this article, you’ll discover everything you need to know about Wyandotte chickens, including:

  • How to feed them
  • The different varieties
  • What their personalities are like
  • Where to buy them

 

Buckle up and get ready to be WOWED by the Wyandotte!

 

Wyandotte Chicken Personalities

Are Wyandotte Chickens Friendly?

Yes! This chicken breed is very friendly and loves to interact with humans. It’s always best to spend time with your flock when they’re chicks so they learn to recognize you as their friend – as they grow into adults, they’ll enjoy spending time with you more.

 

The roosters aren’t aggressive, and the hens don’t “go broody” – and they’re always cheerful! All in all, they make great pets! You can learn more about how to raise friendly chickens here.


In a flock, they get along with other chickens. Wyandotte chickens are bred to be friendly and docile so they typically aren’t bullies and will easily fit into most backyard flocks without drama.

 

Are Wyandottes Aggressive?

Not normally. When the roosters are about 1 year old, they occasionally can become a bit aggressive as they “feel their oats” and the hormones kick in. However, like most roosters, they’ll mellow out after the first year. The hens are always friendly, and since they don’t “go broody,” you can expect them to not undergo any personality changes during breeding season (spring and summer).

 

All About Wyandotte Chicken Eggs

Wyandotte chicken egg color: Light brown or cream

 

Wyandottes make great layers, and you’ll enjoy about 280 brown eggs a year. If you add plenty of shavings and herbs to her nesting box – and offer high protein treats and calcium – your flock will bless you with breakfast about 4 times a week! If you notice your Wyandotte laying egg shells that are weak (meaning, they break easily), offer her more oyster shells to increase her calcium intake.

 

How Big Are Wyandotte Eggs?

Wyandottes are medium-sized chickens (about the size of a Buff Orpington, but smaller than a Jersey Giant), but they lay nice, large eggs. Unlike bantams, you can expect a Wyandotte’s egg to be the same size as a grocery store egg – but since you can feed your chickens a healthy diet, her eggs will probably be better than store-bought!

 

What Color Eggs Do Silver Laced Wyandotte Chickens Lay?

Silver Laced Wyandotte egg color: Light brown or cream colored.

 

Silver Laced Wyandotte chickens lay large, light brown eggs. Some would call the color of her eggs a “cream” or “latte” color – either way, they’re large enough to make a nice omelette AND they look beautiful! (Note that the golden laced wyandotte egg color is the same – a light brown or cream color).

 

Are Columbian Wyandotte Good Egg Layers?

Like all other Wyandotte chickens, the Columbian variety is a great layer of light brown eggs.

 

How Long Do Wyandotte Chickens Lay Eggs?

Wyandotte chickens will likely give you eggs until she’s 3 years old. Most hens lay consistently from 9 months old until about 3 years old. After 3 years, she might still produce eggs, but it’ll probably be less frequently. However, there are some champion layers who will consistently give you eggs their whole life. To keep your hen in good shape, it’s best to feed her a diet of 16% protein layer feed and also offer high protein treats and lots of calcium.

 

How Old Are Wyandottes When They Start Laying?

The Wyandotte chicken usually starts laying eggs at 6 months old. The exception is if they turn 6 months in the dead of winter – then she might not start laying until the following spring. Most chickens need about 14 hours of light per day to start laying – without it, they don’t produce the necessary hormones. You might be able to prompt laying by adding a light to their coop and giving them some extra light before nightfall.

 

Do Wyandotte Chickens Go Broody?

Like any other chicken breed, it’ll depend on the individual chicken. On the whole, Wyandottes don’t go broody (meaning the hen wants to hatch eggs for chicks). Instead, they prefer to spend their time looking for bugs and other goodies in the dirt. If you want chicks from your hens, it’s probably best to incubate them. You can see the list of incubators we recommend here.

 

Wyandotte Chickens Breed Standard of Perfection

 

What do Wyandotte Chickens Look Like?

According to the Laced Wyandotte Club, this breed should sport these characteristics:

 

  • Personality: Graceful and docile
  • Back: Broad, ending in a full tail
  • Beak: Stout and well curved
  • Comb: Rose comb, should be red
  • Legs: Clean legs with 4 toes

 

While the exact color will depend on the variety, the laced versions have beautiful dual colored feathers – a main color (such as silver or gold), edged with black. Many people refer to the Golden Laced Wyandotte as a “black and gold chicken,” which is an accurate description.

 

The solid color Wyandottes (such as blue) will be a solid color.

 

They’re clean-legged birds, meaning they don’t have feathers on their legs. This breed also has rose combs, which give them a clean silhouette and graceful appearance.

 

Are Wyandotte Chickens Big?

While not the largest chicken breed, Wyandottes are fairly substantial with roosters weighing in at around 8 to 9 lbs and the hen at 6 to 7 lbs. This breed also comes in a bantam variety, which will be smaller – about 4 pounds. Although they’re smaller, bantams tend to be better for children, and are usually more willing to be held and cuddled.

 

What Colors Do Wyandotte Chickens Come In?

Wyandotte chicken colors include:

  • Black
  • Blue
  • Blue Laced Red
  • Blue partridge
  • Buff
  • Buff Laced
  • Columbian
  • Gold Laced
  • Partridge
  • Red
  • Silver Laced
  • Silver Pencilled
  • White

 

The Gold Laced and Silver Laced varieties are the most popular Wyandotte chickens. Recognized varieties include:

  • Silver Laced
  • Blue
  • Golden Laced
  • Black
  • Buff
  • White
  • Columbian
  • Partridge
  • Silver Penciled

 

Are Wyandottes Cold Hardy?

Yes, they are! Because of their full, fluffy feathers, Wyandotte chickens do well in cold weather. This is because they can “fluff” their feathers, which provides a buffer between them and the cold. However, you need to make sure you feed your flock a solid diet based around a 16% protein layer feed. They will also need a draft-free home that lets them stay warm and out of the elements.

 

Can Wyandotte Chickens Fly?

Wyandottes are moderate fliers, meaning they can fly up to a roosting bar, but aren’t likely to fly over tall fences. The hens especially prefer to stick close to their coops (and the roosters will stay wherever their hens are).

 

Are Wyandotte Chickens Noisy?

The roosters can be quite talkative, but the hens tend to be quiet and docile. You’ll probably notice your roosters being particularly noisy if there’s predators around, or if it’s spring and they want to breed. The hens are fairly low-key, and won’t bully each other too much – so you’re less likely to hear squawking out of them.

 

Different Wyandotte Varieties

What Does “Silver Laced” Or “Golden Laced” Mean?

“Silver Laced” and “Golden Laced” refers to the type of feathers on a Wyandotte – meaning, the feather is a solid color (such as gold) and edged in black. The effect makes the chicken’s feathers look like lace.

 

Silver Laced Wyandottes originated from crossing dark Brahmas with Silver Spangled Hamburgs – which gave them the fuller, large bodies and the silver laced feathers (you can see similar lacing on Sebright chickens). Silver laced Wyandotte roosters weigh about 6 pounds, while the hens weigh slightly less.

 

You can see similar lacing on the Partridge Wyandotte, although the Partridge feathers are much more intricate.

 

Golden Laced Wyandotte chickens were created by crossing silver-laced Wyandotte hens with gold-spangled Hamburg and partridge Cochin roosters, although the most influence can be seen from the contribution from the gold-spangled Hamburg roosters. You can read more about chicken genetics here.

 

What’s A Blue Laced Wyandotte?

Blue Laced Wyandotte chickens have that “gasp” factor because their feathers are so beautiful and unusual. Unlike the Silver Laced and Golden Laced varieties, the Blue Laced Wyandottes sport buff-colored feathers edged in blue instead of black.

 

The blue gene which gives the chickens their coloring is an incomplete dominant gene – so only some will have the blue lacing. In other words, this version of the Wyandotte chicken doesn’t breed true so you can get blue, black, or even a splash Wyandotte chicken.

 

However, when you do get the blue lacing alongside the buff, the contrasting colors gives the chicken an other-worldly rainbow appearance.

 

Although not a recognized breed by the American Standard of Perfection, they do have a “Certificate of Development,” meaning they’re on their way to becoming recognized.

 

What’s A Buff Laced Wyandotte?

The buff laced Wyandotte chicken has beautiful red feathers that appear edged in white. They’re the opposite of Golden Laced Wyandotte feathers! According to sources, the buff color comes from crossing two Blue Laced Red Wyandotte chickens.

 

Like the Blue Laced Wyandotte, the color of their feathers can differ from chicken to chicken, with some having a deeper buff color, and others having a lighter coloring that looks similar to Salmon Faverolles.

 

You might also notice that the heads vary from hen to hen, with some having white or cream colored head feathers, and others sporting the buff color to their comb.

 

Do Wyandotte Chickens Come In Bantam Varieties?

Yes! Wyandotte chicken bantams are easily sourced at most hatcheries. You can find Silver Laced, Black, Partridge, Columbians, and Golden Laced bantams. Like their full size counterparts, they lay brown eggs, although they don’t lay as frequently (3 times a week or so) and their eggs are smaller. However, they tend to be even friendlier than full sized Wyandottes, which makes up for it! Not all hatcheries carry all types of Wyandotte bantams, so it’s best to call and make sure your favorite seller hatches them.

 

What to Feed A Wyandotte Chicken

Like most chickens, Wyandottes need a particular diet to help them grow from day olds into healthy layers, and then to lay great eggs for you. Here’s what to feed your Wyandotte at every stage of her life:

 

Chicks

Chicks should have a high protein (at least 18% protein) chick starter. They need a lot of nutrients to grow correctly, and most commercial chick starters have everything they need.

 

You can also feed your Wyandotte chicks treats such as dried shrimps or black soldier fly larvae.

 

In the first week of their lives, I’ve started feeding my chicks both of these treats – they’re irresistible, and I sleep better at night knowing they’ve got food in their bellies. Sometimes, due to shipping or general stress from being in a new place, they can skip dinner, which is bad news for a baby chick. The tasty treats are hard to resist, and even the most stressed chick usually sneaks some bites.

 

You should also provide water 24 hours a day in a mason jar waterer, or another waterer that are made for chicks. You can check out waterers here.

 

Layers

As previously said, layers should have a diet of layer feed which includes at least 16% protein. It’s best to not rely on free ranging for 100% of your flock’s diet. Chickens tend to become flighty when they have to forage, and they might hide their eggs. You also can’t be sure all your hens are getting a square meal.

 

You can use an automatic feeder or simply a bowl – both work well. If you want an automatic feeder, you can read more about them here.

 

For Better Eggs

While a good layer feed should be top priority, you can also feed your flock:

  • Calendula for golden yolks
  • Garlic for overall health
  • Oyster shells for extra thick eggshells
  • Apple cider vinegar for gut pH balance (which also means healthier eggs. You can read more about apple cider vinegar here).
  • Lemon Balm for overall wellness
  • High protein goodies like Black Soldier Fly Larvae

 

Waterers

Your waterer should hold enough water for your entire flock – if it doesn’t, you might want to consider more than one. It doesn’t matter whether your waterer is automatic, although it does make things easier.

 

The material also doesn’t matter, although in the winter, a stainless steel one will freeze faster.

 

You can read about waterers here and if you want to build an automatic one yourself, I have a DIY waterer tutorial here.

 

The Best Coop For A Wyandotte Chicken

While most any shelter will work as a home for your flock, Wyandotte chickens tend to be on the smaller side (especially if you have bantams), and like all chickens, their defenses are limited. So, it’s important to make sure they have a safe coop to sleep in each night.

 

In particular, your coop should:

 

For your coop to be safe for chicks, it must be 100% predator proof (even rats will attack chicks) so that no predator can get into the living area. An automatic coop door is a good idea.

 

Bear in mind that chicks don’t roost until they’re at least 8 weeks old (and sometimes, it takes longer), so they’ll spend their nights sleeping on the ground. There’s a possibility a predator could easy eat them, or they might get trampled by the other chickens. Having a separate area for your chicks is a good idea.

 

Nesting Boxes For Wyandotte Chickens

Your Wyandottes will also need a nesting box or two. It’s best to have 1 box for every 5 hens. You can make them or buy commercial ones – both are perfectly fine. Just make sure it’s easy to clean, and you can remove shavings or other bedding without difficulty. You can read more about nesting boxes here to get a good idea of what’ll work best for your coop. Be sure to clean it weekly, and remove all eggs daily.

 

How to Protect Wyandotte Chickens from Predators

To protect your Wyandottes from predators, your first line of defense is your coop. It should be predator proof, and it’s best to also have a run (instead of free ranging). You can learn about the different types of chicken wire here. Hardware cloth is the safest, but it’s also the most expensive – in some cases, chicken wire might be a better option (it’s what we use.)

 

You can also use motion sensors to trigger lights around your coop. Since most predators like raccoons don’t like sudden light, it can deter them.

 

One predator to watch out for are domestic dogs. While they won’t hurt your chickens because they’re hungry, they might hunt them for sport. To keep your chickens safe, make sure their coop and run is dog proof. If dogs keep bothering your chickens, you might want to put a fence around your property.

 

The Best Hatcheries To Buy Wyandotte Chickens

Most major hatcheries will have Wyandotte chickens for sale (both full sized and bantams). Here’s some we have experience with:

  • Cackle
  • Meyer
  • Murray mcMurray
  • Ideal

 

Most Wyandottes seem to cost under $5 per chick, which is a reasonable price. You can learn more about what chickens cost here.

 

Are Wyandotte chickens for you? Leave a comment below!