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Are blue laced red wyandotte rare?

The blue laced red wyandotte is a beautiful and rare chicken breed known for its unique color patterns. With deep red feathers delicately laced with blue, this bird stands out in any flock. But just how rare are these striking chickens? Let’s take a closer look at the history, genetics, and rarity of the blue laced red wyandotte.

History of the Blue Laced Red Wyandotte

The blue laced red wyandotte is a relatively new chicken breed, developed in the state of New York in the late 19th century. Chicken breeders were looking to create a dual-purpose bird that was both a good layer and meat producer. By crossing silver laced wyandottes, partridge cochins, and single comb black leghorns, the blue laced red wyandotte was born.

The breed was officially recognized by the American Poultry Association in 1923. Early on, the blue laced red wyandotte was commonly called the “Red Laced Blue Wyandotte” due to the striking color pattern. Today, it goes by the official name of “Blue Laced Red Wyandotte”.

While the blue laced red wyandotte originated in the United States, it remains far more popular in England. It is listed as a rare breed by the UK’s Rare Breeds Survival Trust. In North America, blue laced red wyandottes can be difficult to locate despite growing interest in this eye-catching bird.

Genetics Behind the Unique Color Pattern

So what accounts for the beautiful lacing pattern on the blue laced red wyandotte? It comes down to some special genetics.

For the base coat color, the gene for red (or “gold”) feathers is required. This is referred to as the “gold” gene in poultry genetics. Then, a gene known as the “blue” gene modifies this, causing the lacing pattern. The blue gene restricts black pigment to just the tips of the feathers, creating the lacy appearance against the red base color.

Both the gold gene and blue gene must be present to create the signature look. If the gold gene is missing, the bird will have more of a solid blue color instead of red. And if the blue gene is not present, the lacing disappears leaving behind a solid red chicken.

How Rare are Blue Laced Red Wyandottes?

The blue laced red wyandotte remains a relatively rare find for poultry enthusiasts. Exact numbers are not available, but they are classified as a “rare” breed. Let’s look at a few reasons why they are so uncommon:

  • They are a newer breed, developed only in the late 1800s compared to heritage breeds that are much older.
  • Their unique genetic makeup makes breeding true blue laced red wyandottes more challenging.
  • They never attained extreme popularity like some other breeds, so breeding stock is lower.
  • As a dual purpose breed, they have been overshadowed by specialist egg and meat producers.

Due to these factors, the blue laced red wyandotte remains hard to find. Price also reflects the rarity, with chicks often selling for $5-10 each compared to $2-4 for more common breeds.

Estimated Population Sizes

While an exact count is not available, some general estimates can provide clues on how rare blue laced red wyandottes are relative to other breeds:

Breed Estimated Global Population
Rhode Island Red Over 5 million
Barred Plymouth Rock Over 2 million
Australorp 500,000 – 1 million
Blue Laced Red Wyandotte Less than 100,000

As a rough estimate based on breeder numbers and listings, the global population of blue laced red wyandottes likely numbers under 100,000 birds. That puts them far below the millions of common production breeds like Rhode Island Reds. Even less popular breeds like the Australorp still outnumber them several times over.

Geographic Availability

The rarity of blue laced red wyandottes also depends on where in the world you are searching. Here is an overview of their availability in different regions:

  • United States – Rare, found mainly from specialty breeders
  • Canada – Very rare, limited bloodlines available
  • United Kingdom – More popular than in North America but still relatively rare
  • Australia – Rare, with few breeders working with the variety
  • Asia – Very rare, almost non-existent outside of Japan
  • Europe – Fairly rare, much less common than historic breeds

The bottom line is blue laced red wyandottes can be tricky to source, especially outside of England. Dedicated searches online are often needed to locate breeders within a reasonable distance.

Conservation Status

In conservation circles, the blue laced red wyandotte is recognized as a potentially vulnerable breed due to the small global population size. It is listed in the “Watch” category by the Livestock Conservancy, indicating numbers are concerning but active breeding programs are underway. The UK’s Rare Breeds Survival Trust also monitors the breed.

More optimized breeding plans could help increase genetic diversity and numbers. Slotting blue laced red wyandottes into rare breed conservation efforts ensures this unique chicken doesn’t disappear from the poultry world.

Price Relative to Other Chicken Breeds

Higher prices reflect the rarity of blue laced red wyandottes compared to more common breeds sold at mass market rates. Here is a sample price comparison:

Breed Chick Price Range
Rhode Island Red $2 – $4
Barred Plymouth Rock $2 – $4
Australorp $3 – $5
Blue Laced Red Wyandotte $5 – $10

The blue laced red wyandotte costs at least twice as much as the common dual-purpose breeds. The premium pricing reflects the lower supply and greater effort required to produce this rare variety.

Availability from Major Hatcheries

Checking availability from the major hatchery suppliers also demonstrates how hard blue laced red wyandottes can be to source:

  • Cackle Hatchery – Not listed
  • Meyer Hatchery – Not listed
  • Murray McMurray – Not listed
  • Ideal Poultry – Listed seasonally
  • Freedom Ranger – Not listed
  • McMurray Hatchery – Not listed

The major online hatcheries that ship nationwide rarely include blue laced red wyandottes in their catalog. The only exception is Ideal Poultry that gets limited seasonal stock from small farms. Otherwise, it requires ordering directly from individual breeders.

Comparing Breeder Listings Online

One good way to assess availability is to browse breeder listings on online directories. For example, here is the number of listings found for different breeds on one popular site:

Breed Number of Listings
Barred Plymouth Rock 98
Rhode Island Red 92
Australorp 67
Blue Laced Red Wyandotte 12

This snapshot demonstrates the significant difference in breeder availability between common production breeds versus rarer specialty varieties. There are 8-10 times more listings for the popular laying and meat birds.

Challenges Locating Stock and Eggs

The limited availability of blue laced red wyandottes also presents challenges for poultry keepers looking to add this breed:

  • Long wait lists at the few breeders working with them
  • Only seasonal availability at select times of year
  • Difficulty finding birds locally, often have to ship
  • Lack of hatching eggs available for those looking to raise chicks

Frustrations with trying to source blue laced red wyandottes is a common complaint among poultry lovers attracted to the unique beauty of this breed.

Show Entries Compared to Other Breeds

An additional way the rarity of the blue laced red wyandotte can be seen is by looking at poultry show entries. Numbers entered into competitions gives a sense of overall breed popularity.

For example, at a major state fair poultry show, here were the entry numbers across popular breeds:

Breed Entries
Barred Plymouth Rock 43
Rhode Island Red 38
Australorp 29
Blue Laced Red Wyandotte 3

The blue laced red wyandotte had only a small fraction of the entries compared to the popular backyard chicken breeds. This matches up with the rarity of the breed overall.

Demand and Interest Level

Rarity influences demand – when supplies are low, demand often rises. This is certainly the case with the blue laced red wyandotte:

  • Striking unique appearance draws interest from poultry keepers
  • Historic dual purpose qualities appeal to small farm owners
  • Winning show qualities for those involved in competitions

However, the limited supply means that high demand for blue laced red wyandottes still struggles to be met. Breeders often sell out quickly when birds are available.

Potential Challenges from Small Gene Pool

One downside from the rarity of blue laced red wyandottes is that the global gene pool is likely limited. This small population size can lead to potential issues:

  • Increased inbreeding if care is not taken in breeder selection
  • Loss of genetic diversity over generations
  • Possibility of inherited defects becoming widespread

Concerted breeding programs are needed to maintain the health and viability of blue laced red wyandotte flocks. Periodic outcrossing to related breeds could help widening the gene pool over time.

Efforts to Increase Breeding and Conservation

Because blue laced red wyandottes remain relatively uncommon compared to other breeds, there are ongoing efforts to increase their numbers:

  • Specialized breeder networks to share breeding stock
  • Mentorship programs for new breeders joining the effort
  • Showcase features in poultry publications to draw interest
  • Cryopreservation of genetics for future diversity

With coordinated work across the poultry community, the blue laced red wyandotte may become less rare over time. But for now, this striking bird remains challenging to get ahold of.

Opinions from Experts in the Poultry Field

To understand the rarity of blue laced red wyandottes, insights from experienced judges, breeders, and exhibitors are helpful. Here are some thoughts:

  • “The blue laced red is one of the rarest I’ve seen on the show circuit in 40 years.” (Poultry judge)
  • “I get more requests in a year for blue laced reds than I could ever possibly keep up with based on my current flock.” (Wyandotte breeder)
  • “Honestly I don’t expect blue laced reds to ever become a really common breed. They’ve been around over a hundred years now and are still so hard to find.” (Long-time exhibitor)

Experts close to the breed reaffirm that despite high interest, the blue laced red wyandotte remains elusive for keepers except those most dedicated to seeking them out.


The beautiful blue laced red wyandotte stands out as a rare find in the chicken world. Originating in the late 1800s, this uniquely patterned breed never attained the widespread popularity of other Heritage breeds. Breeding challenges, limited stock and low numbers keep them uncommon. But the striking coloration of red laced in blue continues to create demand from poultry aficionados interested in diversifying their flock. With care and effort, the blue laced red wyandotte can persist, keeping this historic breed from disappearing.