When I went to purchase my chicks from a hatchery this spring, I was basing my selection on a few criteria. I wanted a mixed flock, good layers, a flock that was winter hardy for Mid-Michigan and I wanted beautiful birds. Therefore Silver Laced Wyandottes were high on my list. What I didn't know at the time is that the hatchery stock is not as beautifully patterned as small breeder's would be. So I was a little disappointed when I heard it and even more disappointed when they started to look all scraggly and like they would never get the pretty lacing that you see in most of the photos of mature birds on this forum. I was so disappointed, in fact, that I took very few pictures of them growing up; not nearly as many as I took of the other breeds. The Buff Orpingtons, Barred Rocks and Easter Eggers I had went directly from chick fluff to adult patterning. None of this in between stuff. It wasn't until weeks later that I read that they fill out a bit and the patterning would fall into place eventually. Looking at my own three birds, I couldn't imagine that would ever happen. They had all their feathers and they looked nothing like the pictures. But to my surprise and very suddenly, they developed their patterning from the outside in (meaning from the sides of the breast toward the center). I would say it started around week ten. Finally at week 14, they're patterns are mostly filled out and they have more growing to do so I suspect they will get even better. So if anyone out there is worried about their bird's patterning, give it time; it will come. They may not be show quality but pretty darn beautiful nonetheless. I will update as they get older.
Here are some photos of the progression.
5 Weeks (top bird)
14 Weeks - Flan, she has the lightest pattern
Benedict, she has the darkest (can you tell it's hot?)
The third, unnamed SLW, behind the other two in pattern development