All chickens tend to do better in colder temperatures; however, there are breeds of chickens that thrive in cold weather and handle it a lot better than other breeds. If you get particularly harsh winters or you live in a constantly cold climate, you may be wondering what are the best breeds of chickens for this cold weather?
Here are great breeds of chicken that were bred for the cold and can thrive in colder climates:
- Plymouth Chickens
- Wyandotte Chickens
- Australorp Chickens
- Buff Orpington Chickens
- Brahma Chickens
- Chantecler Chickens
- Rhode Island Red Chickens
- Buckeye Chickens
- Welsummer Chickens
If you live in an area with freezing temperatures in the winter and you would like to start keeping chickens to supply you and your family with eggs and meat, you need to choose your breeds carefully.
You will need to select a breed that is suited for these conditions to ensure that the chickens do not struggle or even die due to the cold.
Let’s go review some cold-hardy chicken breeds to find one that is best suited to your needs.
Chickens That Are Suited For Cold Climates
Winter can be a difficult time for chicken owners, so if we can take the stress of losing a few chickens away by selecting chickens that can handle winter’s cold temperatures, then why not? The following are the nine chickens that are best suited to cold climates.
1. Plymouth Rock Chicken
The Plymouth Rock chickens are well suited to cold temperatures as they have a dense coat of feathers that are perfect for keeping them warm in cold weather. This breed of chicken is usually raised in very cold areas, including North America and England.
Plymouth Rock hens weigh around six to seven pounds, and the roosters generally weigh around eight to nine pounds. Being bigger chickens allows them to keep a steady body temperature more easily compared to smaller chickens.
This breed of chickens is very friendly and docile, making them a favorite among chicken keepers. These chickens produce a good amount of large brown eggs to keep you fed throughout the year. They usually lay about 250 eggs per year.
Plymouth Rock chickens do have a single comb that you will need to keep an eye on in the winter to ensure that it does not get frostbite in this area.
2. Wyandotte Chickens
Wyandotte chickens come in many colors, including gold laced, silver laced, and white Colombian. These are beautiful chickens that are named after the Native American Wyandot tribe. This chicken is suited for cold winters as they have a fluffy, dense coat of feathers.
These chickens are fairly large as the hens weigh around six to seven pounds, and the roosters weigh around seven to eight pounds. Their big, plump bodies help them to withstand the cold very well.
Although these chickens are beautiful, many chicken keepers agree that they are divas. Wyandotte chickens are a bit standoffish, but they are calm. These chickens are great egg producers as they lay an average of 180 to 200 eggs each year.
These chickens have small combs and wattles, which means they are less prone to frostbite in these areas.
3. Australorp Chickens
Australorp chickens have a particularly dense coat of feathers that helps protect them from cold winds, so if you live in windy areas, these chickens are for you. The Australorp hens will lay eggs throughout winter.
These are heavy chickens; their weight allows them to tolerate not only cold weather but hot weather too. They can manage both types of weather a lot better than most other chickens.
The roosters and the hens usually weigh about seven to ten pounds, and this breed of chickens holds a world record of laying 364 eggs in only 365 days. Their egg-laying abilities and their calm nature make these chickens a chicken keeper’s dream.
As these chickens are quite big, they have bigger combs that need to be covered in petroleum jelly to protect them from frostbite in very cold weather.
4. Buff Orpington Chickens
Orpington chickens come in many different types; however, the most popular is the Buff. No matter what type of Orpington you get, they should all be able to manage cold climates quite well.
The Buff Orpington is on the heavier side, with the hens and roosters weigh around seven to nine pounds. The Buffs have dense feathering that can make them seem larger than they really are. These thick feathers are great for keeping the Buffs warm in cold weather.
The Buff Orpington hens will lay about 200 to 280 eggs each year; this makes the Buff great for meat and eggs. These chickens also have a great personality; they are very sweet, calm, and affectionate. Their personality makes them a favorite among chicken keepers, and these chickens make great pets for children.
Buff Orpington’s have small combs making them less susceptible to frostbite; however, they should still be watched if the temperature drops very low.
5. Brahma Chickens
Brahma chickens generally come in three colorings which are dark, Buff, or white. These chickens are one of the heaviest chicken breeds you can get, with them averaging between nine and eleven pounds.
These chickens are perfect for cold weather as they have thick feathers on their body and heavy feathering on their legs, which keeps the Brahma chickens completely warm in the coldest temperatures.
The Brahma chickens have small wattles and pea combs; this means that you will hardly need to worry about frostbite with them.
These chickens will lay eggs through the coldest months of the year; the hens will lay around 140 eggs per year, no matter the weather. These chickens are very calm, docile, and quiet, which makes them known as the gentle giants of the chicken world.
6. Chantecler Chickens
Chantecler chickens are the cousins of the Brahma chickens. Chantecler chickens were bred in Canada and have thick feathering, just like the Brahma chickens. This makes this breed of chicken perfect for cold weather.
These chickens will also lay eggs throughout the winter months; they will lay an average of around 180 eggs per year. These chickens are great for meat, as well as they are larger chickens that mature quickly.
These chickens can weigh between six and eight pounds. Chantecler chickens are friendly and docile; this makes them very easy to handle. They have small wattles and combs, preventing the worry of frostbite for these chickens.
7. Rhode Island Red Chickens
The Rhode Island Red chicken is a bird that fits all categories. They can thrive in cold, dry, hot, and wet weather. These chickens were designed to be a dual-purpose breed of chicken in the 1800s in New England, as breeders were trying to breed the perfect chicken.
These chickens have tight feathering, with a substantial amount of fluff under the top feathers to keep them warm. These chickens can weigh between 6.5 and 8.5 pounds, making them good-sized chickens.
These chickens are popular for their dual purpose of supplying meat and laying a large number of eggs. A Rhode Island Red hen can lay an average of 300 large eggs per year. However, they have big wattles and combs that will need your attention during the colder months, as they are prone to frostbite.
These chickens are friendly, talkative, and easily made into pets, although they can be a bit pushy with children.
8. Buckeye Chickens
Buckeye chickens are unique for the fact that they are the only chicken that was bred by a woman. These chickens were accepted by the American Poultry Association in 1904. This breed of chicken is a dual-purpose chicken. These chickens were bred to thrive in cold temperatures.
This chicken has dark red feathers, resembling a buckeye nut. They have small wattles and pea combs, so there is no need to worry about frostbite in these chickens. The Buckeye chicken weighs on average between six to seven pounds.
These chickens are dual-purpose bred, so they are perfect for meat and eggs. They lay between 150 to 200 eggs per year.
Buckeye chickens are friendly with a pleasant temperament; however, if they do not have the right amount of space to run in, then they can get snappy.
9. Welsummer Chickens
Welsummer chickens were bred in the Netherlands and were brought to America in the early 20th century. These chickens are extremely winter hardy with a unique and beautiful color.
The Welsummer chickens are dual-purpose chickens used for meat and eggs. They lay around 150 to 160 eggs per year. Their eggs are unique, too, as they are a terracotta color with light speckles on them. These chickens usually weigh between six and seven pounds.
Welsummer chickens are calm, friendly, and intelligent. They are highly active birds, so they need a lot of room to run. The Welsummers mature quite slowly, but they can handle the harsh winters like a champ once they are fully grown. Although you will need to watch their wattles and combs for signs of frostbite.
There are many different types of chickens in the world that are suited to cold climates. Each has its pros and cons. For example, a breed can produce many eggs, but it is difficult to handle because of their personality.
You will just need to pick a breed of chicken that will be easy for you to handle and become a good producer for your family.