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20 Cold-Hardy Chicken Breeds

Chickens tend to be cold-hardy in general, handling the winter months far better than the heat of the summer.

But certain breeds, such as those with large combs and wattles, those with smaller body masses and some of the more fragile breeds don't do as well in the winter as those breeds considered cold-hardy.

Frostbite is a concern of course, but also many breeds stop laying completely in the winter due to shorter days and the need to expend all their energy keeping warm in the extreme  cold, but the cold-hardy breeds will often continue to lay through the winter, albeit at a slower rate.

Sure you could heat your coop (although I caution against it for these reasons), you could insulate your coop or use the Deep Litter Method, but if you live in a northern climate, the easiest thing to do is to choose cold-hardy breeds in the first place.

20 Cold-Hardy Chicken Breeds

There is a wide selection of breeds considered particularly cold-hardy to choose from. Some of the more popular include:

Ameraucana  
Australorp 
Barnevelder  
Brahma  
Buckeye
 Buff Orpington  
Cochin
Delaware 
Dominique  
Easter Egge  
Faverolle  
Jersey Giant  
Marans 
New Hampshire Red  
Plymouth Rock  
Rhode Island Red 
Sussex  
Welsummer  
Wyandotte

These breeds for the most part all share some basic characteristics including small combs, fairly large body mass, and the breed originating in the more northern climates - all of which helps them handle cold temperatures far better than other breeds.

Many times the name of the breed is a tip-off, as is the case of the Rhode Island Red, New Hampshire Red, Plymouth Rock, Buckeye (named for the state of Ohio) and Jersey Giant.


Read my Cold Weather Chicken Care Guide, Winterizing your Flock  and Easy Ways to Keep your Water from Freezing for more tips on caring for your chickens this winter.

If you live in a warmer climate, then consider some of the Heat-Hardy breeds instead. Most will do just fine in cold weather, but be better equipped to handle the summer heat.

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