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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.

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

Ameraucana
 Australorp
Bantam Brahma
 Barnevelder
 Brahma
 Buckeye
 Buff Orpington
 Cochin
Delaware
Dominique
 Easter Egger
 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.

-This Silver-Laced Wyandottte at 1840 Farm in New Hampshire is plenty used to cold winters-
-This Golden-Laced Wyandotte at The Hen Song in Alaska also sees plenty of snow and cold temperatures-
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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