Chicken Breeds That Handle Winter Well

It’s winter and the new Meyer Hatchery catalog has just arrived. You’re dreaming of your ideal flock and making a list, but how do you know if the breeds you want will do well in your location? It is important to choose a laying hen breed that will do well in your climate. Let’s take some time today to look at the different categories of breeds, and what characteristics you want to look for in selecting a breed that may work well for you and your location.

Hen in a winter - farm bird

The Golden Buff is a breed that does well in winter

Generally speaking, breeds that have smaller combs and heavier bodies will generally do better in colder climates than the lighter weight breeds. Smaller combs are not as prone to frostbite injury as a large, floppy comb would be. Some good choices for cold climates are just about any of our brown egg layer breeds. The Rhode Island Red, the Buff Orpington, the Golden Buff, the Black Australorp, and the Columbian Wyandotte are also a few of the more popular brown egg laying breeds that lay well and can thrive in colder climates. If you want colored egg layers then the Easter Egger and the Blue Ameraucana will also do very well in cold weather.

Frost White Legbar hen

Frost White Legbar hen

Breeds of chickens that originate from the Mediterranean areas usually have large floppy combs, lighter body weight and tend to not do at well in the colder climates. Some of the breeds with these characteristics are the White Leghorn, Blue Andalusian, Dorking, and Campine. The Swedish Flower Hen is also one that may or may not do well in the cold because of its comb. The comb on this breed can vary from bird to bird, so I put it in the “maybe” category. The Cream Legbar and Frost White Legbar males typically have very large combs, but the females have much smaller combs. This breed can do well in colder climates, but they do have lighter body weight and will consume more feed to stay warm.

You can learn more on our blog post about how to properly care for your flock in winter. Remember, the Meyer Hatchery Customer Service team is here to help you make the best selection possible. We want to help you succeed, so give us a chat, phone call or email if you have questions about picking your perfect flock!

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