Chicken Breeds that Handle Winter Well

by Meghan H

Published December 11, 2017

It’s winter and you browse the Meyer Hatchery website and scroll through the pages dreaming of your ideal flock, you may find it difficult to create a list of breeds that will do best in your particular climate. Some breeds handle harsh winters better than others, and the same goes for heat-hardy breeds. For your flock to thrive and be successful, choose a laying hen breed that will do well in your climate. Whether you are a warm-weather or cold-weather chicken tender, we have listed some of our most cold-hardy breeds below as well as some heat-hardy breeds to help make your chick selection a breeze. We will also give you tips on what characteristics you want to look for in selecting a breed that will do well in your neck of the woods.

Winter Hardy Chicken Breed Recommendations

In general, smaller combed breeds with larger bodies will typically do better in colder climates than the lighter-weight breeds. Smaller combs are not as prone to frostbite injury as a large, floppy comb. Some good choices for cold climates are most 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 love a colorful egg basket, Easter Eggers, Green Queens, Olive Eggers, Lakeside Eggers, and the Blue Ameraucana will do very well in cold winter climates.

Frost White Legbars are a highly desired rare breed, known for their blue egg-laying capabilities.  This breed does well in both warm and cold climates.

Winter Cold Hardy Chicken Breeds Meyer Hatchery

Chicken Breeds that can be Winter Hardy with Accommodations

Breeds of chickens that originate from the Mediterranean areas, usually have large floppy combs, lighter bodyweights and tend to do best in warmer climates. A few breeds with these characteristics are the White Leghorn, Blue Andalusian, and Ancona. The Swedish Flower Hen is a unique breed that may or may not do well in the cold due to their comb. The comb on this breed can vary from bird to bird, so we suggest using caution when ordering this breed if you live in a cold winter climate. 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 with care, but they do have lighter bodyweight and will consume more feed to stay warm. If you choose to add larger combed birds to your flock in winter climates we suggest putting a protective layer on their combs on nights. When the temperatures dip in the teens and single digits this will help protect against frostbite. Green Goo Animal Salve or a DIY comb balm are great options to help with frostbite.

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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