best winter hardy chicken breeds

Best Chicken Breeds For Cold Weathers

Choosing the right chicken breed isn’t only about how many eggs they lay or which ones are the best with kids. It’s also about the weather. Good chicken breeds for cold weathers will live longer, give you more eggs and require less maintenance. Here are our top chicken breeds for the cold weather!

If you want to find out more about where to get these resilient breeds, just click on their names.

Characteristics of a good chicken breed for cold weathers

The main characteristics of a chicken that’s winter-hardy is based on their plumage.

You want to avoid chickens with long feathers since short ones will be easier to keep dry. Chickens like the fluffy Sultan may look great but their long feathers can make them more susceptible to frostbite. That doesn’t mean you can’t have them during the winter of course! You’ll just need to keep a closer look to them and make sure they’re warm and dry enough.

You also want a chicken that has dense plumage, specially if it extends to their feet. Think of their feathers like their clothes, the heavier they are, the warmer they’ll be!

Finally the best chickens for winter are usually large breeds. Larger breeds tend to remain warm for longer and don’t get cold as easily.

Best chicken breeds for cold weather

Buff Orpington

One of our favorite breeds, you’ll want to keep them warm during the winter just by hugging them, even if they don’t need it! Their plumage is so dense that it makes them look even bigger than they actually are, which makes them perfect for the winter. They lay lots of eggs and make great mothers too!

Wyandotte

Golden Laced Wyandottes for eggs

These beautiful chickens have big personalities. Their beautiful plumage isn’t just for show, it’s also perfect for the cold weather. They’re one of the most intelligent breeds and good egg layers too. Their plumage is dense, fluffy and not too long, perfect to keep them warm!

Cochin

This fancy-looking chickens are a perfect breed for the winter. They’re large and have a dense plumage that covers them completely, even their feet! Although their plumage will need some grooming, with a little care they’ll even continue laying eggs during the cold weather.

Brahma

brahma chickens are great for winter

This giant chicken is so fascinating that we wrote a whole article about them! They’re large and have a dense plumage that also covers their feet, like the Cochins. Like most large breeds, they’re gentle, docile and great egg-layers. The short feathers are perfect to avoid frostbite during the cold.

Australorp

We’ve talked about this docile breed before since they’re egg-laying machines! This award-winning large breed tends to be gentle, friendly and quite resilient, a perfect chicken breed for cold weather. They were bred to endure the unpredictable Australian weather and their character makes them a perfect addition to any coop.

Plymouth Rock

plymouth rock are great breeds for the winter

This beautiful English breed will endure the cold weather, and look great doing so! They’re gentle and easy-going and, although their plumage isn’t as thick as some of the other chickens, it’s dense enough to protect them from the winter. They’re also great egg producers and dedicated moms!

How do I keep my chickens warm?

Even the hardiest chicken breed needs some help to stay warm during the winter. Here are a few tips:

  • Feed them warm. Chickens actually enjoy warm water during the winter and keeping the water warm with a water heater like this will also prevent the water from freezing.
  • Keep the coop ventilated. To avoid frostbite make sure the moisture has somewhere to go by installing ventilation on top of the coop, where the cold air won’t hit your chickens directly.
  • Avoid heater lamps. With a hot and fragile light bulb things can go very bad very fast. Use instead something like this cheap coop heater, designed exclusively for chicken coops.

Regardless of the breeds you have, it’s always a good idea to know how to get your chicken coop winter ready and inform yourself about how to defend your coop against predators.

Stay warm and let us know your favorite chicken winter breeds in the comments below!

6 Comments

  1. MagicDave December 24, 2018
    • Ray December 24, 2018
  2. Chris December 24, 2018
  3. JUDY WELLS December 25, 2018
  4. Gary Scarborough December 29, 2018
  5. Kristine Vasilakis January 4, 2019

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