Choosing the right chicken for a brand-new flock or to add to an established one is quite a task. Not only is a person spoilt for choice in the many different breeds, but the breed has to fit into your environment. This is not only the garden and or coop/run size or if the breed will get along, but you have to consider the climate. There are some chicken breeds that can withstand any climate, some might fare better in the hotter or some in the colder climates.
Generally, you can keep any chicken in any climate it just takes a bit of extra work and attention to details. Such as are their combs, wattles and or feet and legs prone to frostbite. Are their feathers too dense that they will overheat in a tropical climate, etc?
For all these factors there are solutions, such as making sure a very feathery chicken has lots of shade, cold water, ice-cube treats and even cooling fans in their coop.
For the cold, there are heating lamps, insulation for the coop, etc.
Still, if you can get a chicken breed that best suits your environment it is a lot better for the bird itself.
We have compiled a list of ten breeds more suited to the colder climates.
OUR TOP 10 COLD CLIMATE CHICKEN BREEDS
My number one cold hardy chicken breed has got to be Cochins! These laid-back fluffy big chickens are not only full of warm and cosy heavy coat of feathers from head to toe. They are also quite a weighty chicken which also helps keep the cold at bay. These laid-back friendly chickens are placid, like to stay close to home, well their food really and have no problems with the cold. The only thing to watch out for is keeping their feather clean. Especially on their legs and feet to avoid any health issues.Read More
The Brahma is another big ball of fluffy feathers covering them from the sleek heads to their toes. These gentle regal giants are well equipped to keep the cold at bay. They are also quite a weighty chicken which makes for that extra bit of padding needed to maintain body heat. As with the Cochins, the Brahma do need a bit of attention and care taken for their leg and feet feathers. These must be kept clean and dry as best as possible.Read More
3. Jersey Giant
Jersey Giants are a very hardy breed that tends to be well padded and well covered in soft warm feathers. They are very cold hardy and do not mind wondering the garden in snow, wind or even a bit of rain. They are a great breed that is a great addition to any flock.Read More
Australorp is well feathered with heavy feathering to keep them warm in the cold. They have no problem going about their busy day through the bitter cold. They will also give you eggs all year-round no matter the weather.Read More
Silkies are true Bantams and a lot smaller than most average chickens. But these fluffy little beauties are really quite tough. Especially when it comes to weathering the cold weather. They are truly delightful little birds that will liven up any flock.Read More
They are quite a rare breed these days but Dorkings have no problem with the cold. They are a very cold hardy breed that also happens to be a fair layer and an excellent mother. If you are planning to breed chickens a Dorking will only compliment your flock. They make excellent brood hens and will foster other chickens’ chicks.Read More
7. Easter Egger
Easter Eggers may be a hybrid, but they are very different in looks, color and they lay an exceptional amount of different colored eggs. They also do really well in cold climates and as such, they lay constantly throughout the year. They also have quite crazy personalities in that they get up to all sorts of mischievous. A true family bird if ever there was one and are good around kids. Read More
The Buckeye can be a very cheeky bird to a point of aggression. But if raised correctly they can be just as tame and friendly as any other chicken breed. They have an abundance of soft well-insulated feathers and a heavy build to keep them warm against the cold.Read More
The Wyandotte is a very laid-back chicken with a great calm personality. They get along with most any other breed, are good around kids and their fluffy feathers give them lots of protection against the cold. These beautiful birds will bring a different style to any flock.Read More
The Dominique was once quite a popular chicken breed found at a lot of homesteads, farms and backyards. They have been around for hundreds of years and are known as the grandparents of chicken breeds. They look much like the Barred Plymouth Rock, but they have a lot of features that differentiate the two. Like the rose comb of the Dominique whereas the Plymouth Rock has a straight comb.
They Dominique chicken is on the American Livestock Conservancy list as endangered. They are quite hard to come by but there are a few breeders that still have them.
These beautiful chickens are able to withstand the cold better than most other chickens can.Read More
If you are new to owning chickens, looking to starting out before making a choice of chicken breed it is best to have a clear vision as to what you are wanting to get out of owning chickens. Are you looking for fresh eggs, a pet, etc? For advice on keeping chickens see our “The first-time chicken owners starter guide”.