All chicken keepers worry about their ladies when the weather turns freezing, but many chicken breeds can handle lower temperatures with ease! How do they keep warm? Chickens roost closer together creating lots of body heat. You can observe your chickens fluffing their feathers keeping body heat closer to the skin.
They look like they're trying to conserve their body heat! You must keep the coop clean and dry in the winter! This may be the most important tip from experts. Chicken expert and blogger, Fresh Eggs Daily explains,
"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."
The most important part of the above advice deals with the small combs and wattles as these reduce the chances for frostbite! Can you imagine your poor chickens without this?
Check out these five cold-hardy breeds that are known for thriving in colder temperatures. These birds all thrive in colder climates and the majority of these five cold weather chickens are good layers!
One of the reasons this breed is loved by chicken keepers is their overall hardiness. Backyard Chicken Coops tells us,
"Because of their heavyweight, the Australorp can withstand cold winter temperatures easily, as well as hot weather - they were bred here after all! They are even said to keep laying whilst the temperature is especially hot and cold - what a trooper."
They are large chickens and their feet are feathered. We call them "hobbit" chickens. Calm and curious and super hardy in winter temperatures. Keep those feet dry in the winter though!
Our staff are big fans of the Buff Orpington breed. They come in many colors, but the yellow or "buff" colored chickens can have big personalities. They are not only hardy hens because of their beautiful (fluffy!) plumage but extremely personable. Another interesting fact? They are loved by the British royal family.
4. Rhode Island Red
These chickens are known for being laid back layers! As many chicken keepers will tell you, Rhode Island Reds (RIR) can live happy and healthy lives in the dead of a winter snowfall. If you live in a harsh climate always consider the RIR breed!
Last but not least, the Wyandotte chicken breed is a heavy and sturdy bird. The Wyandotte is egg-ceptionally hardy in cold winter conditions. This is due to their heavy weight and feathering. They have great fluffy butts!
There is a lot about the coop that needs to be winterized too so make sure you go through your checklist before the temperature changes so your birds are ready! Who wants fresh eggs all year round?! Other cold-hardy breeds include the Dominique, Plymouth Rock, Cochin, New Hampshire Red, Ameraucana, Sussex and Welsummer.