The Best Winter Chicken Breeds

Winters are brutal on many animals, chickens being one of them. If you live in a cold region, you might want to consider raising a cold hardy breed. Cold hardy breeds will make your winter chicken keeping as low maintenance as possible and still produce plenty of eggs. We want to help you find cold hardy birds to keep in your flock.

Chickens standing in snow

Cold hardy breeds have a few things in common. They usually have small combs; larger combs lead to a higher risk of frostbite. Heavy feathering is another common feature in cold hardy breeds. Many cold hardy chicken breeds are larger than other breeds. The larger the bird, the more body fat it contains which helps keep them warm in the winter months. One feature you won’t find in a cold hardy breed is frizzles. Frizzles are a genetic mutation that causes the feathers to curl. The curling of the feathers releases more body heat causing them to be poor cold weather birds.

 

Here are a few great cold weather chicken breeds:

Ameraucana/Easter Egger

Black Australorp

Brahma – light or feather leg

Dominique

New Hampshire Red

Orphington

Plymouth Rock

Rhode Island Red

Welsummer

Wyandotte – golden or silver

Black Australorp 

You can choose to raise any breed in a cold weather climate; however, you will need to provide them with a heated coop and keep them confined for most of the winter. The breeds mentioned above can be kept in their coop with or without heat but let out on some of the nice winter days. On the colder days, the breeds above can be let out to roam their run for short periods of time. We hope this helps lead you to a successful winter season with your flock!