16 Best Cold Tolerant Chicken Breeds

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Best Cold Tolerant Chicken Breeds

Choose the Best Cold Tolerant Chicken Breeds for Your Homestead

Cold tolerant chicken breeds are a hardy livestock choice for northern homesteads! There are many different characteristics to consider when choosing chickens breeds. Most homesteaders want breeds that lay a lot of eggs or hens that go broody and raise their own chicks. Another important consideration is how hardy your hens are for your climate.

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Hatching Chicks vs Ordering: Which is Best?

4 differeent cold tolerant chicken breeds - Barred Rock, Rhode Island Red, Golden Laced Wyandotte, and Black Australorp
Cold tolerant chicken breeds. (Clockwise from front left) Barred Plymouth Rock, Golden Lace Wyandotte, Black Australorp, Rhode Island Red.

Cold Tolerant Chicken Breeds

Here are some of the best chicken breeds for cold climates:

  1. Rhode Island Reds – Best layer!
  2. Buckeye
  3. Ameraucana or Easter Egger – Also heat tolerant!
  4. Black Australorp
  5. Buff Orpington
  6. Barred Plymouth Rock & White Plymouth Rock- Also heat tolerant!
  7. Golden Laced Wyandotte & Columbian Wyandotte
  8. Delaware
  9. Black Jersey Giant
  10. Light Brahma
  11. New Hampshire Red – Good meat producer
  12. Dominique
  13. Speckled Sussex
  14. Cuckoo Maran
  15. Turken or Naked Neck – Also heat tolerant!
  16. Barnevelder

Icelandic chickens are also very cold tolerant, but they can be very difficult to find and purchase.

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Whatch for frostbite on combs
Watch for damage to tips of combs from frostbite.

How to Help Your Flock Deal with Cold Weather

Provide your chickens with a draft-free coop, water that isn’t frozen, and a good quality feed to help them deal with cold weather. Some cracked corn or black oil sunflower seed fed to your flock in the evening will help increase their body temperature during the overnight lows. Don’t feed too much or their body fat could interfere with laying!

Easter Eggers are cold tolerant and docile
Easter Eggers are cold tolerant and docile.

When temperatures dip, coat their combs and wattles with homemade petroleum free jelly to help protect from frostbite.

Provide your chickens with a 2×4″ for their roosting bar instead of a round pole. The flat surface allows them to tuck their toes into their feathers to prevent frostbite on their feet overnight.

Rhode Island Reds are a cold hardy chicken breed
Rhode Island Reds are one of the best cold hardy egg layers.

Supplemental heat may be necessary if you live in the extreme north. Heat lamps can be dangerous if not used properly. Consider a safer source of heat, such as a Cozy Products Safe Chicken Heater.

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Some homesteaders use the deep litter method to help keep the coop warm over the winter. Be sure to use bedding that absorbs moisture and provide adequate ventilation if you choose to try this.

Turkens are a cold hardy chicken breed that can also handle heat
Turkens are adaptable to both hot and cold climates.

It’s Easier to Keep Hens Warm in Winter Than to Keep Them Cool in Summer!

Cold tolerant chicken breeds will fare much better in cold weather than any breed will when the weather gets hot and humid. You can add a heat source to the coop and feed them extra corn to increase their body heat in winter. However, in summer you can lose chickens to extreme heat if you aren’t careful. Stay tuned for the best chicken breeds for hot climates!

What are your favorite chicken breeds for cold climates?

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16 Best Cold Hardy Chicken Breeds: Choose the hardiest breeds of chickens for northern climates.
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Lisa Lombardo

Freelance Writer & Blogger at Tohoca, LLC
Lisa writes in-depth articles about gardening and homesteading topics. She grew up on a farm and has continued learning about horticulture, animal husbandry, and home food preservation ever since. She has earned an Associate of Applied Science in Horticulture and a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She is a self proclaimed gardening freak and crazy chicken lady.

In addition to writing for her own websites, Lisa has contributed articles to The Prepper Project and Homestead.org.

The author lives outside of Chicago with her husband, son, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and a variety of poultry.
Lisa Lombardo
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About Lisa Lombardo

Lisa writes in-depth articles about gardening and homesteading topics. She grew up on a farm and has continued learning about horticulture, animal husbandry, and home food preservation ever since. She has earned an Associate of Applied Science in Horticulture and a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She is a self proclaimed gardening freak and crazy chicken lady. In addition to writing for her own websites, Lisa has contributed articles to The Prepper Project and Homestead.org. The author lives outside of Chicago with her husband, son, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and a variety of poultry.

3 comments on “16 Best Cold Tolerant Chicken Breeds

  1. Pingback: Your Guide to Raising Eco-Friendly Chickens - The New Homesteader's Almanac

  2. Pingback: 16 Best Heat Tolerant Chicken Breeds - The New Homesteader's Almanac

  3. Pingback: Using Our Farm Fresh Eggs - The Self Sufficient HomeAcre

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