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7 Hardy Chicken Breeds That Do Well in Both Hot and Cold Temperatures

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Jessica is an experienced pet mom with dogs, cats, rats, fish, axolotls, a gecko, chickens, and ducks.

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It can be tough to choose the right breed of chicken to keep if you live somewhere with both hot summers and frigid winters. Luckily, some chicken breeds have been bred for hardiness, and they have features that can help them in extreme temperatures. This article will go over seven of the best chicken breeds for hot and cold temperatures, and they are all excellent egg layers!

What Makes a Chicken Heat Resistant?

  • Chickens with large combs and waddles tend to do well in the heat since that is a way their bodies release heat. Leghorns are a great choice for hot climates for this reason.
  • Chickens with less body fat do well in the heat.
  • Most importantly, you can keep your chickens cool by giving them plenty of shade, ventilation, and fresh cool water. Extra care should be taken in temperatures over 90 degrees.

What Makes a Chicken Cold Weather Resistant?

  • Chickens with dense feathers have an easier time keeping warm in the cold.
  • Small combs and waddles have less of a chance of getting frostbite.
  • Bigger breeds do well in the cold. Smaller breeds like Silkies may have a hard time.
  • You can help any chicken breed stay warm in the winter by giving them a well-insulated coop with plenty of dry bedding, but for extreme climates, it does help to have a resilient breed.
Plymouth Rock females have small combs and waddles so they are not as susceptible to frostbite.

Plymouth Rock females have small combs and waddles so they are not as susceptible to frostbite.

1. Plymouth Rock

These black and white chickens are extremely popular in backyard flocks. They are docile and they lay about 200 large brown eggs a year. They are a pretty healthy breed and live for about 10-12 years if they are well taken care of.

Plymouth Rocks do well in the heat as long as they have adequate water and shade. They are sturdy chickens, so they do well in the winter as well. The females have small combs, but roosters are a bit bigger so they may be more susceptible to frostbite. You can prevent this by applying vaseline to their combs and waddles when it is freezing outside. Overall they are a sturdy, friendly breed that does well in a variety of different temperatures.

Rhode Island Reds are one of the most popular chickens.

Rhode Island Reds are one of the most popular chickens.

2. Rhode Island Red

Another super popular chicken breed is the Rhode Island Red. They are fairly large and excellent layers, laying about 260 large light brown eggs a year. Their feathers are red and fairly tough, so they have extra protection against the elements. The hens are known to have a good temperament, but the roosters can be aggressive. If you need a rooster to protect your flock, a Rhode Island Red may be a perfect choice.

They are popular in all climates because they are such tough chickens. They may be one of the hardiest chickens you can find. They do well in all temperatures, from hot and humid to frigid winters. One unique trait is that they continue laying eggs even in cold temperatures.

A Brahma chicken. Note the many feathers.

A Brahma chicken. Note the many feathers.

3. Brahma

Brahmas are large chickens, distinguished by having lots of feathers - they even have feathered feet! They are tough and sturdy and can be kept for meat or eggs. They lay about 130-150 large brown eggs a year. Although their large size can be intimidating, they are known for being very friendly birds.

All of their feathers and their small combs make Brahmas very resistant to the cold. However, their bedding needs to be dry to keep them from having foot problems. Despite their large size, Brahmas do well in the summer heat, especially the ones with lighter-colored feathers.

An Australorp rooster. Their standard color is black with a slight green sheen.

An Australorp rooster. Their standard color is black with a slight green sheen.

4. Australorp

Australorps are another dual-purpose chicken that are known for their friendly disposition. Their standard color is black and they weigh about 6-8 pounds. They are excellent egg layers and can lay up to 250 eggs a year! The hens have a tendancy to be broody, but this is great if you want to hatch chicks in your own back yard.

Australorps are heavy and they have small combs, so they do very well in cold temperatures. They were originally bred in Austrailia, so they are also very heat resistant. They have been known to keep laying in very hot and very cold temperatures!

Easter Eggers come in a variety of different colors.

Easter Eggers come in a variety of different colors.

5. Easter Egger

Easter eggers are mixed breed chickens, but they are commonly sold and easy to find. True to their name, they are known for laying beautiful colored eggs. They can lay blue, pink, or green eggs. One hen can only lay one color of eggs, so if your hen lays a green egg, she will always lay green eggs. They are known for being very friendly; indeed, many of them even enjoy being picked up. Easter Eggers are great layers - about 200-280 eggs per year.

Easter Eggers are another hardy breed that does well in both the heat and cold. They are not prone to frostbite in the winter, and they tolerate the hot weather as long as they have shade and cool water.

Sussex chickens love to forage.

Sussex chickens love to forage.

6. Sussex

Sussex chickens are easygoing and are known to love foraging. If you like watching chickens free range, the Sussex could be a good choice for you. They lay over 200 eggs per year, and they are dual-purpose chickens. Even the roosters are known to have a friendly disposition.

Sussex chickens are fairly large, and their weight helps them cope well with cold temperatures. They do have dense feathers so they are better suited for cold weather. They are hardy and do well in the summer, but not in extreme heat.

Orpington chickens are known for their dense feathering and large size.

Orpington chickens are known for their dense feathering and large size.

7. Orpington

These beautiful chickens are large and fluffy, and they come in many colors. They are known for being friendly; some people even compare them to dogs! They lay about 200 eggs per year. The hens do go broody quite often, and they make great mothers.

Their dense feathering and large size make them a very cold-hardy breed. Many hens even keep laying right through the winter. They have a mid-size comb, so with plenty of shade and water, they will do fine in the summer.

Works Cited

Easter Egger: Everything You Need To Know About This Chicken

Sussex Chicken Care Guide: Everything You Need To Know

Australorp Chicken

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2022 Jess H