Best Cold Hardy, Snowing, Below Freezing, Laying Breeds?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by patman75, Dec 12, 2009.

  1. patman75

    patman75 Chillin' With My Peeps

    What cold hardy, good laying chickens would you recommend when it is below freezing and snowing all winter? I have a mixed flock and some are supposed to be cold hardy. But when no eggs lately I am wondering what the BYC community has had best success with?

    Thanks all!
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2009
  2. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm pleased with my mutts- golden comets, great layers and cold-hardy...
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    There are two different issues here - I am not certain which (or both? or what) you are asking about:

    -- there is what people usually refer to as "cold hardiness", meaning tendency to not get frostbite or suffer other illness/stress/etc from extreme cold. Chanteclers and buckeyes are typically cited as the two cold-hardiest breeds in that sense. The limitation for otherwise-cold-hardy single-combed breeds such as RIR and Rocks and so forth tends to be the combs getting frostbit (points on hens, whole thing plus wattles on roos).

    -- then there is winter laying. Some breeds are considered to be better winter (short-day, cold temp) layers than others, although different people tend to say somewhat different things and I suspect it depends a lot on genetic line and on daylength.

    There are other relevant issues too, such as feed consumption during wintertime, or age of first laying (which is related to winter laying in the sense that birds that don't start laying til like 5-6 months of age may not lay at all until they are nearly a year old, unless you are providng supplemental light)

    I don't think that answers your question but perhaps it will help figure out what the question exactly IS [​IMG]?

  4. pips&peeps

    pips&peeps There is no "I" in Ameraucana

    Jan 18, 2008
    Newman Lake, WA
    Ameraucanas, ee's, birds with tight feathers and/or pea combs.......
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2009
  5. wildorchid053

    wildorchid053 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 12, 2009
    syracuse area, ny
    i have RIR and red sexlink.. they are still laying minus one egg a day once in a while.. so far their is no frost bite.. hope it continues.
  6. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    My light brahma (large fowl) is doing great so far this winter. In fact, if it weren't for her and my EE, I wouldn't be getting hardly any eggs.

    ETA: my EE is laying the most eggs followed closely by my brahma.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 12, 2009
  7. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Can't go wrong with a LF brahma. They can handle whatever weather mother nature throws at them, heat or cold. My girls are laying right thru winter; did last year too. Only stopped for their molt.
  8. RhodeRunner

    RhodeRunner Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 22, 2009
    Ashtabula, Ohio
    My best winterhardy egg layers are the Brahmas, Easter Egger, and Sex-Links. The Brahmas seem to take the weather the best though. I would say if you are looking for very hardy winter fowl you would want to looking Brahma, Easter Egger, Chantecler, Wyandotte, Buckeye, Dominique, and Silkies (but they don't handle getting dirty, and wet as well).
    If you want just want winter layers, but are not the most cold hardy thing on the block then almost all dual-purpose breeds would apply. Stay away from those thin Mediterraneans like the Leghorn, and you should be good.
    Good luck, and hopefully some eggs soon. You may also want to keeping a light in their coop for a few of the darker hours, to help encourage them.
  9. Freeholder

    Freeholder Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 23, 2008
    Klamath County, OR
    I haven't had an egg from my EE's since October, but the Wyandottes (now about eight months old) are laying pretty well, even without supplemental light. I'm not getting an egg a day from each of them, but under the circumstances I'm very pleased to be getting more or less an egg every other day. I do give them hot water in the mornings.

  10. jbowen9

    jbowen9 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2009
    southwest Virginia
    I hate to say it but my naked necks lay better in the winter than anything on my place i guess they feel guilty for being so ugly

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