breed suggestions for my location: Green Bay, WI

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Chickiemom1012, Apr 23, 2009.

  1. Chickiemom1012

    Chickiemom1012 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 21, 2009
    I am looking for breed suggestions, I live in Green Bay WI and am concerned about the cold winters. I am looking for social birds and some egglaying. Any suggestions? [​IMG]
  2. ChicksnPacas

    ChicksnPacas Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 9, 2008
    Byron, IL
    Hi, We live in Northern Illinois with similar winters. This is the first year with chickens. We have two Buff Orpintons, two Black Astralorps, one Rhode Island Red, two silkies, two Easter Eggers, one Brown Leghorn, three small cochins, and two large cochins.

    We keep them all in a very sturdy coop in the winter and only very rarely turned on a red light, like the ones you use in a brooder to give just a bit of extra heat. The problems we encountered last winter was frostbite on the tips of our rooster's comb that is a small cochin. The Brown Leghorn and one of the Buffs also had a bit of frostbite on their combs. A few others looked like they were on the verge of a problem.

    Many posts on the forum said to put vaseline on the larger combs in really cold weather. Well, easier said then done. Then they put their heads in their side or under someone else and the vaseline comes off. So even with our best efforts, some of their tips froze.

    So I guess to sum up for winter concerns, we had the best luck and less worry with breeds with really small combs, such as the female cochins and the Easter Eggers (they also lay colored eggs which is really fun). The silkies did really well, but some feel they have a harder time staying warm in the winter. Ours were fine since they always snuggle under a bigger chicken [​IMG] As far as temperament in our group, the Buffs, Easter Eggers, and small cochins are the friendliest and love to be on your lap. The worst one for temperament is the Brown Leghorn. She doesn't want to be touched, but she lays wonderful eggs. I think just like people though, even the same breed will have different personalities.

    Good luck, there are so many choices!
  3. Chickiemom1012

    Chickiemom1012 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 21, 2009
    Thanks so much for all the info, some of those were breeds I was considering as well. Do you think running the lamp more often would have helped. I am making my plans for providing electricity to the coop as well.

    I guess I am wondering how cold is too cold for them, anything below freezing? I have been looking for that info. and the answers have ben vauge. Thanks for your relpy!

  4. McSpin

    McSpin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 1, 2007
    South Western NY
    I'm in upstate NY and our coldest temps were about 15-20 below the past 2 winters. I have some big-comb breeds - largest being welsummers. I do not heat their coop, just the waterer. The first winter they got a bit of frostbite. An experienced chicken keeper near me, said that humidity was the biggest problem. He pointed out that most people keep the coop too tight - not enough ventilation. He kept large-comb banties in an unheated, drafty barn and never had frostbit in decades of keeping the birds in this condition. A heated water bowl will give off a lot of vapor as well as their breath. When kept in close quarters without proper ventilation, the water vapor is what freezes on their combs. This past winter I opened up the air flow substantially, and they came through without any frostbite.
  5. Chickenmaven

    Chickenmaven Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 6, 2009
    I have to ditto the advice to go for birds with smaller combs. I live in MI. We did the Vaseline thing on the comb of our Andalusian. It definately saved him, but he still ended up with crunchy spots on the tips of his comb. And we ran the heat lamp 24/7 during the coldest days. He was the only one we worried about.
    If I had to do it over, I would get dominiques, austrolorps, chanteclers and cochins - only.
    The chick catalogues often list whether birds are "cold hardy." I know Meyers does.
    Hope this helps.
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    As far as breeds, I'll give you a few links that may help. The Feathersite and Henderson Chart give a lot of information on the breeds. The My Pet Chickens tool gives some breed suggestions. It won't help a lot on the sex links which may be a good choice for you.

    My Pet Chickens

    Most breeds do well in the cold weather, but breeds with smaller combs are less at risk. And some, like the Buckeye and Chantecler, were bred for cold climates. With most breeds with proper ventilation and good draft protection, I would not be concerned down to single digits where I live. It usually doesn't stay that cold that long and the outside humidity is usually very low here when it is that cold. I'll include a link to Pat's ventilation page which I think should be required reading for anyone building a coop.
    Good Luck
  7. BuckeyeDave

    BuckeyeDave Overrun with Buckeyes

    May 27, 2008
    Minster, Ohio
    My Coop
    There is a breed bred to endure cold winters, it's a good egg layer and friendly, it, of course, is the buckeye. The buckeye has a pea comb so you have less frost bite, they need more protein than other breeds because they are so active and enjoy the snow.

    I have pics on the website when it was -17, they were great. They really are an outstanding breed, cold hardy, great egg layers and very friendly.
  8. ceadar post

    ceadar post Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 10, 2009
    I live 15 min. from you I have wyandottes and never had a problem with them. Chanteclers would also be a good choice. I had some orpingtons when I started and had some problems with combs freezing. But it's all in what you want.
  9. ChicksnPacas

    ChicksnPacas Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 9, 2008
    Byron, IL
    To answer your question on the heat lamp. We only used it when temps were way below zero, so not too often. I tend to worry about the chickens way too much, and all I could picture was a fire somehow starting. When it was used, it was actually not over the chickens, just in an open area to let a bit of heat rise. We also used a heated waterer as someone else mentioned. Even with a well-built coop their water was freezing. So adding electric to your coop will be really helpful.

    The other comment about ventilation is very important. Your first reaction when acquiring chickens is to board them up tight and warm in the winter which is the worst thing you can do. Make sure to read up on the best way to ventilate your coop. Lots of information on the forum.

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