Chickens for the Texas Heat

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by robisonfamily7, Feb 2, 2012.

  1. robisonfamily7

    robisonfamily7 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 2, 2012
    Houston, TX
    I am 16 year old homeschooler, I live north of Houston, TX and I am starting a backyard chicken tractor project.
    My aim is good layers (5-7 eggs per week) and a good butchering weight
    I was looking to buy assortment 15 chickens of the following breeds:

    2 Buff Orps.
    2 Rhd. Is. Reds
    2 Easter Eggers
    2 Australorps
    2 Sliver Laced Wyandottes
    2 Black or Red Sex Links (haven't decided yet)
    2 Barred Plymouth rocks
    and 1 Jersey Black Giant (to round it off)

    I was looking for variety to try out some different breeds to see what worked for me.
    But, last year our summer was verrry hot. That was because of the El Nino weather patterns that come through the south every 10-15 years. It is forecasted to be as or worse than last year.

  2. Vamvakas

    Vamvakas Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 30, 2011
    North Branford, CT
    Sounds like a pretty good mix for heat for the most part. You should also try a few turkens there good in heat and cold weather. I want to say Wyandottes and Jersey Gaints are better in cold then heat, I could be wrong though..
    Diannastarr likes this.
  3. starhobo14

    starhobo14 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 28, 2012
    Missoula, Montana
    Don't for get that Leghorns are very good hot weather birds and the meat breed is quite large.
    Diannastarr likes this.
  4. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 16, 2012
    Here are my recommendations:

    Rhode Island Reds are dual-purpose chickens (eggs and meat) and about the best brown-egg layers, and they are cold and heat tolerant. But Rhode Island Reds rarely go broody (sit on eggs), if you plan to hatch some chicks. Rhode Island Reds are not known to be the most affectionate chickens.

    The Australorp is another good dual-purpose breed that is a good brown-egg layer and is heat tolerant. Australorps are considered average for broodiness, so these hens will probably hatch some chicks for you. (You can put other breeds' eggs in the Australorp nest and hatch different breeds.)

    Both of those breeds should lay about five eggs a week on average throughout a year.

    White leghorns are the best for laying eggs. They lay white eggs. But these chickens are on the small side and not as good for raising for meat. But they should lay about six eggs a week on average throughout a year, and they are heat tolerant.

    Most meat birds are processed when they mature. Cornish Rocks only take about six weeks until they are ready to be processed. I think they are fairly heat tolerant, or you could order these chicks this month and have them in the freezer by the end of March.

    Here is a link to the Cornish Rocks:

    Ideal Poultry is in Texas, so they are not too far away from you.

    If you want one breed for both meat and eggs and is heat tolerant, the Rhode Island Red is the best choice. You could buy a couple Australorps if you want to hatch eggs. Or Barred Plymouth Rocks might be good brooders, but I understand Barred Rocks are not as heat tolerant as Australorps or Rhode Island Reds.

    Good luck with the project.
    Diannastarr likes this.
  5. OldGuy43

    OldGuy43 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Red Sex-Links have worked well for me here in Austin. Currently averaging 8 eggs/day from a flock of 12, with no supplemental light.
  6. hippiehen

    hippiehen wastefully exuberant

    Aug 27, 2008
    Utopia, Texas
    Sex links do good here as well as australorps. Really anything with a nice large comb. I give mine shallow pans of fresh water to stand in during the harshest months of the summer, they seem to appreciate it!
    Diannastarr likes this.
  7. m.r.heavenlyhens

    m.r.heavenlyhens Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 19, 2011
    Hi Robin, I live in the North Houston area also. I have only been raising chickens for a few years but I have watched a lot of different breeds handle the heat here in TX. The breeds are Delaware, Easter Eggers, Welsummers, Australorps, Rhode Island Red, and a bunch of sex links. From my own observation and keeping track of eggs laid in the hotest weather, the australorps did best with the Rhode Islands second. So I have just picked up an order of 15 RIR and 15 Australorp from Ideal. They are two weeks old and doing great. I have used several different hatcheries and have been the happiest with the chicks I received from them. I still keep a few of the other breeds but these two breeds are the two that seems to suit this climate the best. The RIR are not broody, but the Australorp ARE. I have had several sets of all different mix chicks that the ladies have hatched for me. One of the hatches was 3 Delaware hen and Rhode Island Rooster mix and they were girls, she also hatched a couple of Australorp hen and Rhode Island Rooster mixes that both turned out to be cockerals and they are big enough to go into the freezer this weekend. The rest were Welsummer hens and Rhode Island Red Rooster that are growing into nice pullets. The Rhode Island are the kindest chickens and the Australorp tend to be just a little flighty but are also very kind natured, but are fiercely protective mothers. I hope this helps, this is just what I have experienced. It was so hot last summer that I bought a mister line that I put along where the chickens hang out to keep them cool. They about lived near it when it was so hot.
  8. robisonfamily7

    robisonfamily7 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 2, 2012
    Houston, TX
    Hey Thanks Guys,

    Here is the list I ordered from Ideal Poultry in Cameron TX:

    2 Barred Rock
    2 Black Australorps
    1 Jersey Black Giant
    2 Buff Orpingtons
    2 Golden Wyandottes
    2 Rhode Island Reds
    2 Ameracaunas
    2 Red Stars

    My main aim was good layers that would give a good crockpot meal after their prime.
    Also, I read that they will molt at about 18 months, one friend said to butcher when they began molting. I thought maybe I could get more out of my girls the just a year and change. Thoughts?

    Last edited: Feb 6, 2012
  9. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 16, 2012
    Well, you have a wide variety of chickens. They should all be able to stand the heat if you provide them shade and water. The pans of water for chickens to stand in and splash in is a good idea for the summer.

    You should be able to get several very productive years of egg laying from each hen. A good idea to keep the flock productive is to remove a few older chickens for meat each year and add a few young chickens to the flock. The spring is the best time to add new chickens.

    Do you plan on hatching any chicks, or will you continue to buy new chicks from a hatchery? If you plan to hatch chicks, did you get a rooster? If you plan to get a rooster, I would suggest a leghorn. A leghorn will add egg-laying productivity to your flock.

    As far as egg laying goes, here is what you can probably expect on average with some of your hens I did not mention before:

    Red Stars -- 5 eggs a week
    Barred Plymouth Rock -- 4 eggs a week
    Wyandottes -- 4 eggs a week
    Buff Orpington -- 3 eggs a week
    Jersey Giant -- 3 eggs a week
    "Easter Egger" -- Difficult to tell since this isn't a breed, but they are often similar to Ameraucana -- about 3 eggs a week

    But remember, there are individual variations, so some individual hens in a breed may be better or worse than average.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2012

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