Choosing a laid-back, heat-tolerant breed


9 Years
Sep 29, 2010
Still doing my research on a small backyard flock, and one question I haven't answered yet is what breed would be the best choice. I'm looking at 2 to 4 chickens to keep as pets and for eggs. We live in Austin, TX, so heat tolerance is definitely an issue... cold not as much. We do have pretty good shade in the backyard, but last summer we had a lot of days when the temperature was over 100 F and that's hot no matter how much shade you have! Egg production would definitely be a priority in selection. And if possible, I'd like a relatively easygoing breed, especially if that would mean a little less noise to disturb any easily disturbed neighbors.

When I was a kid we had Rhode Island Reds, Buff Orpingtons, and Barred Rocks. None of them were especially tame because we didn't handle them very regularly once they grew up, so I'm not sure how those temperaments work out. I seem to recall the Rocks were more friendly, and the one really aggressive rooster we had was an Orpington. But that could have just been individual birds, so I'd be interested to know what others' experiences have been. I don't think we ever lost any chickens to the heat, but they free-ranged on our acreage so they had more options to escape the heat.

I've been reading about Leghorns and they sound like they might be a good option in terms of heat tolerance and egg production, but I don't know much about their temperament. Would a few of them, regularly handled, be reasonably docile? I've also read a little about Red Stars, but don't have any personal experience with them.

No roosters for us due to noise ordinances, so I'm only concerned about the hens. And I admit... I do kinda sorta like the brown eggs better, but not at the expense of the other factors I've mentioned. It's just what I grew up with and I think they're pretty, but I know there's no real difference in the eggs. Oh, and I might consider letting them free range for an hour or two at a time, just in our backyard (it has a 6' fence), so if there are some breeds that are more or less likely to stay nicely inside the yard, I'd certainly love to know!

Thanks yet again -- y'all have all been so helpful and I truly appreciate it!

Delawares! They make great pets! Oh my gosh .... mine are like lap puppies. I have read that the hatchery Delawares are not like this, but the breeder quality Delawares definately are. They are my families' favorites! Heat tolerant .... oh yes, it has been over 100* most of the summer this year, and they were just fine.
If you like them, Naked Necks are my choice for heat.

They have never had a problem with Heat and Humidity here (Houston Area)and lay a good size brown egg that gets bigger. Great around little children, they will always, stoop for pettings. NHR and BR same thing, calm don't mouth off much when laying their egg. Have to admit the NN's do sometimes but have the better personality around children, I think anyway.

The one that handles the heat best though is the Naked Necks. They have less feathers.

Of course my number one choice for heat is the Sicilian Buttercup, but they don't meet your criteria.

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