Cold Weather Breeds Revisited

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by gootziecat, Nov 22, 2014.

  1. gootziecat

    gootziecat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There have been plenty of posts about cold weather breeds. But we are just starting into winter with unseasonably cold weather, which would test any layer.

    I'm not getting eggs but I'd sure love to hear from those that are, especially if you don't have lights to encourage laying. If your breed is laying, let the rest of us know which breeds shine.

    If you have any other interesting tidbits to share about your breed and this frigid weather, pass it along.

    Thanks.
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    I've had somewhere around 30 breeds in my life but I only raise Black Penedesencas now. They're known to take a winter break but I'm still getting enough eggs for us. I usually have a lot of hens but mink wiped out all but one flock this summer so I have 8 laying pullets and 2 mature hens. 2-4 eggs a day and yesterday 2 hens went broody in the same nest. Last year about this time I had a hen go broody and hatch 3 eggs.
    Mediterranean breeds are good for heat but these guys handled -19 last winter with the breeze blowing right through the coop. Some other Med egg breeds that should be able to handle your climate and lay well are Minorcas, Anconas and Leghorns. Wheatens, Partridge and Crele Penedesencas are egg type birds but Blacks are DP.

    All of the American Class breeds should handle your climate well. Chanteclers, Rocks, JGs, Javas, Buckeyes, RIRs.
    Also Dorkings, Orps, Brahmas lay in winter.

    ETA
    If anyone has experience with Orloffs, I'd be interested in hearing about their winter skills. I think it gets too hot here for them.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2014
  3. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    The best layers I've had in cold weather over the years have been Black Sex Links. They've been persistent even in temperatures well below freezing. My Red Sex Links have run a close second. Among dozens of standard breeds, the best cold weather layers I've had are Black Australorps. I've raised them where winter temperatures have dropped to 30 F below zero; and while their lay rate does drop off some, I still continue to get quite a few eggs from them even in really cold temperatures.
     
  4. gootziecat

    gootziecat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i would have thought breeds with rose or pea combs would shine over the single comb breeds. Michael, did your Australorps have lights during the winter or heat?
     
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    You're right about the comb shape helping prevent comb frostbite but that's about the extent of it. I imagine our winters are similar. The only birds I've had comb/wattle problems with were Mediterranean roosters. Same breed hens never got frostbite.
     
  6. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    No, I've never had supplemental light or heat for my flock during the winter. I've always just made sure that my coop has good ventilation under the eaves so that no moisture collects in it, that there are no cold wind drafts blowing directly onto the flock when they are in the coop, and that there are no leaks in the coop. Feathers are wonderful insulators and moisture is a much greater danger than cold.
     

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