In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 24, 2014
Monmouth County
My name is Jamie and I am new to BYC. We've been talking about raising chickens for a few years now, and finally are doing it! My husband is in the process of building a coop as we speak. I was hoping to get some suggestions on the best breed for handling cold weather (we are in NJ), laying a decent number of eggs, and be somewhat docile and mild mannered (we have 3 small kids).

Looking forward to gaining a ton of knowledge from all of you!
Hello Jamie, I am also in NJ! I have sex links, buff orpingtons, EEs, marans, australorps and a minorca. With the exception of the minorca, all of these birds do very well in the cold! The minorca was also ok, but the large comb was susceptible to frostbite. All of these birds are hearty and reliable layers. There are more breeds that are cold hardy, but these breeds have worked great for me thus far. The birds are docile if handled from the start, however my minorca and one buff orpington are very flighty. The sex links, australorps, and other orps are very docile, and the EEs are strange, but not impossible to handle.

I hope your coop construction is going well. I am in the process of expanding myself. I would also post in the New Jersey forum to see if there are chicken owners in your area who can give you advice about birds and feed. There is a poultry show in Sussex on May 17th, and that is a great place to buy chickens and meet chicken owners. You can also get chicks at places like Tractor Supply, but the show is also good for pullets and older birds.

Best of luck!!
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Welcome to BYC!

And welcome to the world of chickens!! Lots of hardy breeds out there to choose from that are not only cold hardy, but are great layers as well. The Orpington breeds do really well in cold weather...Buff Orpingtons and the Black Australorps. Both of these breeds are very docile, friendly and lay very well. Our winter time over night lows hover around zero much of the winter and these temps don't even phase my Australorps.

But you might want to take a look at these two breeds pages. They have some quick fun facts about all the breeds and their attributes...



You can also do some chatting with others in your state thread to see what breeds they raise and other tips on surviving your summers and winters...


Oh, and stop by our learning center too for lots of good articles on all the aspects of keeping poultry...


So make yourself at home here on BYC. Good luck with the coop build and welcome to our flock!

My sex links are very friendly and fun to spend time with! We handled them a lot when they were young. You can pet them, they will run to you (especially if you often bring bugs caught in the yard), follow you around the chicken coop, be curious about any hole you dig, and eat blades of grass when handed to them. You do have to watch where you step because they are always underfoot! They started laying eggs during our usually cold Texas winter this past season...8 out of 10 were laying before the winter turned to spring. (We had several 20-degree-Fahrenheit days with most days being just below freezing).

That's my 2 cents! Enjoy what breed(s) you decide on!
Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! TwoCrows gave you some great links to get you started! Be sure to check the BYC Breeds section when you have narrowed down your choices for member reviews on the breeds. You might consider a mixed flock for a colorful egg basket. Besides the brown egg layers, EEs are popular because of the blue/green eggs and Welsummers or Marans because of the dark brown. Most white egg layers are rather active and have large combs, but some that lay light brown eggs like Faverolles or Sussex are winter hardy.
Welcome BYC, Australorps sound like the breed that would best the best for you. I have two australorps and they are very quiet and don't mind being picked up. They are probably my fav chicken.
Good luck!!

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