Which breeds are hardier for your area? Why?

adgcountrygirl

Songster
9 Years
Jun 5, 2011
260
73
196
North Central Texas
My Coop
My Coop
One of my favorite things about this community is their willingness to share what they have learned and talk about their favorite breeds! Everyone will have different favorites for many reasons, but there is no denying that some chickens do better where you live than others! Please share your Whats and Whys!!! Here's what I found from my flock experience...
My first flock was 11 "mutts" hatched at the school where my husband was teaching at the time. I learned some of the possible breed crosses of my flock by studying here. I added a few breeds the following Spring. I tended to go for Heritage breeds and "pretty" ones.
This year, I looked over my record book and this is what I found for the mixed breeds as well as the other breeds I have had. While some of this information may be breed specific, it may also have to do with the area we live and how it affects that breed.
First, every White Leghorn I've had, tended to suffer from being egg bound at some point. My first one was treated carefully several times and finally died, but the others only had to be treated once or twice. Lack of proper minerals? Too much heat? I don't know. I won't have that breed again.
Second, my flock is allowed to free range. While this inevitably has risks, I take precautions and find the benefits outweigh the risk most days. Red sex-links tend to be the first to be picked off when stray dogs wander into our neighborhood without my notice. I don't know if they are slower, not as cautious, or just explore farther than the rest of the flock. It may also be that in the past, I had more Reds than other breeds and the odds were against them due to that.
Third, Wyandottes and Black Jersey Giants, whether a cross-breed or full breed, tend to be the sturdiest birds in my flock. Weather is nothing to them. I'm guessing also due to their size, they have no real challengers to their position in the flock even when they get older. My oldest hen, Jasper, is a 7 year old Wyandotte/Americana cross and she has been the dominant hen from the time she was a chick. My 2 Giants and one that is half Giant and half (what ever Beakman is) have never challenged her even when she suffered from Wry Neck. I have since retired Jasper to the Senior Coop with Beakman even though she is pretty well recovered. Let's not chance it, right?
I love every one of my feather babies, but this Spring my adopted chicks will be chosen based on the breeds that seem to last around this place. The Wyandottes and Giants will be ordered for that reason. They are my oldest birds. But, I will also be adding some Speckled Sussex because they are pretty and they look like they will be able to hide well in the brush behind our fenced yard. And let's face it... I'm a sucker for a pretty bird!
 

adgcountrygirl

Songster
9 Years
Jun 5, 2011
260
73
196
North Central Texas
My Coop
My Coop
Edit: I did have two white Leghorns that did NOT suffer from being egg bound. The Red Sex-Links are also almost always the last ones to finish their molt. Every scraggly looking bird I have as of 11/19/2018 are all RSL and only a few of the RSL girls look as good as the rest of the flock right now!
 

adgcountrygirl

Songster
9 Years
Jun 5, 2011
260
73
196
North Central Texas
My Coop
My Coop
Orpingtons- Strong, hardy, weather proof, lovely, easy to care for
One of our friends is very fond of Orpingtons as well. He has never had problems with his flock. :) I would like to see how well they do on our side of town. We have fewer stray dogs, but living in the country, I guess we all see our share of stray dogs.
 

Melky

Spring has sprung!
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
4,154
20,246
962
Edgewood, KY
I loved the Barred Rock, Golden Buffs, and Speckled Sussex. All nice birds with sweet dispositions. The Speckled Sussex is most friendly and lays pretty brown eggs. Golden Buffs are quiet in the neighborhood and easy on the feed bill since get only 4 lbs.
 

CannedMonster

Free Ranging
Nov 26, 2017
2,275
4,808
577
Southwest Idaho
Our issues have to do more with climate rather than predators.
Although I did recently lose one of my two EE pullets to a roaming dog.
I’ve noticed the EEs like to explore, investigate and wander over the fence (even with a clipped wing!).
I often said I wouldn’t get EEs because my friends bird would always fly over the 6’ fence.
But the thought of those colorful eggs tempted me too much.

We have very hot summers and cold winters.
Our winters aren’t as frigid as some areas but it can get down to the single digits and occasionally minus zero.
Thankfully we rarely get deep snow.
This last summer was in the 90s and several weeks at around 100 with a couple of days at 110!
My red sex link has a very hard time with the heat.
I had 3 SL Wyandottes that did better but were rehomed due to bullying.
Interestingly, they’re doing better in their new home with a much larger flock.
My Naked Necks are fine and seem to be okay with winter so far (lows in the low 20s).
I have 11 four month old birds of various breeds that are doing well with winter.
3 Black Australorps
3 Speckled Sussex
2 Partridge Rocks
2 Silver Penciled Rocks (one of these would hop the fence with the EE)
1 Easter Egger
We’ll see how they do with summer next year.

My bantams also do very well but my Silkie didn’t make it to winter as he died suddenly at the end of October.
Right now my biggest concern is a broody bantam Cochin sitting on 2 eggs in winter!
I’m wondering if there’s any way to keep them from going broody in winter...perhaps only get chicks at certain times of year? I don’t know...
 

RumneyRoost

Songster
Jul 24, 2018
283
420
131
Ontario
My sexlinks were never very good at avoiding predators so I had to stop free ranging them.

When we moved in the spring I started a small flock with two barred rocks and two cream legbars. One of the barred rocks passed in August so I added a speckled Sussex and a double laced Barnevelder.
All of them are good at watching for predators.
The Barnevelder is very friendly, she hops up on my shoulder and watches everyone. One of the legbars is quite shy, the other has an attitude. The Sussex and the Rock are very similar, they're docile and smart.

I'm in Canada where we get a lot of snow, and we can get some bone chilling damp cold days. I'm predicting that one of the legbars may end up with frostbite on her comb, it's fairly large compared to everyone else. The coop is well ventilated though so fingers crossed.
 

BantyChooks

Pullarius
Project Manager
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Aug 1, 2015
58,873
208,193
1,727
Chanteclers and Leghorns have been my favourite for hardiness. I live pretty far north, and weeks where the highs don't scrape zero Fahrenheit aren't unusual. Yes, the leghorns get some frostbite, but wow, are they ever tough! They are out and about no matter the wind or snow, they don't fall into lethargy and die when it's cold, and they lay through almost the whole winter. Chanteclers have good feathering, sensible yet active temperaments, small headgear, and they lay well too. Plus, they're a bit of local history, so that's nice. Ameraucanas are also good for Northern climates, but my particular line is pretty rubbish at laying. Gotta work on that...
 

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