Which breeds are the best winter layers?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Bullitt, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Which chickens breeds are the best winter layers?

    Does the breed's laying slow down in the winter, or does it increase? I know some breeds are supposed to lay better in the winter than the rest of the year.

    Do you purposely have some breeds that are winter layers to balance out egg production throughout the year?
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2013
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    My hatchery Black Australorps lay all winter, though they do slow down. I've never heard that any breed lays more in winter than spring and summer.
     
  3. jflo

    jflo New Egg

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    Purely anecdotal of course, but my Barred Rock lays through her molt, through winter, through a case of tapeworms (poor girl), pretty much anything. She's a tough bird and follows me around the yard telling me all about it. Contrast this to my Buff Orpington who will use any excuse not to lay and goes broody every other month. She's more interested in preening but is a sweet chicken. The Americauna/Easter Egger mystery bird is somewhere in between - takes 2 months off at molt, but otherwise a good layer.
     
  4. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The Black Australorp is a good laying breed. It makes sense that they would lay well all year.

    I read this on The Livestock Conservancy website. http://www.livestockconservancy.org/index.php/heritage/internal/cochin

    "The eggs of the Cochin are extremely large, and the majority of them come during the winter."

    I think feather-legged chickens are generally good winter layers. But with the description of the Cochin, it was the first time I had heard of a breed that lays better in the winter.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2013
  5. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think most people would agree that Barred Rocks are great layers. I suppose like with the Australorp, any great laying breed will probably lay through the winter. Just in most cases the hens will slow down in the winter.

    Does your Barred Rock slow down her laying in the winter?
     
  6. DCchicken

    DCchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hedemora are probably the most cold hardy bird in the world and will continue to lay and free-range around 5 degrees above zero. The downside is that they do not do well in the heat. So if you are in an area that gets hot in the summer, be prepared to artificially cool Hedemora birds. They were originally imported by GFF but their website is listing them as permanently unavailable. However, there should be many breeders around the country that have them.
     
  7. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I see Greenfire Farms has Hedemora unsexed chicks at $49 each. I'll pass.

    http://greenfirefarms.com/store/category/chickens/hedemora/

    The website states, "Conversely, Hedemora do not adapt well to hot climates, and they have been known to die of heat stroke during particularly hot days in southern Sweden."

    If they will die in the summer in southern Sweden, then they would probably die in most places in the United States in the summer. They sound like they have specifically evolved for cold weather, so they would be more trouble than they are worth in most areas of the world.
     
  8. DCchicken

    DCchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I only have 2 Hedemora and both will live in a cooled coop in the summer. I believe they do well in zones 2-4. I am looking forward to letting them free range in the snow this winter. If I were still living in Colorado or Wyoming, this would be an excellent breed to raise. Mine seem to like the rain as well.
     
  9. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How do you cool the coop? Do you have like a window unit air conditioner?
     
  10. DCchicken

    DCchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My sister in Texas uses frozen 2L soda bottles and a fan. But that requires a lot of attention and maintenance as you have to keep rotating the frozen bottles. My Hedemora were not outside this summer but next summer I will most likely just use an evaporative cooler. Plus my Hedemora coop is hidden out in the shade of the forest. If we get that rare 100+ day, I will bring them into my breeding room which is temperature controlled by a nice spit AC system.

    If you don't have that kind of setup, try the frozen soda bottles.
     

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