Winter-hardy DP breeds?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by myfivegirls, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. myfivegirls

    myfivegirls Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 12, 2009
    Delhi, NY
    I’m researching different breeds for my spring order and would like some input. I like my EEs and Red Stars, and will be getting replacements for my older hens. The Wyandottes are very pretty, and I like that their combs don’t easily get frostbite, but they consider laying eggs an option. Out of the 4 Wyandottes (1 ½ yrs old), I’m getting only about 1-2 eggs a day from them. They layed a little better when they were pullets, but they had small eggs then.

    I’d like to try some other breeds, especially some dual purpose ones, so that I can raise my own chicks and not have to buy them every year. I know that hatchery quality DP chickens are as good as those from breeders, but I’m not looking for SOP birds. I also know that with my variety of hens I have now and would like to get, they’d just be “mutts”, but that doesn’t matter to me.

    My goal would be to cull the Wyandottes, except for possibly one, and possibly the 2 leghorns, as they’re not a favorite. I’d like to add all or some of these breed hens: Barred Rock, Buff Orp, Dominique, NH Red, Speckled Sussex, Chanteclers, Astralorp & Buckeye; and keep my EEs, Red Stars, Black Star & Partridge Rock. I’ve had several hens and pullets go broody, so I’d like to sometime let them hatch out some eggs. The Blue Andalusian rooster I have (got for free) wouldn’t be a good match with the current hens, as he’s small-framed and has a huge comb.

    The problem that I’m running into is this:

    We’re a zone 4/5, so they need to be cold-hardy and winter layers, as well as, substantial size for meat (for old hens & extra roos). I’m thinking of a 8-9 lb rose or pea-combed rooster who also has the genetics for great laying year-round.

    I’ve been thinking that a New Hampshire or Speckled Sussex rooster would be a good choice, but they have large single combs and wattles that would be susceptible to frostbite.

    I’ve thought of a Wyandotte rooster, as they have rose combs, but I’ve not been impressed with the hen’s laying abilities.

    I’ve thought of an “Easter Egger” rooster, as they have pea combs, are pretty good layers (& combined with brown egg layers, would make a “olive egger”), have a huge color scheme in their genetics, but they tend to be on the small size.

    As far as cold-hardiness goes, the coop has gotten down to below zero when it’s been -10 or -15, and while I haven’t had much problem with even the single-combed hens getting frostbitten, I don’t consider the single-combed hens as hardy as the rose-combed, pea-combed, etc.

    Any suggestions, comments, etc?
  2. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Definitely consider Barred Rocks & RIR (the heritage kind).

    I would suggest Cochins, but they really aren't known for their egg laying ability [​IMG]

    ETA: I have no issues with frostbite and we get just as cold here. As long as there is adequate ventilation, you shouldn't worry either.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2011
  3. myfivegirls

    myfivegirls Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 12, 2009
    Delhi, NY
    Basically, I'm trying to find out if there's any breeds that you'd suggest that excel in these qualities:
    Or a mix that would produce this kind of offspring:

    1. Egg laying - abt 5-7/wk

    2. Meat from young roosters in 12-16 wks & good-sized old hens for stew, sausage, etc; not the kinds that once dressed out, you're blessed to have 1-2 lbs of meat

    3. Cold hardiness - preferably without large single combs (even though the RSL have done fine in winter); aiming toward eventually rose & pea combs

    4. Pretty colors and variety - not just various shades of solid brown, black or white
  4. OkChickens

    OkChickens Orpingtons Are Us

    Dec 1, 2010
    Owasso, Oklahoma
    I'd say EE's for the Rooster and hens. When i had my EE's 1 roo and 5 hens last winter it got to -26 degrees here in Oklahoma and they we in a uninsulated coop with no heat and still layed 2-3 eggs. besides that crazy cold. They usually layed 3-4 eggs each day all year long. My Roo was about 8lbs and hens were 5-7. I had 1 Really fat feather footed EE that layed every day no matter what.


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