21 Best Cold Hardy Chickens: Egg Laying, Meat & Dual-Purpose

This article is about the top 21 cold hardy chickens that are very good for cold climate areas. Most of the cold-hardy chickens lay eggs throughout winters.

These chickens are very hearty and can live in places that get below zero often or stay there all winter long.

In this post, we are going to discuss the best cold hardy chickens with their breed guide, egg laying, weight, lifespan, and pictures of the flow.

Read on to learn more.

What Are Cold Hardy Chicken Breeds?

Cold hardy chicken breeds are those that can live through cold weather. They stick together to keep warm, stay on the ground and sleep with their heads tucked away from the weather. 

We keep many chicken breeds as pets and for eggs, but not many can withstand cold weather. Many chickens die from the cold or refuse to leave their coop because it is too cold. 

The best way to make sure your flock stays safe throughout the winter is by choosing a breed of chicken that can handle the cold.

Also read: How to keep the chicken coop warm in winters?

Benefits of Raising Cold-Hardy Chickens

Below are some of the benefits of raising cold-hardy chickens:

  • Less worry and stress when it freezes: The last thing you need to do is go out in the blistering cold night to feed your chickens after a long day of work! You can put this off for another day or two without worrying about them perishing in the frigid weather.
  • More egg production during the winter: Instead of being sluggish due to the cold weather, they are more likely to lay eggs during the winter since it is so dark.
  • The hens will have thicker feathers with no frostbite: Their feet and toes will be safe from ice burn or frostbite during the winter months. No more frostbite means no more scars or infections.
  • Hens will get into the dirt and find worms for food, which lets them eat well: They don’t need to search for food outside in the snow like another breed of chickens. (This is especially good for young chicks).
  • You can spend less time taking care of them: This is great if you are busy, out of the house for long periods, or don’t feel like going out in the cold to feed them.
  • You can save money by not having to buy heating lamps and heaters for your chicken coop: If it gets freezing, you may need a heater, but this isn’t required very often.

Also read: Mealworms for chickens

21 Best Cold Hardy Chickens: Egg Laying, Meat and Dual-Purpose

1. Australorp Chicken (Dual Purpose)

One of the most popular breeds in America. Australorps are found in black and white color feathers. They have a single comb and lay light brown eggs. 

Australorps are known for being a very friendly flock and make great mothers. They are also excellent foragers. They lay an average of 250 eggs per year.

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  • Egg Color: Light Blue. (250 eggs per year.)
  • Mature Weight: Roosters 10 lbs, Hens 8 lbs.
  • Life Span: 7+ years.

2. Buckeyes (Meat Chicken)

Buckeyes are a very dual-purpose chicken breed, being great egg layers and foragers in addition to being an excellent meat bird. 

A mahogany red with black tails and red earlobes looks great on them. They lay large light brown eggs. They also have a friendly nature which makes them good around children.

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  • Egg Color: Light Brown. (150-200 eggs per year)
  • Mature Weight: Roosters 9 lbs, Hens 6 lbs.
  • Life Span: 10+ years.

3. Jersey Giants (Meat Chicken)

The Jersey Giant is a large chicken breed that can be either flighty or friendly. They are great foragers and have an excellent temperament around children, making them good pets.

Jersey Giant chickens are popularly found in blue color but also avialble in white and black color. They lay large size light brown eggs.

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  • Egg Color: Light Brown to Cream. (150-180 eggs per year)
  • Mature Weight: Roosters 13 lbs, Hens 10 lbs.
  • Life Span: 6-7 years.

4. Chanteclers (Dual-Purpose)

It is an active breed with a small cusion comb. The friendly and curious Chantecler is an excellent free-ranging chicken.

This chicken is found in white color and they lay large dark brown eggs. Their ability to take cold climates has made them popular in Canada.

Chantecler coq 1926
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  • Egg Color: Dark Brown.(180-200 eggs per year)
  • Mature Weight: Roosters 8 lbs, Hens 6 lbs.
  • Life Span: 8-9 years.

5. Delawares (Dual-Purpose)

The friendly and curious Delawares are dual-purpose chickens known for their ability to take cold climates.

They have a white body and breast, with light black barring on the ends of the hackle, wings and tails with red combs, they lay large brown eggs.

Their large size makes them poor foragers and brooders, so they need winter shelter and do best in small flocks.

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  • Egg Color: Brown.(250-280 eggs per year)
  • Mature Weight: Standard Variety: Roosters 8 lbs, Hens 6 lbs. Bantam Variety: Roosters 32 oz, Hens 28 oz
  • Life Span: 5+ years.

6. Brahma Chicken (Dual-Purpose)

Brahmas are excellent meat birds, but they don’t provide good amount eggs. They’re White with pea combs and lay large brown eggs.

A friendly chicken that can be kept outside in the cold without any trouble makes excellent pets.

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  • Egg Color: Brown.(3-4 eggs per week)
  • Mature Weight: Roosters 8 lbs., Hens 5 lbs.
  • Life Span: 5-8 years.

7. Dominique Chicken (Dual-Purpose)

Dominiques are one of the best cold climates with black and white stripes or bars. They’re excellent foragers and make great mothers. They lay medium brown eggs and have a friendly personality.

  • Egg Color: Medium Brown.(250-260 eggs per year)
  • Mature Weight: Roosters 7 lbs, Hens 5 lbs.
  • Life Span: 8 years.

8. New Hampshire Reds (Dual-Purpose)

New Hampshire Reds are a prevalent breed that is excellent as both a meat bird and egg layer. They comes in rich chestnut red with red earlobes, they lay large brown eggs. They’re very friendly birds with great personalities and make great pets.

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  • Egg Color: Light Brown (around 200-220 eggs per year)
  • Mature Weight: Roosters 8 lbs, Hens 6+ lbs.
  • Life Span: 7-8 years.

9. Buff Orpington (Dual-Purpose)

The Buff Orpington is a docile breed that’s known for good mothering skills. They’re found in buff color but also available in black, blue, and white color. The hen of this breed lay light brown eggs. They are also excellent meat birds who can take cold climates very well.

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  • Egg Color: Light Brown (200-280 eggs per year)
  • Mature Weight: Roosters 8 lbs, Hens 6 lbs.
  • Life Span: 7-8 years.

10. Plymouth Rocks (Dual-Purpose)

Plymouth Rocks are a prevalent breed of chickens due to their excellent egg-laying abilities. They’re friendly and calm but can be nervous around strangers. They lay light brown eggs, and they are good foragers.

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  • Egg Color: Brown (around 200 eggs per year)
  • Mature Weight: Roosters 6 lbs, Hens 4 lbs.
  • Life Span: 8+ years.

11. Rhode Island Reds (Dual-Purpose)

A docile but active breed, Rhode Island Reds are known for their excellent egg-laying abilities. The RIRs color is red ranges from a lustrous deep pink to almost black. They lay large brown eggs. They’re also easy-to-handle birds that can be kept outside in the cold.

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  • Egg Color: Light Brown (200-300 eggs pper year)
  • Mature Weight: Roosters 8 lbs, Hens 6+ lbs.
  • Life Span: 6-8 years.

12. Welsummers (Meat Chicken and Good Layer for Winter)

Welsummers are an active breed that is known for their excellent egg-laying ability. They’re red partridge color with single comb and red earlobes.

They lay large brown eggs. They have a docile personality and hardy against winter temperatures.

welsummer hen
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  • Egg Color: Brown (around 200-250 eggs each year)
  • Mature Weight: Roosters 6 lbs, Hens 5 lbs.
  • Life Span: 8-9 years.

13. Wyandottes (Good Egg Layer for Winter)

Wyandottes are an active breed that’s known for their friendly personalities and winter hardiness. They’re found in 17 different colors, including the most common silver laced, golden laced, buff, black, partridge, silver penciled, lavender, blue laced, pure white etc.

They hens of this breed lay beautiful cream-colored eggs. They can be used as both egg layers and meat birds but prefer not to be confined.

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  • Egg Color: Cream-colored eggs (around 200 eggs each year)
  • Mature Weight: Roosters 6 lbs, Hens 5+ lbs.
  • Life Span: 6-12 years.

14. Barnevelders (Good Egg Laying Chicken)

Barnevelders are a docile breed that’s known for their beautiful plumage and excellent laying abilities.

They’re seen populary in double laced gold color with red earlobes, and they lay large chocolate brown eggs. A calm but curious bird that can take cold climates well but tends to be skittish around strangers.

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  • Egg Color: Large chocolate brown eggs. (150-200 eggs per year)
  • Mature Weight: Roosters 8 lbs, Hens 6 lbs.
  • Life Span: 4-7 years.

15. Cochin (Meat Chicken)

Cochins are an active breed that’s known for their beautiful plumage and excellent laying abilities.

They’re buff, black, cinnamon, grouse, lemon, partridge, silver buff, silver cinnamon, and white color having red wattles and ear lobes; they lay medium brown eggs.

An amiable bird with a calm yet curious personality can take cold climates badly due to their single combs.

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  • Egg Color: White. (150-180 eggs per year)
  • Mature Weight:
    Standard Variety: Roosters 11 lbs, Hens 8 lbs.
    Bantam Variety: Rooster 32 oz, Hens 28 oz
  • Life Span: 5-8 years.

16. Easter Eggers (Good Egg Laying in Cold Climate)

Easter Eggers are a docile breed that’s known for their beautiful plumage and excellent laying abilities. 

The hens of this breed lay medium colored eggs (light blue, seafoam green, dark green, and pink). Easter Eggers are crazy towards treats and extremly friendlt chickens. Roosters of this brees are also very calm.

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  • Egg Color: Colored eggs. (200-280 eggs per year)
  • Mature Weight: Roosters 6 lbs, Hens 4 lbs.
  • Life Span: 8 years.

17. Sussex Chicken (Dual Purpose)

Sussex chickens are a docile breed that’s known for their beautiful plumage and excellent laying abilities. They’re available in brown, buff, coronation, light, red, silver, speckled, and white with red earlobes. 

They lay medium light-colored (cream, tan, brown) eggs. They are docile and alert chickens having great laying during winters. It is a lovely dual-purpose chicken.

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  • Egg Color: Light Brown to Cream. (around 200-250 eggs per year)
  • Mature Weight:
    Standard Variety: Roosters 8 lbs, Hens 7+ lbs.
    Bantam Variety: Roosters 36 ozs and 30 ozs.
  • Life Span: 8-10 years.

18. Ameraucanas (Dual-Purpose)

Ameraucanas are a popular domestic chicken breed that’s known for their beautiful light blue eggs.

They comes in black, buff, white, blue, blue wheaten, silver, brown-red, and wheaten. Also they have red color earlobes, comb and wattles.

They lay medium colored blue eggs . A calm but curious bird who can take cold climates well and also friendly to their owners.

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  • Egg Color: Colored eggs (150-200 eggs per year)
  • Mature Weight: Roosters 8 lb, Hens 7+ lbs.
  • Life Span: 8 years.

19. Silkies (Average Egg Layer During Winter)

Silkies are calm, friendly, and docile chicken breed that’s known for their broodiness and mothering abilities. The comes in

Silkies are calm, friendly, and docile chicken breed that’s known for their broodiness and mothering abilities. The comes in black, blue, buff, grey, partridge, and white color varieties.

They lay small size cream color eggs. Silkie chicken loves to live in cold weathers and lay eggs during winters.

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  • Egg Color: Cream. (100-120 eggs per year)
  • Mature Weight:
    Standard Variety: Roosters 4 lbs, Hens 3 lbs.
    Bantam Variety: Roosters 22 ozs and Hens 18 ozs.
  • Life Span: 7-9 years.

20. Faverolles (Dual-Purpose)

Faverolles are an active breed that’s known for friendliness. They’re popularly found in Salmon and White color with single combs. They lay tinted/very light brown eggs.

This chicken have docile and gentle temperament. They easily survive in cold weathers and lay during winters.

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  • Egg Color: Tinted to Light Brown. (180-200 weeks per year)
  • Mature Weight:
    Standard Variety: Roosters 10 lbs, Hens 9 lbs.
    Bantam Variety: Roosters 3 lbs, Hens 2.5 lbs
  • Life Span: 5-7 years.

21. Olive Eggers (Dual-Purpose)

Olive Eggers is an cross breed which is result from mating blue egg layer and a dark brown egg layer. However they are not recognized as a chicken breed.

They are friendly and mellow birds to their owners and do not like strangers. Hens of this hybrid chicken breed lay olive color medium sized eggs.

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  • Egg Color: Olive color eggs (180-200 eggs per year)
  • Mature Weight: Roosters 7 lbs, Hens 6 lbs.
  • Life Span: 5+ years.

Raising and Caring Tips for Cold Hardy Chickens

A good shelter is an essential factor in keeping chickens in cold weather. It must be windproof and waterproof and make sure there are two inches between the ceiling and the roof. 

An aluminum tent works great for shelter in the winter with a tarp to collect snow on top.

You can buy unique feeders that hang above the water with long chain lengths, so they are always reaching for food.

If you have any extra money around, it would be wise to purchase heat lamps to place in the brooder.

Keep your coop dry but not too warm to avoid respiratory infections and other dangerous issues. Chickens do not like water or wet, so make sure it is clean and dry at all times.

Make sure all of your chickens are well hydrated before winter starts kicking in. Offer water often and keep it clean!

Lastly, make sure to collect eggs every day. Chickens do not like to lay in cold nests, so make sure they are clean and warm for them at all times!

Also read: How to clean your chicken coop in 3 easy steps

Summary

Make sure your chickens are well hydrated, have a shelter that is windproof and waterproof, keep them in a dry but not too warm environment to avoid respiratory infections. 

Make sure there are two inches between the roof and the ceiling of their shelter for extra warmth, collect eggs every day to make sure they are staying in clean nests. 

Use feeders that hang above the water with long lengths of chain, and do not forget to purchase heat lamps if you have extra money.

I hope this list helped you to select one cold hardy chicken breed for your backyard coop.

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I am Bijaya Kumar and I have been raising chickens for the last 10 years. Backyard poultry farming has been our family business for the last 30 years. We raise multiple chicken breeds in their backyard.

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