7 Cold Hardy Chicken Breeds for Your Backyard Flock

For those of us in colder climates, we’ll soon start preparing for the fall and winter months ahead. As we prepare, so too will our chickens. However, some chicken breeds are better at adapting to the cold than others. Many of these cold hardy breeds have small combs and wattles as well as plenty of meat on their bones in order to help keep them warm during the bitter cold. As such, if you live in a colder climate, it’s a good idea to stock your backyard flock with many of these cold hardy chickens to ensure they last the winter.

Below are some of the top cold hardy chicken breeds that we at Chickens for Backyards recommend:red hens in the snow


Australorps may have come from Australia, a land known for hot weather, but it can still do well in colder climates. Thanks to their dense coat, they’re very efficient at keeping out the cold. They also have a wonderful temperament. These birds are mild and docile, making them an excellent candidate for chicken owners who also have kids. Australorps lay eggs regularly, roughly 4-5 light brown eggs each week.

Learn More: Black Australorp

Rhode Island Reds

If you’ve ever been to New England, you know how cold it can get during the winter months. Rhode Island Reds have adapted to this climate by featuring a thick coat and a robust size. They’re a prolific egg layer and mature rather quickly. While they do best as free rangers, they can easily adapt to being confined as well. Rhode Island Reds are also friendly and docile, but they can be a bit more confident than other, more timid birds.

Learn More: Rhode Island Red

Plymouth Rock

Another hardy, New England native, the Plymouth Rock is a dual-purposed bird that comes in seven different varieties. Some of these varieties include barred, blue, buff, partridge, silver-penciled, white, and Colombian. They’re good egg layers, averaging 250 eggs per year, and are quick to mature. They’ll continue to lay well into the winter months thanks to their cold hardy nature. These features are just some of the many reasons why the Plymouth Rock is one of the most popular chicken breeds in the United States.

Learn More: Barred Plymouth Rock


The Buckeye chicken was admitted to the APA in 1904 and is one of the only breeds to have been created by a woman (Nettie Metcalf). They are a dual-purpose breed but can produce up to 150-200 eggs per year. They weigh around six pounds, so they’re smaller than other cold hardy chickens, but they can nevertheless withstand the chill as well as the rest of them. They also have a friendly and curious personality.

Learn More: Buckeye


Chantecler chickens are not as well known, but they are the quintessential cold hardy breed. The breed was created in a monastery in Quebec, an area known for bitter cold temperatures and harsh winters. If these chickens were able to live through the rough Canadian winters, then they can surely live through any winter. The hens are good layers, producing about 3 eggs per week, and they have a calm yet spunky personality. These chickens do not do well in extreme heat, so it’s best to avoid them if you have hot summers as well as cold winters.

Learn More: White Chantecler


Orpington chickens have fluffy feathers that make them well-suited for colder climates, no matter the variety. Buff Orpingtons are the most popular variety of this breed, and indeed they make excellent cold hardy chickens. They’re calm and easy-going around children, and are relatively quiet. They also don’t like to fly, so they’re good option for more urban areas. Keep in mind, though, that their single comb can become at risk for frostbite.

Learn More: Buff Orpington


The Welsummer breed may have “summer” in their name, but they’re actually a very cold hardy chicken. Not only that, but this breed is low maintenance and easy-going, making them an excellent option for first-time chicken owners. They produce beautiful, terracotta-colored eggs roughly three times per week. Due to their foraging nature and raucousness, Welsummer chickens are best suited to rural areas with plenty of space.

Learn More: Welsummer

Chickens for Backyards has many cold hardy breeds for you to choose from. Contact us today to get started on building your new backyard flock!