As a flock owner, there are many factors to take into account when choosing which chicken breeds to have in your flock. One of those factors is your climate. If you live in an area that consistently sees high temperatures in the summer, you’ll need heat tolerant chicken breeds for your flock!
Most breeds of chickens do well in colder regions, but several breeds have a tough time keeping cool enough in the soaring temperatures. Chickens don’t sweat, so keeping them cool and choosing the correct breed for your climate is a must.
Tips for Choosing Heat Tolerant Chicken Breeds
There are a few tips to picking out a heat tolerant chicken. This list has general qualities you should look for in a heat hardy chicken.
- Large comb and wattle act as an air conditioner
- Choose a breed with fewer feathers, none on their feet
- Chickens that are a lighter color helps reflect the sunlight and keep cooler
- Select a smaller, lighter chicken to have less body mass to stay cool
However, these rules don’t always apply as you’ll see in the following list of ten heat hardy breeds.
10 Heat Tolerant Chicken Breeds
Leghorn chickens are light in weight and have white feathers. An incredible egg producer they tolerate the heat well and are dual purpose.
Leghorns are one of the best breeds to keep in your backyard flock if you’re looking for massive amounts of eggs! This breed lays almost an egg a day!
However, due to the fact that their bodies work so hard to make so many eggs, they’re more prone to health issues and tend not to be as hardy as other breeds on this list.
Welsummer chickens are widely known as the chicken on the Cornflake box. These dual-purpose birds are medium in size and lay chocolate colored eggs.
The Welsummer is a beautiful breed with variegated feathers and feather-less feet. They’re known for their calm disposition and friendly demeanor, however they’re also known to be one of the more vocal breeds you can keep!
Welsummers are good foragers and love to free range. This breed would be a great addition to any flock!
Sumatras are native to the tropics of Indonesia and are one of the best heat tolerant chicken breeds. They also are a smaller chicken coming in at four to five pounds.
The Sumatra is one of the most stunning breeds you could keep in your flock, with gorgeous black and green shining feathers and long tails.
If you like fancy chicken breeds, the Sumatra might top your list, but while they’re nice to look at, they’re not the best choice for egg production. Hens only lay around 100 eggs per year.
Brahmas break all the rules when it comes to picking a heat hardy chicken.
They are the largest breed on this list with thick, dense feathers, but they do well in both hot and cold climates. Brahma bantams are also an excellent option if you are limited on space.
Brahmas come in three color varieties, light, dark, and buff. They’re known for their sweet disposition, and make great dual purpose birds for your farm.
Rhode Island Red
One of the most popular breeds around, the Rhode Island Red is the ideal dual-purpose chicken. Hardy in all types of climate, they are excellent egg producers and a great breed for beginners.
Rhode Island Red chickens are abundantly available at feed stores in the spring, and for good reason. They’re known for being healthy, tolerant of most living conditions, and easy to raise for any chicken keeper.
This breed is a real winner in the egg category too! Rhodies usually lay 200-300 eggs per year!
New Hampshire Red
New Hampshire Reds are strikingly similar to the Rhode Island Red for good reason, they come from the same basic stock! This breed differs in that they’re more of an orangey red shade, have meatier bodies, and lay fewer eggs per year than the Rhode Island.
This breed is known for being very healthy and hearty, an excellent choice for any climate. They love free ranging and thrive when they’re given the chance to forage for food, which is a great way to cut down on the cost of chicken food!
Plymouth Rock chickens are both cold/heat tolerant, but the Barred Plymouth Rock does the best in higher temps. These friendly birds are large egg layers and another great chicken for beginners.
This popular breed is quite large at 7-8 pounds and comes in a variety of colors, including barred, white, partridge, blue, and black. They lay large brown eggs and are known to have friendly dispositions.
If you’re looking for a breed that plays well with others, this is it!
Easter Eggers are sweet birds, delighting their owners with multicolored eggs. They do well in all climates and produce eggs even through the heat of summer.
The Easter Egger is a mixed breed, and because of that, they can come in many different shades and lay many different colored eggs. Easter Eggers get their famous name from their ability to lay rainbow colored eggs in shades of blue, green, yellow and pink.
Easter Eggers are hearty birds that can tough it out in almost any climate.
Delaware chickens are white with black tips on the feathers, wings, and tails. They do well in heat and are dual-purpose birds that also make good mothers.
Delawares are great in the hot weather because their large comb and wattle help them to easily regulate their body temperature. Delawares are excellent layers of jumbo eggs, so they’re a great choice if you’re a fan of big breakfasts!
Delwares are friendly and docile birds that would be great for a family or beginner chicken keeper.
Australorps are an Australian breed of chickens that thrive in a climate that has both cold winters and hot temperatures in the summer. These prolific egg layers also have a calm temperament.
Australorps are a favorite breed for families with young children because they’re known for being friendly and tolerant. This lovely breed will be happiest with others of their kind, as their passive attitude tends to land them in the bottom of the pecking order.
No matter what breed you choose, all breeds need shade, cool water, ventilation, and air circulation to survive in the heat, just like you and I. They also don’t like to be held in the sticky temperatures.
What’s your favorite of the heat tolerant chicken breeds? Let us know in the comments.