Egg Laying Chickens for Hot Areas
If you are keeping chickens in hot climates, it’s best to pick chicken breeds that are well adapted for the heat. Chickens that are not hardy for heat will either not lay well in hot weather, or may not even survive!
Most of the white laying breeds are well adapted for hot climates. Chickens that have large combs will generally cope well, as that is how chickens keep cool. Here are three egg laying chicken breeds that excel in hot climates.
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Egg Laying Chicken Breeds for Hot Climates
#1 – Andalusian
Andalusians are commonly seen in the color blue, although there are other colors. Blue Andalusians are a threatened breed according to The Livestock Conservancy breed comparison chart, so by raising this breed you are helping to preserve heritage breeds and diversity. They are excellent layers of large white eggs. They don’t do well when confined in runs, but if you are looking for an active free ranging bird they are an excellent choice. This is the bird that will outrun and out jump most of the flock! They can be a bit flighty, but are not generally aggressive. They can forage for themselves rather well, which will cut down on feed costs. They don’t tend to go broody which means you can count on longer periods of uninterrupted laying. Blue Andalusians don’t cope with cold well, so if you have extreme temperatures in both directions you may want to select another breed. You can help them get through cold weather if necessary, but they are much happier in the heat!
#2 – Araucana or Easter Egger
True Araucanas can sometimes be hard to find, but their less pure bred counterpart, the Easter Egger also does well in both heat and cold. They are quite hardy birds. They are fun to keep as they lay pretty blue colored eggs that dress up the egg basket. If you have kids, they will love collecting the colorful eggs! They are good layers, and will lay for several years unlike some breeds that only lay for one or two. The breed is fairly docile and will be fine kept in a run if you have less space or aren’t planning to free range. They will also sometimes go broody and set, which means you can hatch out your own chicks.
#3 – Dominique
The Dominique also does well in any climate. If you have big variations in weather she will be a good option for your flock. The Dominique lays brown eggs, and is a good layer. They are also good foragers, which is nice if you want to raise pastured eggs and conserve feed. She will also adapt to living in a coop and run setup if necessary. While most hot weather birds are lightweight and don’t convert feed into weight well enough to raise for meat, the Dominique does have a nice breast size compared to overall weight. They are pretty, with black and white patterning, which looks quite lacy. Dominiques are also calm in temperament which means you might find your toddler carrying a chicken around while you do the farm chores!
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Tips for Keeping Your Birds Cool
No matter which breed you choose, you can help your birds stay cool in the heat. Try to place their coop where it will receive shade from trees, and make sure the chickens can get into the shade in their run. Wetting down their coop can help keep it cooler. Creating a puddle for them to wade into will help them regulate their body temperature. Some chickens won’t stand in the water, but if you make it through an essential walkway they will have to go through and cool down. Ice is also useful. Frozen water bottles can be placed in their waterers to encourage them to drink more, and frozen fruits and vegetables will give them entertainment and help them cool down.
By choosing hot climate adapted chicken breeds,your flock will be less stressed and happier even in hot weather. If you add in some strategies on helping them stay cool you can have a successful laying flock even during hot temperatures.
Honey Rowland is a homeschooling mother of 3 kiddos. She and her hubby Ben use Montessori, Waldorf, and Attachment Parenting methods. They live together on their mini organic farm, raising vegetables, goats, American Guinea Hogs, a big mix of heritage breed chickens and a few Great Pyrenees Livestock Guardians. She lives a hands-on learning lifestyle, and you can learn more at Honey’s Life.