For most of us, summer is a time of rejuvenation and rebirth, soaking up the rays of the sun with a cool drink in hand. With that being said, not all of us have the luxury of cooling off in air-conditioned buildings when things become a tad too toasty outside. Chickens can adapt to all types of environments. However, to maintain a mutually beneficial relationship that is happy and healthy, it is important to recognize which breeds can thrive in your type of environment. If you find yourself living in a hot-weather climate, follow along to learn about the best heat-tolerant chicken breeds so you can be confident when bringing them home!
Characteristics of Heat-Tolerant Chicken Breeds
While chickens don’t have sweat glands, their bodies have adapted alternative methods for keeping themselves cool. There are also differentiating factors between chicken breeds that make some better suited for the heat than others.
If you want to choose heat-tolerant chicken breeds for your coop, consider the following characteristics:
• Large combs and wattles, where a network of blood vessels increase blood circulation near the surface of the skin and transfer heat from the chicken back into the environment
• Fewer feathers (especially on their feet)
• Smaller and more lightweight bodies, meaning a larger surface area in proportion to their size and a better ability to dissipate heat efficiently
• Lighter-colored feathers that reflect the sun’s rays instead of absorbing them
Top 7 Heat-Tolerant Chicken Breeds
Rhode Island Red
A popular breed for beginners, Rhode Island Reds are the rust-colored chickens you’d expect to find in someone’s backyard. These chickens are hardy in any climate and are proficient egg layers, producing around 300 eggs per year. They prefer to be free-range to forage and are generally a healthy breed.
Leghorn chickens are known for being excellent egg layers from a young age, producing roughly 300 eggs per year. Leghorns are an intelligent breed with an active nature that thrives in open spaces to forage for their own food. Their light color and small bodies help them stay cool in hot climates.
Any guess as to where the Easter Egger gets its name? This mixed-breed chicken is a crowd favorite due to its ability to lay eggs in colorful shades of pink, blue, and green. Easter Eggers also do exceptionally well in the heat, producing eggs all summer long! These sweet, low-maintenance birds are friendly and a wonderful addition to any flock.
Barred Plymouth Rock
If you are looking for dependable, kid-friendly chickens to become part of the family, Barred Plymouth Rocks should be your go-to. These attention-loving chickens will lay around 200 large, brown eggs per year, and the hens will weigh around 6 to 7 pounds. This breed of chicken can tolerate both hot and cold weather.
New Hampshire Red
New Hampshire Reds derive from the aforementioned Rhode Island Reds, so they are obviously a great choice of heat-tolerant chicken. The main differences that New Hampshire Reds bring to the table are meatier bodies and less prolific egg-laying abilities, producing around 3 eggs per week. They are a dual-purpose breed, meaning they are also great to raise for meat.
Native to Indonesia, these birds are one of the most heat-tolerant chicken breeds available. Those who own Sumatras mostly do so for their looks, though. Sumatras are well-loved for their glossy black feathers that contain hints of green, but they are not proficient egg layers and only produce around 100 eggs per year. They are a difficult breed to tame but will add a unique appearance to your flock.
Can one of the best cold-hardy chicken breeds also be among the most heat-tolerant? In this case, absolutely! Orpingtons are a common backyard bird because of their versatility, even though they are larger in size than other breeds. They can produce around 200 brown eggs per year and are friendly in nature.
Tips for Managing Chickens in Hot Weather
While the breeds listed above do well in hot weather, there are also things that you can do to help your chickens live more comfortable lives!
When the weather heats up, make sure you have the following checked off your list:
• A well-ventilated coop
• Shaded areas for chickens to rest and recuperate
• Enough room for chickens to forage so the coop is not overcrowded (a great way to help with this is to get an automatic chicken coop door that opens in the morning to allow chickens to forage throughout the day and closes at night to keep them safe in their coop from predators!)
• Open-air nesting boxes
• A sprinkler in the yard for chickens to cool off in
• Plenty of fresh water options so chickens stay hydrated after being outside in the heat
In conclusion, being a responsible chicken owner means doing more than the mere basics. If you find yourself living in a hot climate, do plenty of research on heat-tolerant chicken breeds before making any purchases so you can be fully prepared. Keeping your chickens healthy means a longer lifespan for them and more eggs for you. It’s a win-win!
Q: Why might I want to incorporate an automatic chicken coop door into my chickens’ housing?
A: An automated chicken coop door makes one less chore for you to remember and brings you peace of mind, knowing your chickens are safe inside at night and able to roam freely when the sun comes up. Aluminum doors crafted by RUN-CHICKEN are easy to install, waterproof, and programmable to open in the morning and set in the evening from a timer or integrated light sensor.
Q: Where can I purchase an automatic chicken coop door?
A: Explore the whole range of RUN-CHICKEN automatic chicken coop doors here
Q: Which breed should I choose if I want heat-tolerant chickens that are also kid-friendly?
A: Barred Plymouth Rocks and Easter Eggers are two breeds of chickens that are sweet and would fit in well with families.
Q: Is there a breed that would be useful for egg-laying and meat?
A: Certainly! Try out New Hampshire Reds – they are a dual-purpose breed with meatier bodies, and they are also able to lay eggs.