Winter egg producers
Orpington Chicken Breed
Orpingtons were bred in England originally. They are a cross of Minorcas, Langshans and Plymouth Rocks and used to be bred for meat because of their large sizes. Gentle and calm, they are great to have around your kids although they can be bullied by other chickens because of their sweet nature. As dual purpose chickens, they are the preferred choice for small farms and homesteads.
Orpingtons are prolific egg producers capable of producing as much as 240 eggs per chicken annually. Their large size and profuse fluffy feathering make them very cold hardy chickens, such that they continue to lay even during the most frigid of winters. While very hardy in the cold, the fluff of their feathers allows rains to pass through so care should still be taken to keep them from getting wet.
Plymouth Barred Rock Chicken Breed
Once known as “America’s Favorite Breed,” the Plymouth Rocks or Barred Rocks as they are fondly called are large dual purpose chickens. They are long-lived, too, and are a favorite in backyards and small family farms because of their docile temperament.
The Barred Rocks average around 4 eggs per week and continue laying through winter even if the production does dip a little. The deep and full abdomens of the hens makes them very good laying hens. They are robust and very cold hardy chickens, thanks to their fluffy feathering and big body size.
Rhode Island Red Chicken Breed
Rhode Island Reds are prolific egg layers, averaging around 6 to 7 eggs per week. They are not prone to broodiness, which makes them valued as laying hens among many chicken keepers. They are also strong and resistant to illness and thus makes good breeds for beginners to start with.
Rhode Island Reds are your year-round birds. They are hardy in the heat and cold and can still lay eggs even during the winter season. Their combs are also vulnerable to frost bite if the temperature drops below freezing inside the coop. If you don’t want their egg production to suffer during extremely cold weather, you can close the door to give them warmth, leaving only a small opening for ventilation.
Even if your birds are winter hardy, food and water should always be left inside their feeders so that they will be able to consume what they need for their own body warmth and give them the energy they need for continued egg production.