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A chicken breed to fit your need

By: Catie Leary on Sept. 10, 2011, 8:33 a.m.
An old black and white photo of a white Chantecler hen, taken in 1926 at the Abbey of Notre-Dame du Lac in Quebec, Canada.

Photo: Cherry Creek Canadians

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Cold-hardy birds

If you live in a frosty climate, it's a good idea to find cold-hardy breeds and take appropriate steps to protect the birds from excessive cold.

The Chantecler, a breed developed in Canada in the early 20th century, is one of the most notable cold-hardy birds, and it provides an exceptional source of both eggs and meat. Buckeyes, originating from and named for the state of Ohio, are also well-suited to long, snowy winters. Some other breeds developed for winter egg-laying include Wynandottes, Faverolles and Dominiques.

Cold-hardy chickens generally fair well as long as their coop is dry and windproof, but there additional steps to take to make sure they're comfortable. To avoid frostbitten birds, apply petroleum jelly or moisturizer to their wattles and combs a couple times a week. To make sure your birds stay hydrated and healthy through the winter, make sure their water source does not freeze. With these tips, your avian friends should be well-prepared to weather the chillier months.