Which Chicken Breeds Do You Recommend for Warm Climates?

A recent question from one of our blog readers was:

I live in the Deep South and I am wondering which breed of chickens would best tolerate the heat and humidity? I am looking for layers, that produce well year round.

For a hot climate, we recommend the Leghorns and Minorcas, which are Mediterranean breeds.  These lighter weight chickens tolerate the heat well and are good layers.

Heavier, dual purpose breeds that can handle the heat well are Rhode Island Reds, New Hampshire Reds, and Turkens.  Many people have also had success with Barred Rocks (Barred Plymouth Rocks).

Do you live in a warm climate? What breeds have done the best for you?  Have you taken any special steps to help them come through this hot, dry summer?


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10 Responses to Which Chicken Breeds Do You Recommend for Warm Climates?

  1. Laurie Crittenden says:

    Living in Texas this summer with the very extreme heat and drought I have been really surprised by my chickens. I did not know what breeds did well when I bought them. I have a Cuckoo Maran, Buff Minorca, Red Star sexlink and most surprising, a Russian Orlof. I found out after I had them that the little Russian girl was developed for Siberia! Well, she and the others are laying an egg almost every day. This is their second summer. They don’t get out much but are real happy when they do.

  2. June Gibbs says:

    Since I am an urban chicken raiser, I am also relatively new at it ….since March of this year. I live in NC and wanted hens that could tolerate the heat and the cold plus lay the big brown eggs. :-) Since they are limited to a coop and pen area which I have in the shade, I opted for Rhode Island Reds. They have been doing fantastic through the hot summer and hoping they will be fine this winter. I did insulate the coop and added electric…just in case.

  3. dasparky says:

    We have a large variety of breeds that we allow free access throughout the property during the day (they’re guarded well by our dogs & geese). The smaller breeds seem to be the most sprightly and best layers during this exceptionally hot Texas heat wave: Cubalya, Golden Phoenix, Egyption Fayoumi, Sicilian Buttercup. The heavier breeds have not been laying as well, although they seem to be doing okay otherwise: Jersey Giant, Ameraucana, Barred Rock, Buff Orpington, Brahma.

    We have a couple of shady areas that have misting hoses set up. Water is available at all times, and we’ve been adding a veterinary electrolyte mix to their drinking water. I’ve also added a great deal more milo to their morning scratch to offset the digestive heating that too much corn can cause in the summer.

  4. Randy Peterson says:

    I had 24 Red Stars and have lost three due to the heat (the last week of June, July and early August had average temps above 105 degrees with a number of days above 110 degrees)… I have put plastic tarps for shade over most of the run, have 2, 3 gallon waterers (each filled twice a day) and installed a mister is the area the ladies stay in during the day… I believe the mister has worked well… The 21 remaining ladies are laying 15 to 19 eggs a day… I can’t say they are especially heat tolerant, but, we do get cold winters here too and they are outstanding layers in the winter… They are great hens…

  5. Melissa Crusinberry says:

    I live on the AZ/CA border and we get temps up towards 118-120 in the summer sometimes. The breeds that we’ve had the best experience with are Hamburgs and Leghorns. Of the heavier breeds, Dorkings (we’ve had both Silver Grey from McMurray and Red as well) and Orpingtons have done remarkably well, too. Dutch Bantams do well in the heat, too. I just make sure there is plenty of fresh water in well placed waterers, and cool muddy areas outside and fans and frozen water bottles in the hen house. Have only lost a handful in the last 5 years or so with these breeds and practices.

  6. Sally Smith says:

    From Mississippi – I have raised Barred Rocks and Rhode Island Reds, Black Sex-link, and Buff Brahmas. All the chickens did well as they had plenty of shade from trees. This past year it was Buff Brahmas and Black Sex-linked. Our chicken house is 2 feet off the ground and was put close to shade trees on the west side so they would have plenty of shade in the summer. There was only chicken wire wrapped around this part. During the hot part of the day, they mostly stayed under the house. In the evening I let them out to graze, and they went everywhere.
    As you would expect. the Brahmas felt the heat the most. So did our 1 RI Red hen. However, the Black Sex-link did well overall. But they all preferred the shade under the house.

  7. Katie Croft says:

    I have Buff Orpingtons and a couple unidentifiable chicks that came in a mixed batch, and they are doing fine in Central Texas. (Hottest Summer I have ever been through). I’ve been worried about them, but they are doing well. Their entire enclosure and building is shaded, we also have a fan in the hen houses and of course they get watered several times a day. I have been watering down their entire enclosure a couple of times a week, keeps the dust down and cools the soil. They aren’t laying yet, but they are only 5 months old. I wasn’t expecting them to lay through this heat. I’m just glad they are healthy and happy right now!

  8. Elle says:

    Dove’s Roost Farm is in NoFla. We have raised RI Reds for the past several years and recently added a flock of Buff Orpingtons. Not only are they doing well, they are thriving.

    The RIRs are consistent layers. They have their own hen house. The Buff Orpingtons are amazing. They started laying a month earlier than we expected, and were in full production at 5 months. By that time, hens were going broody. One hen went into hiding and appeared with 15 chicks last week. Mama and chicks are enjoying life, living in a chicken tractor under the oaks – cool (well cooler than the 100 degree air), breezy, and safe. Two more hens are setting on nestful of eggs in their hen house. Our girls have access to the roosters during the day, but sleep in the hen house at night.

    For the record, we also buy Cornish X Rocks every season for our own freezer. They also do very well, as long as we remember what they’re here for and don’t overfeed them let them get too big.

    Thank you, McMurray for the gorgeous birds!

  9. K. M. Beck says:

    Living in South Georgia, my best egg layers have been Rhode Island Reds. Heat doesn’t seem to be a factor. I’ve tried several breeds and by far, I’ll stick with the Reds.

  10. Natalie Long says:

    My Black Australorps are not bothered by the heat too much here in Texas, and neither are my Black Sex-Links

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