Touring a garden can be magical. Discovering the unexpected is often what brings the most pleasure; cascading water from a fountain, a bullfrog’s croak in a Koi pond or a lovely wind chime that dances in the breeze. To me, motion and whimsy are welcome additions to any garden. One of the best things that I have added to my garden is a flock of chickens. Without taking up much space, a small flock can liven up a garden, become a source of family entertainment, devour up unwanted insects, and lend a hand with composting.
Backyard chickens can be kept in all climates across the country. But did you know that, like wild birds, there are different breeds of chickens suitable to a variety of climates? There are breeds that do well in the heat, cold and in both. If you are considering keeping chickens, choosing the right breed for your backyard is the perfect place to begin.
Coastal chicken keeping on Cape Cod requires cold hardy breeds. Not only do our temperatures dip below freezing, but we also have weather that can be damp and windy. This combination can lead to frostbite on the red fleshy combs and wattles on chickens’ heads. Cold hardy breeds typically have smaller combs and wattles and thick, fluffy plumage.
If you live in a place that has freezing temperatures in the winter, I would suggest looking into the following breeds. Three docile, cold hardy breeds that do well with children include Orpingtons, Australorps and Silkie Bantams. Other breeds that don’t mind chilly winter weather include Wyandottes, Rhode Island Reds, New Hampshire Reds, Barred Rocks, Delawares, Brahmas and Salmon Favorelles. Lastly, if you desire eggs that are tinted blue, pink, green or even chocolate brown check out Easter Eggers, Ameraucanas, and Marans.
Chickens are very easy pets to keep and require far less care than a family dog. A little research up front will help to maximize the enjoyment of your backyard chickens and ensure their longevity. Plus, I can’t think of any other pets that deliver breakfast fresh to you each and every day.