New England is a region in the northeastern United States, comprising the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The region is known for its cold winters and harsh weather conditions, which can make raising chickens a bit challenging.
However, many farmers and backyard chicken keepers in New England have successfully raised chickens for both eggs and meat, by choosing breeds that are hardy, cold-tolerant, and good layers.
Additionally, considering the size and space you have available is also important.
Here are 7 of the best chicken breeds for New England:
Buckeye is a sturdy, versatile breed that thrives in cold areas. Buckeyes are renowned for their excellent egg-laying ability, with hens producing over 200 brown eggs annually. They are amiable and docile, making them excellent pets.
Buckeyes are available in several hues, including red, black, and white. They have an average lifespan of 8 to 10 years and are not known to be maternal.
A sturdy and cold-tolerant breed famous for its excellent egg-producing skills, with hens laying approximately 200 brown eggs annually. Plymouth Rocks are sociable, tame birds that make excellent companions.
Barred and white are the two main variants of Plymouth Rocks. They have an average lifespan of 8 to 10 years and are not known to be maternal.
Rhode Island Red
Rhode Island Red is a cold-resistant breed that thrives in cold areas.
Rhode Island Reds are famed for their excellent egg-laying skills, with hens producing approximately 250 brown eggs annually. They are gentle and docile, making them excellent pets.
Rhode Island Reds are often red, although they can also be black. They have an average lifespan of 8 to 10 years and are not known to be maternal.
A cold-resistant breed that thrives in frigid climes. New Hampshires are recognized for their good egg-producing skills, with hens laying roughly 200 brown eggs every year.
They are amiable and docile, making them excellent pets. New Hampshires are only available in the color red. They have an average lifespan of 8 to 10 years and are not known to be maternal.
Leghorn is a cold-resistant breed that thrives in frigid climes. Leghorns are renowned for their excellent egg-laying skills, with hens producing over 300 white eggs annually. This is one of the best egg laying hen for New England.
They are lively and docile, making them excellent pets. Leghorns come in range of colors such as white, black, and brown. They have a lifespan of roughly 8-10 years and are not known for being broody.
Orpington is a cold-resistant breed that thrives in frigid climes. Orpingtons are noted for their good egg-producing skills, with hens laying roughly 200 brown eggs every year. They are sociable and tame birds and make ideal pets.
There are various color varieties of Orpingtons, including black, blue, and splash. They have an average lifespan of 8 to 10 years and are very maternal.
A sturdy, weather-tolerant breed that is suitable for cold areas. Jersey Giants are renowned for their excellent egg-laying capabilities, with hens producing over 200 brown eggs annually.
They are sociable and tame birds and make ideal pets. Jersey Giants come in one color variety which is black. They have a lifespan of roughly 8-10 years and are not known for being broody.
Please note that the number of eggs laid per year and the lifespan can vary depending on the individual chicken, as well as the quality of care they receive. Also, it’s always good to research the breed that you are interested in, as there might be other variations available or local breeds that are better suited for your area.
Are there any laws or regulations I need to be aware of when raising chickens in New England?
It’s important to check with your local government regarding any laws or regulations related to raising chickens in your area. Some cities or towns may have specific rules regarding the number of chickens that can be kept on a property, the size of the coop and run, and other requirements.
It’s always a good idea to research and comply with any local laws before getting chickens.
What is the ideal temperature range for chickens in New England?
Chickens can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, but the ideal range for their comfort is between 20-70°F. However, chickens are hardy animals and can tolerate colder temperatures as long as they have a warm and insulated place to sleep.
It’s important to make sure that chickens have access to a heat source in the coop during extreme cold weather.
How do I protect my chickens from predators in New England?
Predators such as raccoons, foxes, and skunks are common in New England and can pose a danger to chickens.
To protect your chickens, it’s important to build a secure coop and run with sturdy fencing. Electric fencing or netting can also be used to deter predators.
It’s also a good idea to keep chickens inside the coop at night and during extreme weather conditions.
How do I provide proper nutrition for my chickens in the winter?
During the winter, chickens need more energy to stay warm, so it’s important to provide them with a high-quality, high-energy feed.
Adding a source of protein such as mealworms or black oil sunflower seeds to their diet can also help to keep them warm. It’s also important to make sure that chickens have access to fresh water at all times, as they need to drink more in the winter to stay hydrated.
Learn more:Can chickens eat cat food?
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Breeders/Hatcheries in New England
Here is a list of 5 hatcheries located in New England that are known for their high-quality chickens and good customer service:
Maplewind farm is a small family farm located in Richmond, VT 05477. They raise pastured poultry, pigs, and sheep, they also sells breeds of chicks, hatching eggs, and adult birds of different breeds.
They are well-known for providing high-quality poultry and good customer service. They are a small farm and their availability of breeds, hatching eggs or adult birds may vary depending on the season, and the demand.
2. Stormberg’s chickens
Stromberg’s Chicks and Game Birds is a hatchery located in Minnesota, USA. They specialize in a wide variety of poultry breeds, including chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guinea fowls and game birds.
They have been in business since 1921, and they have a good reputation for providing high-quality birds and good customer service. They have a wide selection of breeds and they also sell hatching eggs, chicks, and adult birds.
They also have a variety of feed, coops and other poultry related items. They ship nationwide, including New England.
3. Ashley’s Chickens And Lops
You can purchase chicks and rabbits at Ashley’s Chickens And Lops. The hens originate from NPIP-approved hatcheries and are not available year-round. As of November 2021, chickens are no longer available till 2022.
When chickens are available, you can anticipate purchasing standard and bantam chickens, such as Cochins. There is a 10% possibility that you will receive a rooster, and no returns are offered. You must order at least four chicks, and Ashley does not accept reservations; the policy is “first come, first served.”
9 Wenham St, Danvers, Massachusetts 01923
4. Bridge Water Farm
Bridge Water Farm is a family-owned and -operated company that specializes in selling farm goods. Additionally, they sell live fowl, such as chickens. It is possible to place an order for chicks a few weeks before Easter, as this is the only time of year they are available. They are not NPIP-certified, but you can contact them for shipping and breed-specific information.
Location: 1000 Plymouth St, Bridgewater, MA 02324
5. Heavenly Hydrangea Silkie Farm
This farm has been approved by the NPIP and has undergone testing with artificial intelligence, and they raise silkies of all various colors. They can transport both hatching eggs and live hens. If you have any questions about pricing or availability, feel free to get in touch with the proprietor.
In conclusion, raising chickens in New England can be challenging due to the cold winters and harsh weather conditions. However, by choosing hardy and cold-tolerant breeds that are good layers, such as Buckeyes, Plymouth Rocks, Rhode Island Reds, New Hampshires, Leghorns, Orpingtons, and Jersey Giants, farmers and backyard chicken keepers in New England can successfully raise chickens for both eggs and meat.
It’s important to research local laws and regulations, provide proper nutrition and ensure that chickens have a warm and dry place to sleep during the winter.
There are many hatcheries in New England and across the country that provide high-quality birds and good customer service. However, it’s important to research and read reviews before purchasing from a hatchery, and also checking with local feed stores, farmers markets, and agricultural extension offices for recommendations.
Image credits: shutterstock.com
Shannon Stansberry has been engaged in the business of raising chickens for more than 12 years. In 2016, she accomplished the Agriculture & Natural Resources program at Mt. San Antonio College. At present, she tends to more than 80 chickens on her 4-hectare farm. Shannon regularly shares her insights and experience on how to raise healthy and contented chickens on the platform Typesofchickens.com