We are planning on raising chickens this spring and wonder what breeds people recommend for central MN. Wondering which ones do best with our low temps in the winter. We are thinking that we will be raising them for egg production.
I have 3 Barred Rock and they have laid consistently for 2 winters now. Australorps also do well and well with confinement too. Getting some awesome size eggs from my RIR's too right now. I am in Upper Michigan near Lake Michigan so we do get the nasty cold temps as well and not enough snow to insulate.
I have a pretty good mix of birds and they all seem to be doing ok. Cochins, jersey giants, RIR, Easter eggers, wyandottes, leghorn, welsummer. All seem to be doing great with the cold. I like the smaller combed ones, less chance of frostbite. My leghorn mix has list the tips of her comb but she doesn't seem to care. She won't stay in the coop where it's warmer.
Depends what you're looking for really... I wanted birds that were great egg layers through the cold winters of NH but also friendly enough to be pets. I ended up with Light Brahmas (super friendly) Barred Rocks (also super friendly but smaller... I think mine are small for their breed though) Partridge Rocks (mine aren't flighty but they don't really like handling either) Buff Orpingtons (DUMBEST animals on the planet - as soon as I have old enough hens to replace them they're moving on) and two Dark Cornish who are the brains of the operation and always getting into trouble because of that. What they lack in friendliness they more than make up for in the antics they're doing. Love watching those two. I am looking to expand my flock in the spring with some new breeds... eventually I'll find what I like the most and stick with that. You'll likely do the same. Good luck!
Well, if you like green eggs, my Americanas are the hardiest breed! I have a heck of a time keeping them in the coop, and even the nights that were between -2 to 0 degrees with a wind chill on top of that I had the four up in the tree while everyone else broke down and went into the coop.
They have tiny combs, so there is less chance of frostbite. If you have below zero temps then I would steer clear of the large single comb breeds like the sex links, leghorns and even RIReds can have large combs. I had a rooster some years back that had frost bite on the whole tip of his comb. When the dead part fell off the comb split into two pieces. It was very weird and he never seemed to be in distress, but it eventually closed up and he had a very thick comb.