Alaska is the coldest state in America. It has long winters with temperatures almost constantly below freezing for eight months of the year.
Summer is warmer, but temperatures rarely get above 73 degrees in July and August.
If you want to keep chickens in Alaska, you must choose large, cold hardy birds with lots of feathers and preferably small combs, which are less susceptible to frostbite.
To discover more about the characteristics of cold hardy birds, take a look at this guide to the nine best egg laying chickens for Alaska.
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1. The Ameraucana
Ameraucanas are small, distinctive birds that are derived from the Chilean Araucana. They’re recognizable because of their muff and beard feathers and playful character.
The Ameraucana is also distinctive due to its green to blue colored eggs, and they produce around 150 annually.
These birds are incredibly hardy and cold-resistant, with extensive feathering, small wattles, and a pea comb. They love to forage but also thrive indoors.
Ameraucana roosters weigh up to 6.5 lbs and hens up to 5.5 lbs. They are attentive mothers—but don’t go broody often.
2. The Australorp
Australorps are distinctive black Australian chickens, a mix of Black Orpingtons and several other breeds. They’re dual-purpose birds and love to free range but also do well indoors.
The Australorp is hardy, robust, and thrives in all climates, making it one of the best egg laying chickens for Alaska.
Adult hens weigh up to 7 lbs and roosters up to 10 lbs. The hens are prolific layers and produce 250–300 medium brown eggs annually.
Australorps are docile birds and can be shy but are incredibly friendly once you gain their trust.
3. The Brahma
Brahmas are large, distinctive birds of Asian origin and are the ultimate gentle giants. They are incredibly cold-hardy due to their pea comb and extensive feathering, which covers the legs.
They are dual-purpose birds, reliable layers, and one of the largest breeds. The hens weigh up to 8 lbs, and the roosters weigh up to 10 lbs and can grow up to 30 inches tall.
Brahma hens generally aren’t very broody but make excellent mothers if the feeling takes them. They lay best during the cold months and produce 3–4 medium brown eggs weekly.
The Brahma is exceptionally friendly and calm, making it a fantastic bird for families and beginners—but they may bully smaller flockmates for food.
Brahmas are quiet birds that tolerate confinement but prefer to free range—and you must ensure their feathered legs can dry off if they go out in the snow.
4. The Buff Orpington
Buff Orpingtons are a large heritage breed from the British Isles. The hens weigh 6–8 lbs and the roosters between 8–10 lbs.
They’re hardy, low-maintenance birds with dense feathers and tolerate cold, but you must protect their comb against frostbite.
Orpingtons are dual-purpose birds, and they don’t mind being indoors. Hens are broody and good mothers, laying 200–280 large brown eggs annually.
They’re calm, gentle, docile birds and like to be petted and handled, so they are fantastic pets and are ideal for beginners.
Buff Orpingtons tend to be passive in a flock, so to prevent bullying you shouldn’t keep them with dominant breeds.
5. The Chantecler
Chanteclers are a rare breed from Canada and incredibly cold hardy birds. They have a tiny cushion comb and no wattles and lay well in the cold months.
These are calm, gentle, dual-purpose birds and prefer to roam rather than live indoors and are excellent foragers.
They are a large breed, with the roosters weighing up to 9 lbs. Hens weigh up to 7.5 lbs and lay well during the winter producing 150–200 medium to large brown eggs annually.
Chanteclers are intelligent and curious and enjoy human company. They can hold their ground against hostile birds but aren’t aggressive.
6. The Langshan
The Langshan is from China and is one of the oldest breeds in the world. They are large, black, striking birds—the roosters weigh up to 9 lbs and the hens up to 7 lbs.
They are not very common in the USA but are one of the best egg laying chickens for Alaska because they’re incredibly robust and cold hardy.
Sometimes they have leg feathers, which you must keep dry after they roam in the snow. They also have a single comb that you must protect against frostbite.
Langshans are calm and affectionate and are often known as lap chickens. They are fantastic with children and other pets.
Langshans are reliable layers and produce around 200 large, dark-brown eggs annually. Sometimes the eggs have a distinctive purple tinge. They are good mothers but not very broody.
7. The Jersey Giant
Jersey Giants are one of the largest breeds and originated in the USA. Hens weigh up to 11 lbs and roosters up to 14 lbs and can stand 26 inches high.
Despite their size, they are friendly, docile birds and enjoy being handled; thus many people keep them as pets.
Hens aren’t very broody or good sitters because they often crush the eggs. They lay well during the winter and produce 150–200 large, light to medium brown eggs annually.
Jersey Giants are incredibly hardy and cold-resistant but have a large single comb, so you must be vigilant about frostbite during the winter.
8. The Rhode Island Red
The Rhode Island Red is ideal for Alaska because it’s a resilient, low-maintenance breed that thrives in all climates. They’re dual-purpose birds – the hens weigh up to 6.5 lbs and the roosters up to 8.5 lbs.
Rhode Island Reds is a popular US breed, and the hens are reliable layers, producing 250–300 medium to large brown eggs annually.
They are confident, friendly birds, but sometimes the roosters can be territorial, so you shouldn’t keep them with timid chickens or around children or pets.
9. The Wyandotte
Wyandottes are hardy, native birds with a small rose comb and are incredibly cold-resistant.
They are dual-purpose birds with distinctive markings and colors. The roosters weigh up to 8 lbs and hens up to 6 lbs.
Wyandotte hens are fairly broody and lay 150–200 cream to light brown medium to large eggs annually. They’re calm, quiet birds and are happy to live indoors.
Wyandottes are docile birds but are generally aloof with humans and don’t enjoy being petted and handled.
The best egg laying chickens for Alaska are cold hardy ones. Alaska is the coldest state, and even the summers can be chilly.
Ideally, choose large birds with extensive feathering and small combs which are less prone to frostbite.
If you have chickens with large combs, you should invest in a sweeter heater for the coop to prevent frostbite. Alternatively, you can cover their combs in Vaseline.
Hot days in Alaska are rare, but if temperatures soar, ensure your birds have constant access to shade and water.