The best laying hens for Idaho are hardy, cold-resistant breeds that can tolerate heat.
Idaho is one of the coldest states in the USA. In December and January, temperatures barely rise above freezing, but the summers are warm, and temperatures can reach 83°F in July and August.
You must choose the correct breed for your climate because extreme temperatures can affect some birds more than others.
If you want fresh eggs all year round, let’s take a look at the 9 best egg laying hens for Idaho below.
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Ameraucanas are unique birds and are an Americanized version of the Chilean Araucanas. They love to forage but also adapt to living indoors.
They are one of the best laying hens for Idaho because they are heat and cold-resistant, with a small pea comb that is less susceptible to frostbite.
The Ameraucana is popular because of its unique green to blue colored eggs, and they produce up to 150 annually, depending on the strain.
They have distinctive muff and beard feathers and are full of character and personality.
Ameraucanas are small birds. Hens weigh up to 5.5 lbs and are occasionally broody; when they are, they make dedicated mothers. Roosters weigh up to 6.5 lbs.
The Buff Orpington
Buff Orpingtons are large British birds with dense feathers, so they tolerate the cold, but they have a large comb, which you might need to protect against frostbite.
They also tolerate warm temperatures if they have plenty of shade and water.
Orpingtons are dual-purpose birds that lay 200–280 large, brown eggs annually. They don’t mind being indoors. The hens are fairly broody and are attentive mothers.
Buff Orpingtons are a heritage breed, so they’re hardy, adaptable, and ideal for beginners. They’re calm, gentle, and like to be handled, so they are fantastic pets.
These are large birds—hens weigh 6–8 lbs, and roosters, between 8–10 lbs. Despite their size, Buff Orpingtons are incredibly passive, so you should keep them with other timid breeds to avoid them being bullied.
The Delaware is one of the best laying hens for Idaho because they’re incredibly hardy and adapt well to all climates.
They’re a native, endangered breed; a cross between the Plymouth Rock and New Hampshire.
Delaware’s were originally broilers but are now more popular as layers and are famous for their jumbo brown eggs. They produce around four each week— up to 200 per year.
Delaware chickens are versatile and tremendously adaptable to their environment.
They’re calm, friendly birds but can be noisy, and the hens aren’t very broody.
The Delaware is a medium to large bird and develops quickly. Hens weigh up to 6.5 lbs, and roosters up to 8.5 lbs.
Dominiques, also known as Pilgrim Fowl, originated in colonial times and are one of the oldest American breeds.
They’re cold-resistant with a pea comb, which is less susceptible to frostbite, and they also tolerate heat. The Dominique is a robust dual-purpose bird but is more popular as a layer.
They mature quickly. Hens weigh up to 5 pounds and produce 150–200 medium brown eggs annually. The roosters weigh up to 7 pounds.
Dominiques are friendly, calm, and cooperative and are excellent brooders. They like to free-range and are fantastic foragers.
Easter Eggers are native to the USA and are hardy birds that can withstand hot and cold temperatures.
They’re a dual-purpose breed, but most people keep them for their distinctive, pretty eggs. Each hen produces a different shade within these colors: brown, cream, blue, or pink.
Easter egg hens are reliable layers and produce more than 200 extra large eggs annually, but they aren’t very broody.
Easter Eggers are unique birds—each one has different colors, combs and markings. This is because they aren’t an official breed—they’re a hybrid of the Araucana or Ameraucana.
People love to keep Easter Egg chickens because they’re friendly, calm birds who enjoy being around their owners. But, they’re timid and can be the victim of bullying in a flock.
The Easter egg is a small breed—hens weigh up to 4 pounds, and the roosters up to 5 pounds.
The Golden Comet
Golden Comets are low-maintenance hybrid chickens, a cross between a New Hampshire and White Rock.
They are small, heat-resistant birds but also thrive in cold climates. But, you must protect their large comb from frostbite during the coldest months.
Golden Comets are traditionally a commercial breed, bred for laying, but now they thrive in backyards. They are prolific layers, producing up to 330 medium to large light brown eggs annually.
Golden Comets are gentle, friendly, docile, and love to be petted—so they are ideal for homes with children.
These birds cope well living indoors, but they love to free-range, and the hens rarely get broody.
The Golden Comet is a small breed—hens weigh up to 4 lbs, and roosters 6 lbs. They are incredibly passive, so you should keep them with other timid birds.
The New Hampshire
The New Hampshire was derived from the Rhode Island Red and is robust and adaptable to all climates. But, they have a large comb and are susceptible to frostbite in the winter.
New Hampshires are hardy, low-maintenance, dual-purpose birds and are ideal for beginners.
The hens are moderately broody and are devoted mothers—they produce 150–200 large brown eggs annually.
New Hampshire can be noisy and are friendly birds, but they don’t enjoy being petted. They are excellent foragers and love to free-range but don’t mind being indoors.
New Hampshire hens weigh up to 6.5 lbs, and roosters up to 8.5 lbs. Some roosters can be aggressive, so you must keep them with other assertive breeds.
The Rhode Island Red
The Rhode Island Red is a native breed from Massachusetts and is a hardy, low-maintenance bird that thrives in all climates.
They’re more heat tolerant than other cold hardy breeds because their feathers are less dense.
The Rhode Island Red is a versatile, dual-purpose chicken. They are friendly—but roosters can be territorial, so they aren’t good with pets, children, and timid chickens.
These birds are reliable layers and will produce 250–300 medium to large brown eggs annually. The hens weigh 6.5 lbs, and the roosters 8.5 lbs.
Welsummers are a distinctive European breed from the Netherlands. They’re popular in the UK and Australia, but not so much in the USA.
The Welsummer is heat and cold resistant, so ideal for Idaho. However, they are prone to frostbite in the winter and need plenty of shade and water in hot weather.
Welsummers produce 160–250 distinctive, dark brown, sometimes speckled, eggs annually. The hens are occasionally broody but aren’t good mothers.
These birds are intelligent, calm, friendly, and docile but can be noisy. They love to forage but also do well indoors.
The hens weigh up to 6 lbs, and the roosters up to 7 lbs.
The best egg laying hens for Idaho are cold-tolerant ones that are also heat resistant. Cold-tolerant birds are generally large, with many feathers and ideally have pea combs.
Some cold-resistant birds have long combs that are prone to frostbite. You can put Vaseline on long combs to prevent frostbite or invest in a Sweeter heater for the coop.
In the summer, you must provide plenty of shade and water for your chickens, especially on hot days or if you have large, fluffy birds.