The New Hampshire chicken breed is a reliable and robust hen that doesn’t disappoint when it comes to producing delicious eggs or forming wonderful feathered friendships. These girls are gentle and warm, make egg-cellent mums and are quietly beautiful. Think of the New Hampshire chook as the hen-next-door, an unassuming chicken that is definitely more worthy of your attention than her looks let on. The breed was developed in the early 1900s by New Hampshire farmers who wanted to improve on the existing Rhode Island Reds and have a chicken breed to call their very own. The farmers focussed on breeding hens that were fast growing, early to lay and hardy in the bitterly cold winters of the north-eastern US state. The resulting delightful bird was officially coined the New Hampshire in 1935.
1. Gently, Gently
Despite being quite the robust ladies, New Hampshire chickens are gentle and elegant hens that just want to take it easy and peck away at their own pace. With their relaxed energy and happy-go-clucky outlook on life, these girls fit in anywhere! They like to be in a run. They like to free range. They like to be in a group of two or a feathered flock of many! In fact, there aren’t many backyard chicken situations that the New Hampshire hen won’t be totally comfortable in. This lady isn’t fazed by the behaviour of other chooks, the antics of other pets or the attention of overly affectionate kids. She takes each day as it comes and is confident in her friendly nature and her subtle charm, both in the coop and in the garden.
2. A Mother Hen’s Love
If you’re thinking of raising some wee chooks from eggs, New Hampshire chickens are the wise choice when it comes to picking a feathered foster mum. These girls make motherhood look easy. If given the chance, New Hampshire chickens are wonderful mums to their own chicks or any baby balls of fluff that need a gentle beak to guide them into hen-hood. They are caring and natural brooders, but don’t be discouraged from adding them to your chick-free flock! If you don’t want your New Hampshire hen to start playing mum in the garden, broodiness is easily avoidable, check out these tips here.
3. Winter… What winter?
Robust and reliable, the New Hampshire breed of chicken is not about to let a little thing like cold weather get in the way of her living the laidback life. If you live in a chilly climate, these hens are the perfect choice for a backyard chook that will flourish in the most frigid conditions, New Hampshire girls are happy to carry on gently foraging while the less brave birds huddle in their coops. Their full and fluffy feather coats and heavyset bodies insulate the New Hampshire hen from the chill of winter and their small single combs handle the cold better than the larger combs of more showy breeds. That’s not to say that these girls should be shut out in the cold come winter! A hen deserves the best life she can live! It’s always best to have a warm and insulated coop, with proper ventilation, and a good supply of absorbent and dust free bedding like hemp. It’s important to keep your coop dry, regardless of your flock’s hardiness, as moisture is the number one culprit for frostbite in hens.
4. Full and Fluffy
The New Hampshire chicken is the kind of chook that seems familiar, like you’ve always known her. She is the quintessential hen, full bodied with strong legs which help her forage for your garden pests. Her small and curious face sits atop a lovely curved neck and her rich russet red plumage is full and fluffy and accented by a darker brown tuft of tail feathers. The hen-next-door charm of the New Hampshire chook is comforting, as you gaze upon your backyard flock you feel transported to simpler times, when almost everyone had a coop in their garden and a fresh batch of eggs on the kitchen table for the family to share.
5. Relaxed, Reliable, and Ready to Hug
The full and fluffy plumage of the New Hampshire hen welcomes your affection. She is happy to be handled by people both young and old. They are especially fond of a treat or two (or fifty!) so try some mealworms or cracked corn as an icebreaker when meeting one of these ladies and they will be eating from your hand and locked into your heart for years to come. New Hampshire chooks are great for families with kids and first time Chicken Ladies and Lads. They are easy to care for and easy to love, are egg-cellent layers – producing about 150 eggs per year – and take everything in their feathered stride. Just like their ancestors, the Rhode Island Reds, the New Hampshire hen is an all-round go-to chicken breed for chicken keepers in the know.
The New Hampshire chicken breed is an egg-cellent choice of chook for any Chicken Lady or Lad. They are reliable, relaxed and robust and provide delicious eggs, companionship and a classic style of hen for your backyard flock. New Hampshire hens are a chicken with personality and need a coop with character to flourish! Want to start a fledgling flock of two? Or perhaps create a happy and healthy home for a group of these hens-next-door? We have you sorted with our easy to love and easy to clean coops like the marvellous Mansion, the perfect Penthouse or the terrific Taj Mahal. Have a peck at these happy homes to see what coop is the right choice for your New Hampshire girls.
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