Here’s something worth considering. If you’re thinking of getting a flock of chickens, consider getting a heritage breed.
Do some research as to your weather conditions, how harsh your winter is and how much natural vegetation you have in season. Then get some heritage breed chickens! They know how to forage and they’re used to being outdoors.
If you live in a northern climate and have room to let your chickens free range (and you should, no matter what size yard you have) then look into Icelandic chickens. They’re great layers, fantastic at finding their own food and are excellent at being broody.
Our chickens are a Red Sex Link….great layers, not so great at being broody. I think its been bred out of them, although we do have one that will make an excellent mother.
She does a great job of keeping our eggs from freezing during winter. Since our layers tend to lay in one box, Beatrice gets in there and keeps all the eggs warm until we go down and collect them.
We have trained these girls to hunt and peck for their food. Not that it does much good in the middle of winter, but we know that as soon as the snow melts, these girls will be paying their own way again.