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It's about to get cold.....advice needed

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

We have some cool temps predicted in the next few nights.   Tomorrow night down to 45 and Friday night down to 41.

I am new to the chicken game so this is my first time with cool/cold temps.

We have 4 Black/Blue Copper Marans.   They are about 24 weeks old and laying.

I have vents in my chicken tractor where they roost.

Should I cover the vents for them in the next day or so, or will 41 degrees not need to be worried about?

I don't have a cover for the roosting area door.

Here is a picture of my tractor.  I have vents on the sides and one in the front.

Your help and advice is appreciated.

Fayetteville, Arkansas
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Fayetteville, Arkansas
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post #2 of 7

The mistake most people make is in trying to keep chickens warm, they close up the vents. That traps the moisture inside, and you have damp chickens. Damp chickens are cold chickens.

 

What you really need to do is keep chickens dry. Dry feathers are amazingly insulating. My birds are very safe at -20 degrees F. Make sure that the manure does not pile up, keep the vents opened so that the moisture from their breath and manure can escape. 

 

If they can get out of the wind, and stay dry, you do not need to worry at all.

Western South Dakota Rancher
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Western South Dakota Rancher
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post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Mrs. K,........Thanks for the reply.

I was thinking I was worried too much about "just 40 degrees" and will let the hens keep themselves warm.

Even when I do close up the vents, I will keep the door open and there will be ventilation from where the roof meets the coop.

Thanks again.

Fayetteville, Arkansas
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Fayetteville, Arkansas
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post #4 of 7

I don't worry about temperature and my chickens until it gets below freezing. Then I will turn on a heat lamp in the building which will supply enough heat to get them through the night.

 

It is important at this time to insure that their coop is clean and dry with fresh bedding and flooring. Dampness and  the ammonia smell from their droppings can cause all kinds of problems.

Also, you need ventilation but not drafts that can blow directly on them. Mine are pretty smart, they know where the draft free

area are and prefer to roost in that area.

post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by ccat1 View Post
 

Mrs. K,........Thanks for the reply.

I was thinking I was worried too much about "just 40 degrees" and will let the hens keep themselves warm.

Even when I do close up the vents, I will keep the door open and there will be ventilation from where the roof meets the coop.

Thanks again.

 

You should give serious thought, to just leaving those vents open through the winter.  The coop is not all that big, and the chickens will need the fresh air/ventilation.  Don't count on the little gaps up by the roof line to supply it. Check out the pic below. The whole front wall is open.   We get winter temps to 0 F, and sometimes a little below.  And that doesn't include any windchill.  No heat or insulation, and the chickens thrive.  Insufficient ventilation in the cold winter months can lead to big problems for the birds, from frostbite, to severe respiratory problems. 

Photo 12 of 12


 

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post #6 of 7


Love your tractor!  We plan to cover the sides of our tractors, but not the front or back, so that there is still good cross ventilation.  I think I'm going to block the roost vents by about half with some cardboard cut to fit in the vents.  

 

Right now they are set up for summer, with a canvas cover for rain and then these reflective sun cloths over top.   Or actually I should say they are both covered in plastic except rear and front screen door for the coming hurricane! :-O  

 

I would suggest cutting cardboard or some such now in decent weather, and have them on hand in case you decide you need to pop them in on a crappy day.  This is our first winter with these 4 season tractors as well.  But that's my plan!  


DH will make a nicer clear plastic secure cover that will just go on the sides/top of the run part.  I think.  May also cut some cardboard for that front door, too.  

HTH

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks again yall,  You have really been giving me some helpful info.

I am learning more about the need for ventilation and will be ready when the real cold comes.

Tonight and tomorrow is supposed to be low 40's and I think I have been worried when I shouldn't be.

Thanks again.

ccat1 

Fayetteville, Arkansas
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Fayetteville, Arkansas
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