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Rearing Young Chickens in Winter Without Supplemental Heat in a Barn

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 
I have four pens containing late season hatch chickens. They represent six broods with 3 broods in one of the pens (Pen 3). All pens are above ground and subjected to a lot of wind when it is out of the west or east. Youngest brood (Pen 4) still with hen hatched late December 31 to early November 1. Second youngest brood (Pen 2) hatched mid-October, combined broods are early October with two siblings hatched mid September. Balance are August hatch (Pen 1).


Largest brood is represented 10 juveniles in Pen 1 and they are already roosting up. Smallest brood is represented by five chicks under hen in Pen 4. As temperature dropped into the 20's overnight with highs in the 40's, feed intake has increased markedly and water freezes over night. With the exception of those under hen, all the little guys are fluffed up much of the day, especially in early morning hours. As sun shines into pens all are moving to sun themselves. Even those with hen do same.


Currently all walk on hardware cloth. Soon each pen will be lined with wheat straw and early next when alfalfa hay will be added as well to provide locations that do not conduct heat away from chicks and may collect heat from sun better (darker alfalfa hay).


Keeping them watered is going to a challenge. Keeping watereres topped off and in sun, possibly over something black will slow freezing at night and speed thawing when exposed to sun. Oats are being soaked and will be applied in container separate from feeder. I may explore using shaved ice as adults take it well.

Protecting sleeping locations for those still in down will be next issue. They chew through a lot of feed to stay warm at night and they can eat only so much.

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

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Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply
post #2 of 49

:caf

 

for reading later and following. I always enjoy your management posts. 

Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

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Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

Reply
post #3 of 49

What I have found, is that black will work with sunshine, but does nothing over night. It is better to empty the water in the late afternoon, and bring down fresh in the morning. Last year, I have a large two gallon black rubber bucket, that I had nipples attached to it. As long as I stayed above 20 degrees at night, this worked pretty well. The water absorbed enough heat on a good sunshiny day, to only get a little ice developed over night. However, once it dropped below 20 overnight, the whole thing froze up. Cloudy days were frozen much faster.

 

In the real cold weather, where 20's were the high of the day, and the nights much colder, I went back to two rubber black bowls, filling them on alternate days. If you flip a frozen solid bowl, usually there is enough sun/heat to thaw it enough that the block of ice falls out of the bowl. If a cloudy day, you can stomp.

 

I took your advice, of soaked grain, and was very pleased with the results several years ago, when I was raising chicks.

 

As a side note, have you ever raised fodder. It is not difficult to set up, and does add water to their diet.

 

MRs K

Western South Dakota Rancher
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Western South Dakota Rancher
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post #4 of 49
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs. K View Post

What I have found, is that black will work with sunshine, but does nothing over night. It is better to empty the water in the late afternoon, and bring down fresh in the morning. Last year, I have a large two gallon black rubber bucket, that I had nipples attached to it. As long as I stayed above 20 degrees at night, this worked pretty well. The water absorbed enough heat on a good sunshiny day, to only get a little ice developed over night. However, once it dropped below 20 overnight, the whole thing froze up. Cloudy days were frozen much faster.

In the real cold weather, where 20's were the high of the day, and the nights much colder, I went back to two rubber black bowls, filling them on alternate days. If you flip a frozen solid bowl, usually there is enough sun/heat to thaw it enough that the block of ice falls out of the bowl. If a cloudy day, you can stomp.

I took your advice, of soaked grain, and was very pleased with the results several years ago, when I was raising chicks.

As a side note, have you ever raised fodder. It is not difficult to set up, and does add water to their diet.

MRs K

Black will increase water temperature going into the latter part of the day buying time water remains fluid as air temperature drops. Intent is to increase availability of liquid water on day when temperature is in the 20's. Will not be effective when temperature lower or more overcast. Some days they will have liquid water for only short periods of time immediately after filling. Increasing water availability even small amounts will benefit young birds. I can also setup so I have two sets of waterers where they are swapped each morning. I have lots of rubber bowls but chicks need to be 5 weeks to use those without risk of immersion. It would not require getting very wet to put you birds at risk when very cold.

I will be experimenting with fodder soon. I have too many birds relative to the fodder rearing space.

Dog is treeing something in back yard. Likely a raccoon.

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply
post #5 of 49
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs. K View Post

What I have found, is that black will work with sunshine, but does nothing over night. It is better to empty the water in the late afternoon, and bring down fresh in the morning. Last year, I have a large two gallon black rubber bucket, that I had nipples attached to it. As long as I stayed above 20 degrees at night, this worked pretty well. The water absorbed enough heat on a good sunshiny day, to only get a little ice developed over night. However, once it dropped below 20 overnight, the whole thing froze up. Cloudy days were frozen much faster.

In the real cold weather, where 20's were the high of the day, and the nights much colder, I went back to two rubber black bowls, filling them on alternate days. If you flip a frozen solid bowl, usually there is enough sun/heat to thaw it enough that the block of ice falls out of the bowl. If a cloudy day, you can stomp.

I took your advice, of soaked grain, and was very pleased with the results several years ago, when I was raising chicks.

As a side note, have you ever raised fodder. It is not difficult to set up, and does add water to their diet.

MRs K

Black will increase water temperature going into the latter part of the day buying time water remains fluid as air temperature drops. Intent is to increase availability of liquid water on day when temperature is in the 20's. Will not be effective when temperature lower or more overcast. Some days they will have liquid water for only short periods of time immediately after filling. Increasing water availability even small amounts will benefit young birds. I can also setup so I have two sets of waterers where they are swapped each morning. I have lots of rubber bowls but chicks need to be 5 weeks to use those without risk of immersion. It would not require getting very wet to put you birds at risk when very cold.

I will be experimenting with fodder soon. I have too many birds relative to the fodder rearing space.

Dog is treeing something in back yard. Likely a raccoon.

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply
post #6 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by centrarchid View Post

.... Youngest brood (Pen 4) still with hen hatched late December (October?) 31 to early November 1. ......

 

October?

 

Looking forward to following along.


Edited by aart - 11/21/16 at 3:39am

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #7 of 49


Me too!  We do get some very cold weather in north Florida - it was 29 last night. 

Peeps61
Location: NW Florida
Chickens since Feb. 2013
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Peeps61
Location: NW Florida
Chickens since Feb. 2013
Reply
post #8 of 49
Thread Starter 
Getting ready to do some changes. Over last couple weeks I have been having problems specific to games that have little to do with winter conditions other than confinement complicates things a lot. We are getting rain now with temperatures to drop into the 20's for high. When rain quits drying out where chicks stay will be a priority. I also have one brood of nine still with hen that I do not want to be weaning during the intense cold so hopefully they can stay with hen for another week. Game chicken complications may make that a little difficult.

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply
post #9 of 49
Thread Starter 
I just went out to see what I will need to be doing. The rain is that special find that goes horizontal and wets everything in the barn. I will have to cover hay / straw stores better. I am soaking oats getting those ready for storage. Subsequent soakings / fermentation will have to be done in warmer garage as when really cold process too slow and I can get oats out easily when frozen solid. Everything to be down is also to be streamlined. I already invest more in feeding four pens of chicks and juveniles than I do for the the much larger number of pens for adults. Chick waterers will be swapped out for the black rubber bowls. I am also having a feathering issue that does not occur during summer and would not be a problematic during summer if it did. Many of the chicks and juveniles have patches of pen feathers exposed. They have not be been dust bathing enough and have been piling up in boxes too tight at night. Straw will be placed to reduce chicks piling. BOSS will be added to diet as a method of increasing oil secretion for preening.

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply
post #10 of 49
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by aart View Post

October?

Looking forward to following along.


Both October and December. Will be setting incubator for American Dominiques today.

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply
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