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Rearing Young Chickens in Winter Without Supplemental Heat in a Barn - Page 2

post #11 of 49
Thread Starter 
Now it is snowing and sticking. Temperature dropping below what was predicted for today. Advantage of weather prediction lost at moment.

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 #12 of 49
Thread Starter 
This morning it is getting down well into the 10's and I will be departing for work well before dawn. Shortly I will be going to barn with warm water to arm waterers for chicks and juveniles. They will have ample time this morning for a good fill up before water freezes. Below freezing temperature for balance of day will deny them liquid water until I get back tonight. Then I will light up barn with flash light and pop them with more water so they can drink again and likely hit the feeder to top off crops as well. During such events for adults, simply tossing soaked oats on ice in waterer fixes problem but water needs for chicks might be tougher to meet. Soaked oats will be applied but I will still invest considerable effort into getting chicks additional water. I may confine broods in a larger pen where a larger waterer can be used to slow freezing. We also got one of those crushed ice cone maker things that may put ice particles down in a size range chicks will ingest at rates needed to meet water needs. Adults are able to do so in part because they have so much loafing time although chicks generally invest more time eating and grooming which may conflict.

This is where an interaction between bird age, weather and work schedule makes care tougher. The games I know can take it but the American Dominiques in years to come will be eating a lot more dry feed to support their more rapid growth so keeping them in liquid water at all times will be more important.

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 #13 of 49


Brrh!  In the tens - if it gets below freezing in Molino, FL, we all stay inside!  Best of luck with your efforts.  Mine will be in their tarped off coop for the cold nights we have coming.  We will have a warning trend on Sunday and through next week, so that helps too.  We have a few days when the horse trough, the rabbit and chicken waterers freeze and it's down right miserable.  But, not too often.

Peeps61
Location: NW Florida
Chickens since Feb. 2013
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Peeps61
Location: NW Florida
Chickens since Feb. 2013
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post #14 of 49
Thread Starter 
Over last two days I did some brood combining to reduce labor associated with feeding and watering. Down from 5 to 2 management units. Chick waterers were not getting job done and hard to dismantle for refilling when contents froze solid. I have to walk well over 100 yards with buckets of water so looking to stream line process. Combining broods was enabled in part by advice from another where I could take advantage of much larger juveniles from other broods to disrupt fights from little guys. This allowed direct combining which is awesome. Waterers now used are the black rubber bowls. They are easy to empty and refill.

Also using "huddle boxes" which birds hopefully will adopt tonight. Temperatures dropping into low 20's F which not all that harsh.

At tail end of combining process last night there was some confusion finding roost which called the Great-horned Owl in while I was out. Chickens making racket at night is like ringing the dinner bell for the owls and they will take if I was not there.

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 #15 of 49
Thread Starter 
We have been largely been below freezing for last several days with lows in the lower teens. I have been able to keep young birds in water twice each day, early AM just before dawn and at dusk. When I check on them in the PM they are complaining for eats even though feeders are not empty. Addition of the shell corn, milo, oats and BOSS mix settles them down nicely. Saturday and Sunday temperatures will be approaching zero F so I will be increasing the amount of whole grains in mix. Such stimulates crop fill better likely because easier to consume. Wind blocks will be revisited tomorrow. Bedding will be freshened.

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 #16 of 49
Thread Starter 
I just placed hay in all pens with actual groups (>3 birds). With groups contacting ground small square bales placed away from were rain comes in and on the ground with strings intact. Pens with what are now all juveniles in the elevated pens got two flakes each. Flakes were placed intact. Juveniles went to town on the flakes of hay very quickly and started to consume some. Hay is a fescue mix, not what I prefer but all I could find on short notice when roads getting treacherous from freezing rain. Last remaining (youngest) brood still with hen went into battle royal mode this morning so hen pulled and replaced with a stag that promptly began kicking butt on the combatants. Hopefully all will settle down so they can sleep together when temperature approach zero tonight. The younger birds are barely juvenile at six weeks so well below what I consider very cold tolerant. When they go into battle royal mode feed consumption drops way off so that makes for bad situation if not taken into account. That stag needs to do his job quick.

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 #17 of 49

Can you explain the stag idea a bit more thoroughly? 

Western South Dakota Rancher
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Western South Dakota Rancher
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post #18 of 49

Can you explain the stag idea a bit more thoroughly? 

Western South Dakota Rancher
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Western South Dakota Rancher
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post #19 of 49
Thread Starter 
First, young birds used to test my winter pen setup are American Games. In most, but not all instances, once a brood reaches weaning age of about 5-weeks post-hatch they go through a phase where within brood fighting becomes intense an can result actual losses of young birds. Fighting most intense with males although sometimes females get into fighting as well. Hen at such times seems a bit confused and does nothing to suppress discord. When birds kept with father / harem master, the infighting is suppressed. My standard approach has been to rear young birds in intact family units, or at least with adult males scattered about (in confinement but able to interact with young) to prevent this and also keep hawks off chicks and juveniles. This behavior usually keeps me from doing a lot of brooder rearing of games because that amplifies the problem. The broods used for this were hatched much later than I typically do resulting in very vulnerable birds going through weaning and early juvenile stage when migratory raptors (Coopers Hawks) are very abundant.


When hawk problems became apparent I penned all young birds and I did not have enough / any adult males that are through molt to pen with broods. Adult males also dump feed very badly in part because they do not seem to like mix fed to chicks. I kept broods independently violating my usual approach resulting in a lot of fighting. Stopped fighting in one brood by combing it with a smaller brood with much larger males already past the battle royal phase. That was only time I could do that. A person going by the name flypen has been using stags in same manner I have used cocks / bullstags so after brief discussion I did the same. The stag (older juvenile to nearly adult) is placed in with a brood where he does what most people detest about young roosters, he picks on younger birds. When the battle royal business is going on the stag directs his attention on the combatants and he attacks them until they back down which takes little effort. When the stag has lots of targets he causes no harm. Also, a brood in battle royal mode may also behave in a manner that makes so stag does not work them over. It takes 48 to 72 hours for battle royal mode phase to subside. Then I just leave stag with brood and he suppresses fighting that sometimes comes later. Stags fed same diet as juveniles and they are not as hard on feeders.

I cannot simply place stag on top of brood with hen as hen will often kill him in short order in confines of a pen. If she does not kill him, then she will prevent him from picking on her young doing the fighting. I have only done this four times over the last month but results very consistent.

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 #20 of 49
Thread Starter 
Temperature dropped down to current 0 F. Younger birds are using huddle boxes very well. Extra effort will be made to ensure they get all the water they need this morning. Staying well hydrated helps them consume more dry feed.

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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