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Suggestions for keeping flock warm?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I have a coop that isn't insulated but is completely enclosed- just a small door for them to come in and out of. The coop is located between a row of pine trees, so it's pretty well blocked from wind. Heat lamps are NOT an option. I keep fresh straw in the coop and they have constant water and food. I had one hen die yesterday and two again today. I found them outside of the coop laying in the snow. Any other tips? Am I forgetting something? It has been freezing here in Minnesota. Negative wind chill. I'd hate to lose any more! I feel terrible. 

 

Thank you 

post #2 of 12
I doubt they died of the cold - maybe exposure if they got locked out of the coop at night somehow, but as long as they can get out of winds and snow they're fine. They have down jackets and they shouldn't require supplemental heating. In fact, you don't even want to cover any ventilation in your coop this time of year because that's a surefire way to cause frostbite. My coop is entirely open fronted and mine all do fine. I even have naked necks, which are practically half naked, and they handle winter weather fine. People who live in Alaska keep chickens in unheated coops and they do well in the winter.

Could your birds have been locked out of the coop at night and unable to get away from winds and snow? Could they have died of some other cause? I really don't think cold is your culprit here.
Breeding Ayam Cemanis, Roman Tufted Geese, and Welsh Harlequin Ducks.

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Breeding Ayam Cemanis, Roman Tufted Geese, and Welsh Harlequin Ducks.

Vermonters, come join us in the Vermont thread!

Clearing Up Rooster Myths - Letting Broody Hens Hatch and Raise Chicks - Development of a Chicken Embryo Day by Day
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post #3 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by minifarmmom View Post
 

I have a coop that isn't insulated but is completely enclosed- just a small door for them to come in and out of. The coop is located between a row of pine trees, so it's pretty well blocked from wind. Heat lamps are NOT an option. I keep fresh straw in the coop and they have constant water and food. I had one hen die yesterday and two again today. I found them outside of the coop laying in the snow. Any other tips? Am I forgetting something? It has been freezing here in Minnesota. Negative wind chill. I'd hate to lose any more! I feel terrible. 

 

Thank you 

You need some ventilation all year round.

 

Not sure what killed your birds, there could be a plethora of reasons.......

...tho stress from the cold along with no fresh air could have been contributing factors. 

Pics of your coop might help us help you improve the situation.

 

Sorry for your loss....and Welcome to BYC.

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 #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
There is ventalation for the coop- it's just not wide open. There is definitely plenty of fresh air throughout the coop!
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
As for other reasons I'm not quite sure. They died outside the coop during the day. They could've been sick without me knowing but I would find it odd that they happened to die the coldest day of the year so far. But thank you all for your input! I know chickens have been surviving the cold for a long time.
post #6 of 12
If your chickens' deaths were cold related, there could have been a nutritional reason. It's true chickens are well adapted to cold. However, they depend on consuming enough calories to fire their furnaces. If your chickens did not eat enough to generate the calories needed during a very cold spell, it may account for the deaths. This is why many of us feed an extra handful of high calorie food, such as cracked corn or scratch grain, just before a cold front.

Of course, the deaths could only be tangentially connected to the cold. If your chickens are carrying a virus that attacks the immune system, this could have played a role in the cluster of deaths. Since it was a cluster, and you have ruled out predators, I would send off the dead chickens for a necropsy to determine cause of death so you know what you're dealing with.
post #7 of 12

Azygous makes some good points.

 

Knowing more about your coop and flock might help.

Is it possible that those birds were being bullied away from entering the coop by an aggressive flock member?

Is your run wind proofed....or maybe they just free range?


Edited by aart - 12/15/16 at 7:29am

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 #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
I never thought of the nutritional side to it. I will definitely be giving them some calories. Not sure what you mean by wind proof but there is no sort of insulation. They are free range so they come and go to the coop as they please. Our coop is taller for more roosting space but lately they've been huddled together on the bottom where the straw is. I can attempt to get a picture on here today.
post #9 of 12

How old are your birds? That might be a factor.

 

However, about 5 or 6 years ago, I wen through a spell where I found them dead like that. One of two, no biggie, but when I lost 4 over a few weeks, I was getting nervous, could not find anything. Then it just stopped and I didn't loose any for a long time. Sometimes they just die. It sucks... but then you got room for new chicks!

 

Mrs K

Western South Dakota Rancher
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Western South Dakota Rancher
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post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by minifarmmom View Post

I never thought of the nutritional side to it. I will definitely be giving them some calories. Not sure what you mean by wind proof but there is no sort of insulation. They are free range so they come and go to the coop as they please. Our coop is taller for more roosting space but lately they've been huddled together on the bottom where the straw is. I can attempt to get a picture on here today.

I was thinking if you had a run adding some windproofing can make more habitable space for them during nasty weather.

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
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