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how cold can chickens take it before needing heater?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

i was wondering how cold chickens could tolerate before they would need a heater in the coop?

i have a digital thermometer that transmits from the garage coop and so far the lowest temp the coop has reached has been 37 degrees at night. the garage is insulated and the coop has been too (actually for sound proofing).

1 corgi, 1 cat, and about 25 chickens! oh, and 1 husband going 'clucky'!
future project: bantam cuckoo faverolles and bantam ermine faverolles! LF silver laced and ermine faverolles too!
join us at the faverolles thread anytime! http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=268082&p=1
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1 corgi, 1 cat, and about 25 chickens! oh, and 1 husband going 'clucky'!
future project: bantam cuckoo faverolles and bantam ermine faverolles! LF silver laced and ermine faverolles too!
join us at the faverolles thread anytime! http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=268082&p=1
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post #2 of 11

I think we've been down to -40 with windchill. or somewhere in the -20's

I thought I'd have a coop of frozen chicken but they hauled out their down comforters and were just fine!

Everything I say is fully substantiated by my own opinion!
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http://cherylmercer.blogspot.com/
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Everything I say is fully substantiated by my own opinion!
BYC member #4418
http://cherylmercer.blogspot.com/
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post #3 of 11

We have gotten into the high 20s here so far with no problems.

I read a blog about backyard chickens in Montana and they survive the winters with no heat... and it can be pretty extreme there... so I really haven't worried about heat for mine.  I think they can handle really love temps... like the other poster said... below 0F.

I am going to get a ceramic heat bulb (no light), though, to put over their water so that it doesn't freeze.  I think frozen water is probably the biggest issue with cold weather.

Also, I've read that birds that are used to cold climates do better than ones that move from warmer climates (like florida, arizona, etc) to colder ones (new england, northern plains, rockies, etc.).  Same with heat... they're better off if it's a gradual change so that they can get used to it.

First time chicken owner, blogging about the experience with lots of cute pics!  Updated regularly.  Please check it out and follow our progress!

http://lisahaschickens.wordpress.com
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First time chicken owner, blogging about the experience with lots of cute pics!  Updated regularly.  Please check it out and follow our progress!

http://lisahaschickens.wordpress.com
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post #4 of 11

They actually do very well I've had mine out in a wooden coop without heat and snow outside.  I would just recomend that the cold wind dosen't hit them and no young chickens are out there either.

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

there are no drafts that i am aware of, they have a window but it has been kept closed. i haven't cut the door to the outside yet for them to go out and scratch in the frosty/frozen dirt. if i let them out it is into the garage itself. (we have yet to get a car into the garage since we've been here)

we moved them up to the garage for the winter so i wouldn't have to trudge through the snow to thaw out their water. and having them in the garage just seemed safer from predators like bears, coyotes, and other thieves that we've heard are in our area.


Edited by Chickie'sMoma - 11/19/09 at 8:04pm
1 corgi, 1 cat, and about 25 chickens! oh, and 1 husband going 'clucky'!
future project: bantam cuckoo faverolles and bantam ermine faverolles! LF silver laced and ermine faverolles too!
join us at the faverolles thread anytime! http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=268082&p=1
Reply
1 corgi, 1 cat, and about 25 chickens! oh, and 1 husband going 'clucky'!
future project: bantam cuckoo faverolles and bantam ermine faverolles! LF silver laced and ermine faverolles too!
join us at the faverolles thread anytime! http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=268082&p=1
Reply
post #6 of 11

What breeds do you have?  That is the single most important factor in deciding how cold is too cold.

post #7 of 11

See my 'cold coop' page, link in .sig below, for a whole bunch on this question.

Readers' digest version: cold-hardy type breeds in a well-managed coop will typically be *fine* well down towards 0 F, often much lower; you just have to keep an eye on them, see how they're doing.

If yours are in a garage, make sure they are well enough ventilated that the coop air does not get real humid; but other than that you may *never* have to turn on a lamp at all. Wait and see what the chickens are telling you wink

Good luck, have fun,

Pat

post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

mostly bantams-2 salmon favs, 3 cochins (1 roo), 1 cochin/silkie mix, 1 d'uccle, 1 wc polish, 2 wyandottes and 1 buff brahma.

my standards are 1 EE, 2 light brahmas, 1 houdan and 1 houdan/polish mix.

most have little to no visible comb and those that have them i know i'll have to slather them with stuff.

1 corgi, 1 cat, and about 25 chickens! oh, and 1 husband going 'clucky'!
future project: bantam cuckoo faverolles and bantam ermine faverolles! LF silver laced and ermine faverolles too!
join us at the faverolles thread anytime! http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=268082&p=1
Reply
1 corgi, 1 cat, and about 25 chickens! oh, and 1 husband going 'clucky'!
future project: bantam cuckoo faverolles and bantam ermine faverolles! LF silver laced and ermine faverolles too!
join us at the faverolles thread anytime! http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=268082&p=1
Reply
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

thanks patandchickens! that was a very useful link you have there!

i'll keep all that in mind. we don't usually get winters that drop below 0 deg for long periods. and we are just down the street from our local utility substation (Dept of Public works is across the street too) so we don't usually lose power for long.

1 corgi, 1 cat, and about 25 chickens! oh, and 1 husband going 'clucky'!
future project: bantam cuckoo faverolles and bantam ermine faverolles! LF silver laced and ermine faverolles too!
join us at the faverolles thread anytime! http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=268082&p=1
Reply
1 corgi, 1 cat, and about 25 chickens! oh, and 1 husband going 'clucky'!
future project: bantam cuckoo faverolles and bantam ermine faverolles! LF silver laced and ermine faverolles too!
join us at the faverolles thread anytime! http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=268082&p=1
Reply
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by patandchickens 

See my 'cold coop' page, link in .sig below, for a whole bunch on this question.

Readers' digest version: cold-hardy type breeds in a well-managed coop will typically be *fine* well down towards 0 F, often much lower; you just have to keep an eye on them, see how they're doing.

If yours are in a garage, make sure they are well enough ventilated that the coop air does not get real humid; but other than that you may *never* have to turn on a lamp at all. Wait and see what the chickens are telling you wink

Good luck, have fun,

Pat


Woman, you rock!  The information on that page is very sensible, realistic, practical, and incredibly informative.  It is also easy to read and understand.  Great job and a huge thank you!!  smile

Want an easier, CLEANER poultry watering solution? http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=27917
"If we ever forget that we're one nation under GOD, then we will be a nation gone under." - Ronald Reagan
Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.~Ben Franklin

Married to the sweetest guy who supports my chicken habit and...

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Want an easier, CLEANER poultry watering solution? http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=27917
"If we ever forget that we're one nation under GOD, then we will be a nation gone under." - Ronald Reagan
Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.~Ben Franklin

Married to the sweetest guy who supports my chicken habit and...

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