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Silkies in cold weather?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

What type of housing do I need for silkies in Wisconsin?  We can have very cold winters.

post #2 of 6

Draft free housing, lots of deep bedding (most tend to roost on the floor), plenty of fresh water, and good food with higher protein in the winter. If it gets really extremely cold, like minus 10 for a week or more, you may want to add some heat source. The weather here has been very good to us so far this year, but it has gotten down to 12* here some nights. I have 14 Silkies in a small coop, that cuddle up on the floor and are doing fine. I've not even had to close the coop pop door at night yet! Most important is to keep them from getting wet when it is freezing. Silkie feathers do not shed the rain and snow like hard feathered chicken feathers do, so they get soaked to the skin very quickly! A roof over their run area will help to avoid this.  ETA:  This is my first winter with Silkies. I do not use lights or heat sources for any of my other chickens. Power outages usually occur here in the winter, and if they get used to a heat source, and then suddenly lose it, there may be major problems! My chickens are my pals, but they are also chickens, and need to be self sufficient too! Keep an eye on them to see how they are doing, and adjust accordingly. smile


Edited by Debbi - 1/4/12 at 6:32pm

"Live and learn from fools and from sages" ~ Aerosmith
Black & Blue Copper Marans, and one Wheaten ~ White, Partridge & BBS Silkies
Member of:  ASBC

 

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"Live and learn from fools and from sages" ~ Aerosmith
Black & Blue Copper Marans, and one Wheaten ~ White, Partridge & BBS Silkies
Member of:  ASBC

 

Reply
post #3 of 6

Although I will add one thing, a platform of some type. I've had Silkies for years and its only been recently that I realized they actually like being up on something at night, most of them do any way. I've got a couple of roosts attached to the wall two feet off the floor but most of my pens have long platforms for them to hunker down on. Its nothing more than a one by four laid flat over a couple of pieces of two by four.

Keep the wind from underneath the building if its raised at all. That leaches a lot of heat out and has the birds where all that cold is traveling through.

Robin
Summertown, TN
TN State Rep for the American Silkie Bantam Club
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Robin
Summertown, TN
TN State Rep for the American Silkie Bantam Club
Reply
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Debbi 

Draft free housing, lots of deep bedding (most tend to roost on the floor), plenty of fresh water, and good food with higher protein in the winter. If it gets really extremely cold, like minus 10 for a week or more, you may want to add some heat source. The weather here has been very good to us so far this year, but it has gotten down to 12* here some nights. I have 14 Silkies in a small coop, that cuddle up on the floor and are doing fine. I've not even had to close the coop pop door at night yet! Most important is to keep them from getting wet when it is freezing. Silkie feathers do not shed the rain and snow like hard feathered chicken feathers do, so they get soaked to the skin very quickly! A roof over their run area will help to avoid this.  ETA:  This is my first winter with Silkies. I do not use lights or heat sources for any of my other chickens. Power outages usually occur here in the winter, and if they get used to a heat source, and then suddenly lose it, there may be major problems! My chickens are my pals, but they are also chickens, and need to be self sufficient too! Keep an eye on them to see how they are doing, and adjust accordingly. smile


Thank you for all the info!  This will be my first time with silkies also. I always put plastic on 3 sides of my run for the "girls" in the winter to keep the wind and snow out and dry leaves on the sand in the run.  They seem to love it!  Maybe I will give silkies a try!

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by robin416 

Although I will add one thing, a platform of some type. I've had Silkies for years and its only been recently that I realized they actually like being up on something at night, most of them do any way. I've got a couple of roosts attached to the wall two feet off the floor but most of my pens have long platforms for them to hunker down on. Its nothing more than a one by four laid flat over a couple of pieces of two by four.

Keep the wind from underneath the building if its raised at all. That leaches a lot of heat out and has the birds where all that cold is traveling through.


Do you think a roosting ledge with 3 sides and pine shaving would work?

post #6 of 6

I only have two silkies in my flock.  We don't get Wisconsin winters, but those two little gals bip and bop around in the cold much more enthusiastically than my hard feathered LF birds.  I'd figured on them being more delicate than they are - they're tough little birds.  Mine do roost - just a 2x4, although my roost is only about 20 inches high (and has a ramp leading up to it...lol).  Their achilles heel is in getting wet, as was mentioned already.  Unlike hardfeathered birds, they end up looking like drowned rats if they're out in the rain.  And you might want to watch the furry feathers on their feet if they're around snow.

Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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