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Cold Temps

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hello, I am new to this forum.  We have 6 chickens (one died this morning) They were all okay at about 10am and we found her dead in the nesting area a little before 2.  We are not sure what caused this and our 8 year old daughter is devastated.  We have them in a coop under our covered patio and they have  yard access from the coop.  We do have a heat lamp but are not sure what temp is too cold for them.  We have been turning it on when the temps are in the teens and lower.  Any suggestions as to when the temps are too cold and what to do? Also, any thoughts as to what could cause a seemingly healthy young chicken to die (she was less than a year and had been laying)  Thanks

post #2 of 10

Sorry but chickens die unexpectedly. If dogs died at the rate chickens do, people wouldn't own as many dogs.

What breed are your birds? Most breeds can handle temps way below zero if allowed to acclimate.

If they have a heated space and then subjected to below freezing temps - that is stressful to them.

God bless the entire world - no exceptions.
Honey Bees, Black Penedesencas, among others

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God bless the entire world - no exceptions.
Honey Bees, Black Penedesencas, among others

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post #3 of 10

yes, heat lamp usually does more harm than good.    When they are left to acclimate to the cold with no heat, they develop a thick layer of body fat and their down keeps them warm, like a dog that gets a thicker winter coat.

Add in a heat lamp and their bodies won't develop this extra winter insulation.   Now, when they go outside, they don't have any protection from the elements.  Just like if you left your warm living room to walk around in the snow without your coat on.

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

We don't have the heat light on every night, but I guess we should leave it off all the time.  Tonight will be about 9 outside, they can survive that?

post #5 of 10

Did you handle dead bird to see how she felt?  Have you handled any of the others?

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.
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Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.
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post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

Not sure what you mean by handled... all of them were alive at about 10 am and we found her just before 2.  Our kids handle them all the time.  They hold them almost daily.  If you mean was she thin etc, no.. she seemed normal

post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by momof8 View Post

Not sure what you mean by handled... all of them were alive at about 10 am and we found her just before 2.  Our kids handle them all the time.  They hold them almost daily.  If you mean was she thin etc, no.. she seemed normal



Sorry for being vague.  The apparent condition / weight is something to watch.  Seldom do birds just drop dead although signs something is wrong are sometimes hard to catch without handling birds. 

 

Temperature alone, in your case 9 F, is not cold enough to kill.  How did her vent / cloaca look?

 

Did she have anything in her crop?

 

Are remaining birds all on roost?

 

In most intances when a bird drops dead in my flock, it usually can not get to roost the night before. 

 

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.
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Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.
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post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

You will have to excuse my ignorance,,, I do not know a lot of the terms you are using (I guess we should learn) Our chicken adventure started as our daughter bringing home a chic from school.. we built a coop and got more!  We wanted the fresh eggs.  She felt perfect in weight when we held her and they are all laying.  I do not know the body parts you are referring to so I guess I need to learn.  What do you mean are the remaining birds all on roost? They have a roosting/nesting area in the coop and that is where we found her this afternoon.  However, my husband just went to check on them and non of the chickens are in the nesting/roosting area, they are all at the bottom. I did not even think to examine our dead hen, probably because my 8 year old was hysterical.  I think this site will be good for learning

 

post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by momof8 View Post

You will have to excuse my ignorance,,, I do not know a lot of the terms you are using (I guess we should learn) Our chicken adventure started as our daughter bringing home a chic from school.. we built a coop and got more!  We wanted the fresh eggs.  She felt perfect in weight when we held her and they are all laying.  I do not know the body parts you are referring to so I guess I need to learn.  What do you mean are the remaining birds all on roost? They have a roosting/nesting area in the coop and that is where we found her this afternoon.  However, my husband just went to check on them and non of the chickens are in the nesting/roosting area, they are all at the bottom. I did not even think to examine our dead hen, probably because my 8 year old was hysterical.  I think this site will be good for learning

 


You are starting a long and often but not always fun learning curve.

 

See link for images. http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=anatomy+of+chicken&id=CBC2610AFDDF99903B145348D0F56EBD58D29629&FORM=IQFRBA
 

 

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.
Reply
Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.
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post #10 of 10

Hi,

This is a bit belated to your post, but I had the exact same scenario today. It is sad to lose a sweet bird. My hen was over a year old and had been healthy but she had some previous laying issues. She laid eggs off and on. Upon doing a little research, I learned that chickens can die due to egg binding, where they cannot lay an egg that has become impacted. Since my girl was fine this morning and she was found nesting, I am fairly certain that was the case here and may have been with your hen too.  I didn't have the heart to examine her other than a quick look.  She was one of my two favorites out of the six we had. I will miss her.

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