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Can chickens stand the cold weather?

post #1 of 246
Thread Starter 

Hey there

I was checking the weather for the next few weeks, and it is supposed to be pretty cold! Should I close the run doors to cut off the cool air, or leave them open for fresh air? I don't want them to freeze. 

The run doors face a field in western direction. We live close to the sea, which is northern. Also I'm in Atlantic Canada, so the weather gets pretty nasty up here sometimes. 
Anyways, just hope you can give me an answer soon.

Thanks

post #2 of 246

Chickens do wonderful in the cold. They are much better in the cold than in the heat. Just make sure drafts are shut off but still give plenty of ventilation.

narragansett, black Spanish and Blue slate turkeys. EE's, d'uccle mille fleur ,newhampshire, RIR, buff brahma, golden sebrite,  welsummer,  pheonix, dark brahma, Black Australorp, black langshan, buff rock, silver laced wyandotte,, Black cochin, Polish, lots of OEGB, all colors of silkies. Pearl grey guinea fowl.

Coexist!! Blessed Be friends of the Goddess, earth and life!

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narragansett, black Spanish and Blue slate turkeys. EE's, d'uccle mille fleur ,newhampshire, RIR, buff brahma, golden sebrite,  welsummer,  pheonix, dark brahma, Black Australorp, black langshan, buff rock, silver laced wyandotte,, Black cochin, Polish, lots of OEGB, all colors of silkies. Pearl grey guinea fowl.

Coexist!! Blessed Be friends of the Goddess, earth and life!

Reply
post #3 of 246

If you think they will freeze I would shut them up.  Not sure how cold we are talking about but if it's below freezing point for several days or weeks they could freeze or get severe frostbite.   Do you have maybe a heat lamp you could put in your coop just to keep it a little warmer for them?  Also how well insulated is your coop?  I have shut mine inside for a day or two when it's been really cold.  Of course they would rather get out and run around the run.  Chickens do surprise me sometimes with their tolerance for cold and heat.  They are tougher than we think.  Good luck!


Edited by bwalden - 1/15/13 at 2:54pm

Owner of Welsummers and Black Copper Marans

Married to the love of my life and father of two fine boys.

Member of Welsummer Club of North America

Member of MCCUSA

NPIP Certified #71-0664

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Owner of Welsummers and Black Copper Marans

Married to the love of my life and father of two fine boys.

Member of Welsummer Club of North America

Member of MCCUSA

NPIP Certified #71-0664

Reply
post #4 of 246
P,E,I, Canada, yeah you can get some pretty nasty weather this time of year. I suggest you read this article from a lady in sunny subtropical Ontario. I’ll include three articles, more bang for the buck. I think Pat is pretty good.

Pat’s Big Ol' Ventilation Page
http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-VENTILATION

Pat’s Cold Coop (winter design) page:
http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-winter-coop-temperatures

Pat’s Big Ol' Mud Page (fixing muddy runs):
http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-fix-a-muddy-run

The biggest danger to chickens in cold weather is frost bite, not freezing to death as long as they are in good health to start with. A huge danger to cause frost bite is lack of good ventilation. You really don’t want to lock them up tight. That puts them at risk. But you don’t want a direct cold breeze blowing on them either. Wind chill is real. The ideal is to have openings above their head when they are roosting to get the moist and stale air out so they can breathe decent air and let their down coat keep them from freezing.

I know your weather gets a lot colder than this but I’ll share a picture I took a few years back when it was 4 degrees Fahrenheit above zero, which is about (-)15 C. I left the pop door open and let then decide what to do. They went outside. If a cold wind had been hitting them they would not have stayed outside. They really don’t like cold wind hitting them but they don’t mind the cold.

Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought....Abraham Lincoln (Freedom carries responsibility)

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.....Judge Learned Hand  (The more sure your are that your way is the only right way, the more likely you are wrong.)

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought....Abraham Lincoln (Freedom carries responsibility)

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.....Judge Learned Hand  (The more sure your are that your way is the only right way, the more likely you are wrong.)

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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post #5 of 246
Quote:
Originally Posted by bwalden View Post

If you think they will freeze I would shut them up.  Not sure how cold we are talking about but if it's below freezing point for several days or weeks they could freeze or get severe frostbite.   Do you have maybe a heat lamp you could put in your coop just to keep it a little warmer for them?  Also how well insulated is your coop?  I have shut mine inside for a day or two when it's been really cold.  Of course they would rather get out and run around the run.  Chickens do surprise me sometimes with their tolerance for cold and heat.  They are tougher than we think.  Good luck!

Frost bite will only happen is there is too much moisture. That is were ventilation comes into play. Plenty of vents open up high in the coop and not over the roosts and you will be good on the frostbite protection. The bad part about heat lamps is the risk of fire. There are so many people a year that lose their whole flock due to fire caused by heat lamps. They really dont need extra heat once they are fully feathered.

narragansett, black Spanish and Blue slate turkeys. EE's, d'uccle mille fleur ,newhampshire, RIR, buff brahma, golden sebrite,  welsummer,  pheonix, dark brahma, Black Australorp, black langshan, buff rock, silver laced wyandotte,, Black cochin, Polish, lots of OEGB, all colors of silkies. Pearl grey guinea fowl.

Coexist!! Blessed Be friends of the Goddess, earth and life!

Reply

narragansett, black Spanish and Blue slate turkeys. EE's, d'uccle mille fleur ,newhampshire, RIR, buff brahma, golden sebrite,  welsummer,  pheonix, dark brahma, Black Australorp, black langshan, buff rock, silver laced wyandotte,, Black cochin, Polish, lots of OEGB, all colors of silkies. Pearl grey guinea fowl.

Coexist!! Blessed Be friends of the Goddess, earth and life!

Reply
post #6 of 246
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bwalden View Post

If you think they will freeze I would shut them up.  Not sure how cold we are talking about but if it's below freezing point for several days or weeks they could freeze or get severe frostbite.   Do you have maybe a heat lamp you could put in your coop just to keep it a little warmer for them?  Also how well insulated is your coop?  I have shut mine inside for a day or two when it's been really cold.  Of course they would rather get out and run around the run.  Chickens do surprise me sometimes with their tolerance for cold and heat.  They are tougher than we think.  Good luck!

No heat lamp in the coop and no insulation on the walls. Thanks, too. This will help.

post #7 of 246
Thread Starter 

Maiden and Ridge, thanks for the great info! Ridge, I will be reading those shortly.

The weather is below 0 for the next few weeks, so I may let them out a bit and monitor them closely. 

post #8 of 246

Mine free range at any time of year. They just dont care for rain or wind so ont hose days they choose to stay in

narragansett, black Spanish and Blue slate turkeys. EE's, d'uccle mille fleur ,newhampshire, RIR, buff brahma, golden sebrite,  welsummer,  pheonix, dark brahma, Black Australorp, black langshan, buff rock, silver laced wyandotte,, Black cochin, Polish, lots of OEGB, all colors of silkies. Pearl grey guinea fowl.

Coexist!! Blessed Be friends of the Goddess, earth and life!

Reply

narragansett, black Spanish and Blue slate turkeys. EE's, d'uccle mille fleur ,newhampshire, RIR, buff brahma, golden sebrite,  welsummer,  pheonix, dark brahma, Black Australorp, black langshan, buff rock, silver laced wyandotte,, Black cochin, Polish, lots of OEGB, all colors of silkies. Pearl grey guinea fowl.

Coexist!! Blessed Be friends of the Goddess, earth and life!

Reply
post #9 of 246
Thread Starter 

Yes, my chickens don't like the snow or rain much. In fact, my rooster is the biggest baby when it comes to bad weather!

post #10 of 246

Nutrition.

 

Make certain they have all the food they want.  Additionally I up the amount of intact grains when it gets really cold with windchill.  This helps offset the increased need for energy when birds stressed by cold.  Blocking direct wind helps greatly but dry places to stand like on wood or straw helps limit loss of heat through feet.

 

At such high latitude you may also gain from use of supplemental lighting.  I suspect your daylight is less than 8 hours per day limiting the birds feeding window making so periods of now food in crop and digestive tract more likely.  Increasing the period of time with light should make so feeding occurs more distributed through the 24-h diel cycle.

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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