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Hens to give away! Can't keep through the winter!

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

I have two Araucauna, one red production and one white featherfoot banty to give away as I can't keep them through the winter. The heat lamp cost is too high and there are not enough chickens to keep the temp up in the henhouse! I live in Northwest MN (Hawley).

post #2 of 25

How old are the chickens and how big is the hen house?

Adult chickens do not need heat in the winter. Deep bedding to snuggle in on the coldest nights with some cracked corn to rev their engines at bedtime and they will survive the coldest of cold weather.

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post #3 of 25

I too have heard of chickens surviving the winter in MN just fine.  For my extremely spoiled Tennessee girls, I use ceramic warming bulbs when it gets below mid-20s, and the lamps use no more energy than a light bulb ~

http://theworldofjenotopia.com/cmsjoomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=53&Itemid=27

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Just Bantams Now ~ Buff Silkies, Golden Neck and Self Blue Belgian d'Uccles, BBS Ameraucanas, Quality EEs

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post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 

The chickens are  1 1/2 years old... the henhouse is 8 feet by 8 feet. The temps in the winter get to 30 below zero at times but usually around zero in the winter. I kept it warm last winter but had 11 hens. I had to run a heat lamp all winter to keep it up to above 30 degrees (barely). I also had a heater pan under the waterer to keep it from freezing. Three hens died of unknown causes (may have been because of the humidity... I only had one vent, should probably have had two vents for cross ventilation but then the heat goes out too. The shed is insulated very well and I banked it with snow for additional insulation. I think with only four chickens, it would be much harder to heat and the hubbie says that $50/month for the heatlamp, etc is too much to spend. How low can the temps go for chickens? I know that sparrows outside last throughout the winter and it doesn't seem to affect them, but I thought chickens would be different? Thanks!

post #5 of 25

Sadly it is likely the ventilation that killed your gals.  The shed should have cross ventilation (limited, not like a draft) and they will do just fine with deep bedding.  I'm in Canada, see 30 below for weeks, and my hens have no heat.  Just deep bedding and like you say something to keep the water thawed.  In that cold weather they get whole grains in a bucket that has a small light bulb over it so they can/will eat any time they need it, and I keep the lights on for at least 12 hours a day so they don't roost too soon.  Seeing that they will feed and have a full crop before going to roost is important.

April

Tell me and I'll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I'll understand.
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April

Tell me and I'll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I'll understand.
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post #6 of 25
Thread Starter 

Canada... how many hens do you have and what size is your henhouse? Do you think 11 hens in an 8x8 shed (ceiling is 6') was too many or maybe not enough?

post #7 of 25

8'x8'=64 square feet at 4 square feet per bird you can have 16 birds. At 3 square feet per bird you can have 21 birds. The recommended footage per bird is 3-4 square feet of floor space per bird.

I had 13 birds in an 8'x8' coop last winter. I had my run wrapped in tarps to allow them outside room protected from the wind and so I wouldn't have to shovel snow out. I had a heater pan under their water and only ran the heat lamp when the coop inside temp was in the single digits or below. I used a timer that I would plug in on the nights when it was likely to cause the temps to get that low and then I wouldn't have to remember to go back out and unplug the lamp when it warmed up during the day. (I'm up at 4 a.m. to milk cows and do chores). Mine did just fine.

As Adopedbyachicken said, it was probably your ventilation problem that caused you to loose chickens and not the cold. If you look in this pic you can see my coop's vent. There is one in the front and one directly in the back. They allow enough vent for the moisture to leave.
http://i212.photobucket.com/albums/cc282/kitty4_photo/BYC%20Homepage/Entrance.jpg

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1DH, 2DDs, 16 chickens, cats, 2 rabbits, and cows
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post #8 of 25

An 8x8 hen house is the minimum for 16 hens so 11 hens it is a fair ratio of space.

They need a draft free house to be locked in at night but the hen house also needs good ventilation so that the bedding stays dry, ammonia from the chicken poop and just basic chicken living smalls and duct has a way to be vented to the outside. 2 or 3 small roof line vents would work.

Deep litter - 8 - 12 inches deep that you can turn over every few days works real good for them to snuggle deep into on super cold days. Whole grains ramp up their body heat and helps to keep them warm. With full plumage all of those feathers are excellent insulators and they don't suffer the ill effects of cold.

Think about this way. Until the past century there wasn't much by way for rural electric on farms. Chickens have lived fine in much less offerings than we have today and the breeds have manage to survive in fine fashion.

Even on the coldest of days there is clearly a temperature difference in my hen house vs. the rest of the barn vs. the outdoors.

I think if you give it a chance you'll have happy hens all winter. Just keep in mind they are adapted to living in the elements in a way we are not.

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post #9 of 25

Whole grains, as in cracked corn, MissP? Or something else?

Gloria
Proud mom to 5 grown up kids, 1 Leghorn hen, 2 Easter Eggers 4 yrs old, 2- Black Star hens, 4 BO hens, 1 BO roo, 1 Black Austrolorpe hen, 1 RIR hen, 1 NHR hen, 1 white Plymouth Rock hen, 1 Brown Leghorn hen, 5 ducks, 1 dog, and 2 one year old BR Turkeys.
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Gloria
Proud mom to 5 grown up kids, 1 Leghorn hen, 2 Easter Eggers 4 yrs old, 2- Black Star hens, 4 BO hens, 1 BO roo, 1 Black Austrolorpe hen, 1 RIR hen, 1 NHR hen, 1 white Plymouth Rock hen, 1 Brown Leghorn hen, 5 ducks, 1 dog, and 2 one year old BR Turkeys.
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post #10 of 25

You can buy premixed scratch grains. Different areas have different mixes. I get wheat, millet, flax, corn, oats and sometimes it might have barley but I mix a little heavy on cracked corn for winter.

LF Blue/Black/Splash Orpingtons - Appleyard Ducks - Geese - Bronze Turkeys - Dairy Goats - Fiber Sheep + eleventy hundred more animals
My Etsy Shop
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LF Blue/Black/Splash Orpingtons - Appleyard Ducks - Geese - Bronze Turkeys - Dairy Goats - Fiber Sheep + eleventy hundred more animals
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