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How cold is TOO cold for a chicken? - Page 50

post #491 of 557
Fresh water is important for them to be able to keep warm so definitely make sure it doesn't freeze and that they have plenty of it.

As pullets, their combs won't be huge. But as they grow you are going to want to watch out for and treat the frostbite that is likely to occur at those temps especially with leghorns' big combs.

If you want to heat, consider the panel heaters rather than a heat lamp. Much less risk there.

Eliminate drafts in the coop but don't restrict necessary ventilation. I lined my walls with feed bags on the side I get prevailing winds as my coop has some gaps between the boards.

I'd invest time and effort on providing protection from wind and snow in the run before I'd heat the coop, but that is just me. If you can keep them out of the wind and active during the day they will be happier and have an easier time keeping themselves warm at night.

My first winter I did run a cinder block heater in my coop because it made me feel better. I had gotten my birds in spring so they were older than yours but I figured they could huddle near it if they needed. A few times I found a pullet perched on top or a depression in the shavings next to it as evidence that someone spent the night beside it.

Ditto on extra thick bedding or straw.
post #492 of 557
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beekissed View Post
 

 

Curious as to why you'd choose Mediterranean breeds when you live in such a climate?  :hu   Seems like that's just asking for problems.  I usually never recommend heating a chicken coop but I'll be surprised if you can get by without doing so if the cold is that bad and you've chosen breeds that don't develop the feathering or fat to be comfortable living there. 

 

it was the only breed i was able to get (my hatchery i ordered from had problems with there birds and i had to go through someone else other wise i was getting there cold  breed) and for the fact that my great grandmother raised them as well back in the early 1920s-50s. but keep in mind they had like 100 birds compared to my 31.  

Quote:
Originally Posted by centrarchid View Post


Age of birds also relevant. They do not get full cold tolerance until into full adult feathers. Yours will not be there for another 16+ weeks. I routinely push my birds with respect to environment but I also try to make so they are mature enough for winter.

I would put some effort into getting birds to roost tightly together, possibly in straw on the ground. Make so they can huddle together a lot during day as well. Keep the straw fresh and dry. If heat source to be used then have over straw where they huddle but man that will be an outright fire risk. Set up a wall that light can shine on in addition to floor to trap heat produced on birds.

Make certain they are getting grit so they can process feed fast and efficiently to stay warm. It will take a lot more feed than usual to get them into adult weight as lot will be devoted to simply staying warm. If like my young birds that go through winter, then you will see them try to keep crops full all the time.

so then should i feed them  grain? my local stores sell ones that are mixed with whole corn, wheat and oats i believe to help keep them warm? i also insulated the coop, right now there outside when its like 5C and are having a blast outside.  

first time owner of 21 leghorn chickens, 3 silkies and going to be the owner of 3 geese this coming fall :) also hope to be the owner of 3 ducks that plan on living with the geese where getting.   
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first time owner of 21 leghorn chickens, 3 silkies and going to be the owner of 3 geese this coming fall :) also hope to be the owner of 3 ducks that plan on living with the geese where getting.   
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post #493 of 557
Quote:
Originally Posted by itsasmallfarm View Post

 
so then should i feed them  grain? my local stores sell ones that are mixed with whole corn, wheat and oats i believe to help keep them warm? i also insulated the coop, right now there outside when its like 5C and are having a blast outside.  

Question above is loaded. What are you currently feeding them? I assume you are using some sort of grower formulation. I would make certain they keep eating that at a constant rate relative to their size. When temperature really drops I would then pop them with whole grain like corn but be certain they do not consume corn at expense of capacity for consuming the grower formulation. For me that approach works great when cold events of short duration. Problem for you is cold events will be longer allowing for significant growth. I would expect consumption of grower on a per bird basis keep going up as the birds grow although I would also expect consumption on a per pound of bird to decline. Note the loaded and evasive answer. I can not advice on use of whole grains without knowing what balance of diet is coming from.

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

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Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply
post #494 of 557
Quote:
Originally Posted by centrarchid View Post


Question above is loaded. What are you currently feeding them? I assume you are using some sort of grower formulation. I would make certain they keep eating that at a constant rate relative to their size. When temperature really drops I would then pop them with whole grain like corn but be certain they do not consume corn at expense of capacity for consuming the grower formulation. For me that approach works great when cold events of short duration. Problem for you is cold events will be longer allowing for significant growth. I would expect consumption of grower on a per bird basis keep going up as the birds grow although I would also expect consumption on a per pound of bird to decline. Note the loaded and evasive answer. I can not advice on use of whole grains without knowing what balance of diet is coming from.

i feed them a grower/finisher right now from master feeds, my weather is mostly around the -15 to -30 with cold fronts that drop the temps down to -45.  

first time owner of 21 leghorn chickens, 3 silkies and going to be the owner of 3 geese this coming fall :) also hope to be the owner of 3 ducks that plan on living with the geese where getting.   
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first time owner of 21 leghorn chickens, 3 silkies and going to be the owner of 3 geese this coming fall :) also hope to be the owner of 3 ducks that plan on living with the geese where getting.   
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post #495 of 557
I would not dilute the grower/finisher diet this go around. Feeding a mix of items that are not vetted as being nutritionally complete is risky with confined young birds in particular. We used to routinely use a mix of grains and other things to get very good performance although the mix was developed through trial and error where we had free-range forage as a backup. If you can get a hold of the formulation your great-grandmother used, then you are getting closer than where I can direct you. I will bet your grandmother kept the birds in close with other livesstock or possibly also fed the chickens offal of some sort.

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply
post #496 of 557
Most places that research says never to use a heat lamp the folks in Canada 30 and 40 below zero temperatures my chickens are newborns this year but are pretty Hardy cold Birds black Jersey Giants and it's been 17 degrees at night and they've done just fine just the two of them inside with plenty of hay and no draft
post #497 of 557

My Rhode Island Reds are pretty hardy but my one hen is moving very little this morning and falling asleep standing there. I have a heater in the coop but it sounds like it's necessary to get my lamp going, too.

post #498 of 557
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackwpk View Post

My Rhode Island Reds are pretty hardy but my one hen is moving very little this morning and falling asleep standing there. I have a heater in the coop but it sounds like it's necessary to get my lamp going, too.
Just me but, I'd check her for mites.
post #499 of 557

Maybe you can help.  How many chickens do you have?  I'm in PA and my husband and I have been disagreeing on heating the coop.  Like you, we've seen close to -20F here, but VERY rarely.  We have 14 hens and one roo:  3 americaunas, 3 amberlinks, 3 RIRs, 2 Ply barred Rocks and and Americauna roo.  The other issue is regarding the feather-plucking that has been happening.  We've tried EVERYTHING to address the 3 bullies, but nothing has helped.  I cannot even recommend the blinders.  We have used "pick-no-more" with zero success.  In other words, we have some hens that are missing feathers on their heads, but mostly at the base of their tails.  Some of the patches are 1.5" x 3" !  Even our roo has some missing feathers under his wings, and his tail is a mess.  We've gone back to feeding starter feed for the added protein (22%).  

 

Bottom line, the question for you is, with missing feathers and only 15 birds, is it still ok to leave them w/o heat?  Our coop is NOT insulated.  It is dry, not drafty and closes up fairly tight at night, even when it's windy out.  We keep it relatively clean and yes, the girls still free-range for about 1.5 hours each evening, rain, snow or sun. 

 

Thanks for any advice!  Merry Christmas!

post #500 of 557
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherrylynn59 View Post
 

Maybe you can help.  How many chickens do you have?  I'm in PA and my husband and I have been disagreeing on heating the coop.  Like you, we've seen close to -20F here, but VERY rarely.  We have 14 hens and one roo:  3 americaunas, 3 amberlinks, 3 RIRs, 2 Ply barred Rocks and and Americauna roo.  The other issue is regarding the feather-plucking that has been happening.  We've tried EVERYTHING to address the 3 bullies, but nothing has helped.  I cannot even recommend the blinders.  We have used "pick-no-more" with zero success.  In other words, we have some hens that are missing feathers on their heads, but mostly at the base of their tails.  Some of the patches are 1.5" x 3" !  Even our roo has some missing feathers under his wings, and his tail is a mess.  We've gone back to feeding starter feed for the added protein (22%).  

 

Bottom line, the question for you is, with missing feathers and only 15 birds, is it still ok to leave them w/o heat?  Our coop is NOT insulated.  It is dry, not drafty and closes up fairly tight at night, even when it's windy out.  We keep it relatively clean and yes, the girls still free-range for about 1.5 hours each evening, rain, snow or sun. 

 

Thanks for any advice!  Merry Christmas!

 

When you say -20, are you talking about an honest -20, or with added windchill?   I have an uninsulated, unheated coop, open air coop, based on an over 100yr old design.   Coops like it were used back in the day, up into Canada, in -40 temps.  Here, we've seen winter temps to right around -10, or so, not including any windchill.  I've birds going through a molt in the winter, many times, with no ill effects.  They are built to handle cold weather.  You say it closes up tight at night.  I hope you are not shutting off the ventilation.  That can cause problems such as frostbite, and respiratory problems.

 

As far as you birds picking at each other.  How big is the coop?   Sometimes, if the coop is on the tight side, the birds will start picking at each other.  Not a good thing, as you are seeing.


 

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