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How cold is TOO cold for a chicken? - Page 51

post #501 of 557
This is the first year I've had chickens and I live in Ontario. We built them a coop but we haven't locked them in yet. They are able to go between their coop and their run. We've had snow now for over a week and the temperature has reached -10 but they seem to be doing ok so far. Still laying, eating and drinking like normal. We do have a water heater so the water doesn't freeze though. We're planning on putting a heating pad up against the wall eventually as tempuracture will get to -30 at times.
post #502 of 557

I have the same coop Jack does and we've done real live honest -29' with no problem.  (Windchill was -42'F, but they weren't IN the wind so it doesn't matter)  The darn heated water bowl couldn't keep up in the run, but that's not the coops problem.

 

As for the feather picking, how BIG is this coop of yours?  Feather pulling can be a major sign of boredom and stress due to crowding.  Once they become feather pickers, they can stay that way.

post #503 of 557

Thanks for your reply!  This is my first flock and we try to give our girls good care.  -20F (actual) is not unheard of in our portion of PA (an hour north of Harrisburg), but -10F can be expected during any winter.  A while ago I figured the coop was plenty big enough. for our flock of 15 and I intentionally selected varieties that indicated they were cold-weather hardy. 

 

The coop itself is 10 x 12, and the attached, covered pen is another 10' x 15'.  The photos were taken in June, just before we put the pullets out. We have a trough feeder in the center of the coop and 2 smaller feeders in corners of the coop, to be sure all have access to food.  Water is outside in a small watering container.  It's refreshed every morning, and during the day if it freezes.  There are 3 rows of 5 brooder boxes mounted on the wall opposite the ramp to the pen, and PLENTY of elevated roosting beams.  Some of the girls prefer to roost in the brooder boxes at night.  I don't care, as no matter where the droppings go , it has to be cleaned up.  The coop windows are closed now, but open during the warmer months, and the space between the ceiling beams has been filled with fiberglass insulation to keep the wind from blowing through the coop.  That will be removed when the weather warms again, for additional ventilation. 

 

I appreciate all the helpful hints I can get and thank you for your time to respond.  Maybe the girls will pick less in the winter, but they sure are eating more!  

 

post #504 of 557

If 35 is too cold, then I am in big trouble. I live in Minnesota and tonight the temps will be down to below 0. They are in a small barn, with venting along the roof line. No drafts. But our temps get down to -20 below. My adult chickens don't get heat. The only problem I have ever had was the tips of the combs freezing. This year, I have Silkies. I hope they will be ok in this cold.

post #505 of 557

Sherrylyn - one thing I do notice in your run, is that while it is tall enough to walk in, your birds are really only using the lower 2-3 feet. It is one big open spot.

 

If you would set up a pallet up on saw horses, or on cement blocks, it allows birds to get up on them, or under them. It may make your run look a bit more cluttered, but it actually increases space. It is also good to lean a pallet up agains the fence so that a bird can get out of sight of other birds. And sticking a day time roost kitty corner across the corner, often times mine will set there to bask in the final sunlight of the day.

 

You have a nice set up, it would just give your birds a bit more exercise, allow them to go different places, different levels, and give some time out or hideouts. just an idea

 

Mrs K


Edited by Mrs. K - 12/13/16 at 6:01pm
Western South Dakota Rancher
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post #506 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!

 

It's definitely still okay to leave them without heat, even with molting or missing feathers and even at 20 below.   Curious as to the age of your birds?   Also, have you checked them for lice or mites?  Tis the season for external parasites and this may be playing a role in some picking or feather loss, so it's worth checking the birds....a good time to do that is at night under a very good light, check around the vents and base of the tail, under the wings, etc. 

 

You definitely have enough space for the number of birds you have, so I don't think space is your issue. 

 

Some old timers say putting a little salt in the water will help with feather picking...never had feather pickers, so I wouldn't know but if all else fails and you've eliminated all other possible factors, it's worth a shot to give them a free feed supplement like coarse salt and kelp meal to see if they are deficient in anything.  They will sample it if they need it or leave it alone if they don't. 

 
Matthew 10:32-33 - Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.  But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJdx9BtTob4

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Matthew 10:32-33 - Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.  But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJdx9BtTob4

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post #507 of 557

They're 8 mo old now.  I wondered about salt (will sprinkle some coarse sea salt in their feed tomorrow) and we do give them an assortment of "scraps" from the kitchen throughout the week.  Today it was refried beans and they loved 'em (along with a few egg shells).  Other times I will boil up some spaghetti squash, then go smash it inside their pen.  Amazing how fast they can clean up a spaghetti squash! Also figure it gives them something warm to eat.  ... Have not checked for lice/mites.  Will do!  Thank you!

 

Love the Proverb!  ;) 

post #508 of 557

Excellent suggestions!  We have a few things out there now, and I noticed that they do like to get up on thing in the pen.  That photo was taken right after it was built.  Will get a pallet out there and a couple other obstacles!  THANK YOU!

post #509 of 557
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherrylynn59 View Post
 

They're 8 mo old now.  I wondered about salt (will sprinkle some coarse sea salt in their feed tomorrow) and we do give them an assortment of "scraps" from the kitchen throughout the week.  Today it was refried beans and they loved 'em (along with a few egg shells).  Other times I will boil up some spaghetti squash, then go smash it inside their pen.  Amazing how fast they can clean up a spaghetti squash! Also figure it gives them something warm to eat.  ... Have not checked for lice/mites.  Will do!  Thank you!

 

Love the Proverb!  ;) 

 

Most folks will frown upon putting salt directly into the feed...says it could hurt them, though I doubt it.  Could just offer some coarse salt in a small dish in the coop and see if any of them sample it, that way they can eat it if they need it or not if they don't. 

 

I know it's not real popular on BYC, but I'm of the nature that I don't allow a bird problem to become a flock problem, so nuisance birds are normally culled from the flock so that the flock as  a whole are not stressed.  If all else fails and you can find no good reason for these few birds to be picking out feathers, you could end the problem by removing the problem...for good, if you know what I mean.  ;)   Life is too short to let a few ruin it for the many and I hear chicken tastes pretty good...sorta tastes like...chicken. :D

 
Matthew 10:32-33 - Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.  But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJdx9BtTob4

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Matthew 10:32-33 - Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.  But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJdx9BtTob4

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post #510 of 557

We just went through a week here where the high was 1 degree lows to -30. One of my hens is missing probably 50% of her feathers from the molt. There are 10 easter egger chickens in a coop that is 8 ft long 5 ft wide and about 5.5 ft high on the short side 8 ft on the tall side. The coop is insulated with r-13. I have a back-up half gallon bucket nipple waterer in the coop. It never froze. The chickens did great without any additional heat. They would spend time outside in the run and go inside and warm up. I did notice two nights they slept on the floor in the straw. No one is showing signs of frostbite either. This week we have been having a lot of wind and highs around 20 and I did notice the one hen that was missing so many feathers shivering and some of the others were indicating their feet were cold when in run for awhile but shortly after going in the coop they acted fine. This fall I started having a small problem with feather picking. It started about the time the chickens weren't able to find bugs to eat. I started providing a super high protein snack and the problem stopped. I was feeding chick feed at that time. Don't know if it will solve your problem just a suggestion.

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