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How cold is TOO cold for a chicken? - Page 52

post #511 of 557

That's not a bad idea....some folks feed suet cakes to their winter cooped birds.  I've done it here also, though just in the past few years.   I also add BOSS to the feed mix in the winter months for additional fats....those look a little like bugs, so the birds grab those first out of the feed. 

 

Another thing that may be helpful when thinking about next year's winter coop....a nice deep litter system in the coop and run.  My birds find bugs and such in their DL even in the coldest parts of winter...bugs hiding out in that stuff for warmth and food.  A busy bird is a calm bird. 

 

This vid was taken in the winter during single digit temps and right after some teens below zero weather....you can see the birds are busy, happy and coming and going in and out of the coop at will, even with snow on the ground.  The DL keeps them more occupied and gives them somewhere to hunt and also to dust in the winter months.  Sorry for the poor quality of the narrative and vid but it can give you some idea about DL. 

 

 
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 #512 of 557

We actually put the two major trouble-maker hens up for sale.  No bites after 6 wks.  I thought more than once about culling them!!!  However, they are my 2 BEST layers, even now that it's cold. That is the ONLY reason they're still alive. If the behavior persists or becomes more problematic, we won't have much option.  Took all your suggestions - separate dish w/ salt (and a few did taste it), a pallet in the pen, leaning against the outer wall of the coop,  and even thought to put some wood scraps on the ground in the pen to keep my footing.   They enjoy moving the bark and pieces around looking for whatever they can find (which is nothing right now).  The have a few other "obstacles" in the coop, including an upside-down 10 gallon metal wash tub and a and cinder block. The wash tub holds the small water dispenser when I take it out to them in the morning.  Come spring, they'll have their large dispenser back. 

 

I appreciate any and ALL feedback, advice, suggestions, comments.... THANKS!!!

post #513 of 557

Regarding your deep litter, I worry about the smell in my coop.  My thinking - if they smell their droppings all the time, they'll get sick. I CAN smell the droppings in the morning, so I clean (just the droppings) out brooder boxes daily, and clean the area under their roost about twice/week.  I see that the straw breaks down, and we simply put more straw on top.  After about 6 wks, I take all the dirty stuff out to the garden and put fresh straw in.  We have pine shavings, but I haven't used them on the floor yet.  Just don't think about it. We don't have any dampness coming in, and ventilation is better when I have the ramp door to the pen opened (which I do in the morning).  I have insulation in the roof rafters to keep the draft and wind out.  I don't know if I need to open the coop up a little more?  How do you know if you have enough ventilation?  Should I take some of the insulation out of the rafters?  It's not packed in tight, but does cut down on the air flow through the coop (to help keep it a little warmer). 

post #514 of 557
Not Bee, but I'll chime in on the subject of your insulation. I would remove it at the eaves. I know you want to keep in warmth, but in doing so you are also keeping in any moisture produced by the birds and the poop. Moisture laden warm(er) air rises, so up high is exactly where you do want the coop open.
post #515 of 557
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherrylynn59 View Post
 

Regarding your deep litter, I worry about the smell in my coop.  My thinking - if they smell their droppings all the time, they'll get sick. I CAN smell the droppings in the morning, so I clean (just the droppings) out brooder boxes daily, and clean the area under their roost about twice/week.  I see that the straw breaks down, and we simply put more straw on top.  After about 6 wks, I take all the dirty stuff out to the garden and put fresh straw in.  We have pine shavings, but I haven't used them on the floor yet.  Just don't think about it. We don't have any dampness coming in, and ventilation is better when I have the ramp door to the pen opened (which I do in the morning).  I have insulation in the roof rafters to keep the draft and wind out.  I don't know if I need to open the coop up a little more?  How do you know if you have enough ventilation?  Should I take some of the insulation out of the rafters?  It's not packed in tight, but does cut down on the air flow through the coop (to help keep it a little warmer). 

 

I agree with Talkalittle...remove that insulation and let the fresh air flow.  It's not the cold that causes problems but that moisture. 

 

As for the deep litter, there are two kinds....deep bedding, that gets cleaned out occasionally like you do yours and there's deep litter, that is an ongoing, digesting type of litter that is never fully cleaned out but a portion is removed at times when it is fully composted and room is needed for the making of more.  The first kind, deep bedding, is the kind that tends to stink and cause more ammonia smells, while the digesting/composting deep litter produces very little smell at all....you can pick it up and hold it right to your nose and you'll smell leaf mold/soil/humus smell.  It never gets dirty, just turns to dirt, so it doesn't need removed to get rid of a smell. 

 

With both kinds, the ventilation needs to be plentiful and adjustable, both down low and up high and, in the summer time, it helps if you have ventilation at all levels, if you want to avoid ammonia smells.  Avoiding the use of pine shavings or straw will also help you avoid high ammonia smells...they don't absorb well and take a long while to break down unless they are very, very moist, so they aren't my first choice for coop bedding.  When I stopped using pine shavings I started to see what composting litter was all about...how clean the coop smells all the time! 

 

Here's what I do in the morning to droppings....take a small pitchfork and flip dry bedding from the front of the coop over the feces under the roosts at the back of the coop.  That caps the moisture, any smell of feces and also removes the chance for flies to find the poop.  Placing it under the dry bedding makes for dry footing for the birds, keeps the poop down in the middle of the digesting mass of litter where bugs and microbial life can start the digesting process.   I don't stir that area, I don't encourage the chickens to scratch there and I just keep layering in the poop with dry material. 

 

Slowly but surely that stuff sinks downward, reducing in mass, turning to soil....the chickens work the edges of that area now and again and, eventually, that soil gets worked to the front of the coop where I remove it.....

 

Goes in like this.....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comes out like this....sweet smelling all the way through that whole process.  It's all about the materials used, how and where you trap your moisture and how much good ventilation you have.  I haven't seen a fly in my coop in 4 years now, nor does my coop even smell like a coop. 

 

 

 
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 #516 of 557

We are having -13 windchill tonight, but the ladies are snuggled together in their coop, so I am not worried, though we did find an egg cracked from the cold today. Next less than bitter day, I am going to add a couple clear plastic wind breaks on the West and North sides of the kennel in which the coop sits. This will get the most likely bitter wind sides, cover the two plexiglass windows, cut down snow fly into the kennel area, as well as shelter the area under the coop a bit better, so they can hang out there when there is snow on the rest of the run. They don't seem to care for the snow much, but I am sure they will get used to it eventually.

post #517 of 557
I have some hens in breeding pens that are not covered, they are hoop house chicken tractor that have a tarp on one end and a heat lamp in the corner with temps not getting below 10 but a windchill that could dip to 0 at times. Should I be worried?
''I am one with the force and the force is with me''
~Rougue 1
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''I am one with the force and the force is with me''
~Rougue 1
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post #518 of 557
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mommahiggy View Post
 

We are having -13 windchill tonight, but the ladies are snuggled together in their coop, so I am not worried, though we did find an egg cracked from the cold today. Next less than bitter day, I am going to add a couple clear plastic wind breaks on the West and North sides of the kennel in which the coop sits. This will get the most likely bitter wind sides, cover the two plexiglass windows, cut down snow fly into the kennel area, as well as shelter the area under the coop a bit better, so they can hang out there when there is snow on the rest of the run. They don't seem to care for the snow much, but I am sure they will get used to it eventually.

 

It's -1 here and the chickens are out foraging through the leaves today.....pretty, sunny and breezy day.  If you didn't know it was winter when you looked out the window you could swear those birds were moving around on a warm day.  :lol:

 
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 #519 of 557
We are heading for some bad weather tomorrow into Saturday. 8-10 inches of snow, with temps down to -15 below. Windchill -35 below. We put extra bedding down for the flock. Everyone was wandering around inside the barn. The water bucket is heated. The Silkies all snuggle together in a corner at night. They have done this since they were chicks. Even in the summer, they snuggled together. They will probably stay inside til next spring.
post #520 of 557
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koitoy View Post

We are heading for some bad weather tomorrow into Saturday. 8-10 inches of snow, with temps down to -15 below. Windchill -35 below. We put extra bedding down for the flock. Everyone was wandering around inside the barn. The water bucket is heated. The Silkies all snuggle together in a corner at night. They have done this since they were chicks. Even in the summer, they snuggled together. They will probably stay inside til next spring.

 

Feels good to have everyone bedded down and snugged in, doesn't it?   :thumbsup

 
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

Reply
 
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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