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- 15 degrees C Is that going to be too cold for chickens?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by JohnPeel, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. JohnPeel

    JohnPeel Chillin' With My Peeps

    CHOOKCICLES

    We haven't got them yet but will be picking birds up in a couple of weeks from a battery farm. There will be feathers missing and they will be used to being in a huge shed with thousands of others. Im sure the shed they are in now will be much warmer too with all that activity going on.

    It got to minus -15c here last year, and my question is, will they be OK or will I be waking up in the morning to find, what I think would be a good name for them, CHOOKCICLES!

    If this happens I could always stand them around the garden as ornaments while the winter lasts that it, but that's not what I want them for, I want eggs, healthy eggs, and healthy chooks that will live a long life.

    Here is my coop to give you an Idea if that helps. Its double skinned to cut down on breezes, it is off the ground, they have access to the very secure run underneath, and it is completely waterproof and there are vents underneath the roof too.

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  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Nope. If they are sheltered from the winds, they'll be just fine. -15C is not too cold. We have temps that low with far more regularity than Wales. Should the temps get to -30? It is at that point that the birds just don't like it and they are quite uncomfortable. But, I don't care for those temps either, LOL.

    Good feed, water, shelter. Those things are necessary.

    What is important is a period of acclamation, or "getting familiar" to new temperatures. A bird raised in 20C temperatures, indoors, needs some time to adjust to far lower temperatures. They need good, high protein feed to grow out good feathering and good feathering is essential for the birds ability to be protected. Chickens have been kept in Wales since the Roman era, without artificial heating devices. Hope that is comforting.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Northwest Arkansas
    -15 C is 5 degrees F for those that need the conversion.

    I didn't know that any part of Wales stayed that cold for much of winter. I spent a year in London many decades ago and did not see that many days in winter with freezing temperatures, none close to that cold. I did a quick check on Google Maps to try to find you. It looked pretty flat considering it is Wales and pretty close to the coast. I'd expect most of your winter nights to be above freezing. But you are right, you have to look at the extremes when doing your overall planning.

    Here are some articles from a lady that was in Ontario that might help. I'll add the last one just because she writes good articles and it might come in handy later.

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

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

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

    I can't see how much ventilation that coop has. In cold weather, ventilation is a main key. The other is that they don't have a wind blowing on them when they roost. Those two are best accomplished by having lots of openings over their heads.

    Yours are going to be adults, possibly in molt. A question is how much are they acclimated.

    I personally don't worry about them being in molt in cold weather. Some of them can get pretty bare, but Naked Necks have bare necks and about half the feathers of regular chickens on the rest of their body than regular chickens and they are considered a cold hardy breed. Chickens can do much better in cold weather than many people think.

    Your risk in cold weather is not them freezing to death. Even in molt that down should keep them warm enough. Your risk is frostbite on the comb and wattles, with a much reduced risk on their feet. Mine seem to enjoy walking around in snow once they get used to it. It takes a couple of days for them to get brave enough to try snow though. Mine will go out and forage when temperatures are as cold as your extreme. I just leave the pop door open and let them decide if they want to come out. Here is a picture taken when the temperature was 4 degrees above zero Fahrenheit.

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    Think of this photo when people tell you that you have to provide a wide flat surface for them to roost on so their feathers will keep their footsies warm when they settle down. Your roosts look good to me.

    They can get frostbite anytime the temperature is below freezing but humidity in the coop plays a huge part of that. You need enough ventilation to get that excess humidity out. There have been several forum members that state they cleared up frostbite conditions by adding ventilation to their coops.

    My coldest temperatures are normally around-20 C. I don’t provide any heat, have good humidity, and don’t have problems with frostbite.

    The one problem you might have is that they do need to acclimate a bit. The coldest I think I’ve ever been was when I flew from Cadiz where I was staying with 90 degree F temperatures to Edinburgh where it was snowing, the ground was covered with slush, and the wind was blowing. I was properly dressed too, just not used to that weather. With what I suspect your normal conditions to be, you should not have any issues with this. If you are hitting your extreme conditions, it might be a problem.

    Hope you get something out of all this that helps. Good luck and welcome to the adventure.
     
  4. JohnPeel

    JohnPeel Chillin' With My Peeps

    Freds Hens and Ridgerunner, thank you for the great advice.

    It never get's to -20c here, and only get's to more than -10c for a few days a year, some years it doesn't even get that cold. I will make sure that there is plenty of air in there, but no wind then. As you mentioned Fred's Hens, the Romans managed OK didn't they, and were would we be without the Romans, still living in tribes killing each other I suppose. Ridgerunner, I hate the cold too. You will have noticed that were we live looks pretty flat, and I think that is because you were looking at the map from above :). No, it isn't that hilly where we are, although we live at the bottom of a hill, we also get a sea breeze that makes it feel a bit colder than it should be inland. I will check out those links too of Pat's. Your chickens look like there doing just fine in the cold in the picture. The frostbite problems sounds a bit scary, I will do my best to not let that happen to them. Oh, and a really good feed that will help their feathers is a good idea too.

    Here is what we look like in the winter, bleek. In the bottome right of the first picture, you can see our resident pheasant, we call him Donald, as in Donald Pleasant. He does ok in the bad weather, so maybe he can teach my chooks some survival skills, and how to avoid foxes and stoats.

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