1st winter with chickens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by EpiphanyChicks, Sep 13, 2008.

  1. EpiphanyChicks

    EpiphanyChicks Hatching

    Jul 3, 2008
    My EE's are ten weeks old,
    and we are starting to think about another New England winter!

    I've read about frost bite, etc. but what is behavior like in the cold?

    will they want to stay in? go out? what about the inevitable snow?

    I've got a red 250 watt heat buld for the cold nights, but how much should I run it? The coop is 8 x 8, with a roof that slopes from 8 - 6 feet. We currently have 8 birds, which (I cant believe my luck [​IMG] ) appear to all be hens.

    I'll post some pics later today - I have to say, I love these fricken chickens!
    We are keeping them at my parents house, and my father ( [​IMG] retired) talks about them like there his kids!!!

    Thank-you, in advance, for all of your help and advice...
  2. newchicks

    newchicks Songster

    Sep 13, 2008
    I'm new to raising chickens, and I've never been through a winter yet with my 2 hens. But I did pick up a couple of books that I've enjoyed reading and have had some helpful tips. They are, "Keep Chickens" by Barbara Kilarski, and "chickens" by Sue Weaver. It seems that this forum is as helpful as anything. Good luck and I'l be watching yoyr replies to see if anything can help me too. Good luck:)
  3. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    Last year was my first winter with chickens and we do have some cold times here in Colorado. We usually have multiple weeks of below zero weather with even lower wind chills. My girls all came through just fine, and I didn't use any heat source or light.

    The biggest issue in cold weather is to keep your chickens dry and draft free. If you stand inside your coop and feel wind on you... you have drafts. You do need to have ventilation but not drafts. Most people have small ventilation 'windows' or openings up under the eaves of their coop. You need to be able to open or close them depending on the weather.

    If you have too air tight of a coop you will have condensation from the chickens and that is moisture that can harm them and cause health problems. Keep their bedding dry, if it gets wet scoop out the wet part and replace with dry material.

    Chickens with really large combs can be helped in bitter cold weather by putting Vaseline on their combs to help combat any potential frostbite.

    Also, having 2x4 roosts with the 4" side up so that they can sit on them and cover their feet with their feathers/bodies will help keep their feet from freezing.

    Edited to add: Welcome to BYC! To both of you!!!
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2008
  4. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    I imagine my girls are looking forward to winter. We may even let them do a little free ranging. It very rarely gets to 40 degrees here at night so I will soon turn off the fan in the coop and I may put my brooder light on the timer to warm their coop up on the cold mornings when it gets near 40. I'm just grateful they were able to survive all of the 110 plus days this summer.

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