2 unusual winter questions

crunchymama11

Chirping
Aug 31, 2018
27
54
76
DFW
I have 2 silly questions about chickens in the winter. Sorry- the answers might seem obvious lol.

1- my chickens are really good foragers, especially my NHR and BR. They much prefer eating grass and bugs over their feed. I want them to keep their foraging instincts. Can they get lazy over winter when there's not as much grass and bugs? Are there things I should over winter to keep their foraging instinct or will they just jump back into foraging in spring?

2- I know chickens are cold-hardy and develop down to keep them warm in cold climates. However, I am not in a cold climate. I'm in Texas and we have 2 seasons- hot between may-oct and then fallwinterspring (one season lol) where we have weather in the 70s and 80s, get a cold front and drop 30-50 degrees for a few days, and then it warms back up and repeat every few weeks. Last year it literally went from 85* to 35* in 24 hours- we had a 50* drop. Will my chickens adjust to the extreme temp changes? I know bees get confused by the weather.

My coop is not airtight on purpose because I don't want my chickens to die in 100*+ heat. I also have 2 large windows and 2 top vents in the coop. DO I need to wrap my coop in plastic during cold fronts? Cover the windows? Or just pile bedding in there to keep them warm?

TIA!
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Suffering Succotash
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 16, 2015
44,806
78,359
1,452
Wisconsin
Mine much prefer ranging to being fed. So yours still will forage as long as there's bugs and seeds to be found.

Your birds may be stressed by the big temperature drops but should be okay. They will probably sit hunched, and may even shiver, but that's just their way of warming up. I wouldn't worry as long as they are still eating and drinking. It may be necessary to provide heat, I'm not sure as we just get frozen and stay frozen.

Block the prevailing winds. Don't over cover. That causes more problems. Ventilation is good, drafts are bad.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Suffering Succotash
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 16, 2015
44,806
78,359
1,452
Wisconsin
Thanks for the help! I know chickens survive colder weather and some people don't consider 30-40* cold, but I don't want my chickens to get stressed with the weather.
It's not always about the temperature, it's about what your birds are acclimated to. Those up and down shifts can be more stressful than my frozen tundra because your birds are forced to go between being cold and warm and it's harder to acclimate to that than a slower dropping temperature like happens here. That's why I'm unsure if heat should or shouldn't be used in your situation. Hopefully someone from down south will share their experiences.
 

crunchymama11

Chirping
Aug 31, 2018
27
54
76
DFW
It's not always about the temperature, it's about what your birds are acclimated to. Those up and down shifts can be more stressful than my frozen tundra because your birds are forced to go between being cold and warm and it's harder to acclimate to that than a slower dropping temperature like happens here. That's why I'm unsure if heat should or shouldn't be used in your situation. Hopefully someone from down south will share their experiences.

That's exactly what I'm worried about...ugh. Heck, I'm born and raised Texan and I still haven't adjusted. Anything below 50* is too cold for me. I bundle up in winter gear and sleep with a heated blanket.
 

MANNA-PRO

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom