-20F temps tonight. Should I be worried?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MXchikas, Jan 15, 2012.

  1. MXchikas

    MXchikas Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 14, 2012
    I've read through a few existing threads, but I felt compelled to ask my questions...

    I'm in Southern NH, and we've had some cold temps over the last few nights. tonight it's going down to -20. We have a plywood coop. We have 2 vents near the top of the roof. 3 birds on a round pole roost. We just shut off our water heater because the humidity started to climb inside the coop. Should I be worried? Should we add some sort of heat or just let it be. The temp outside is 2 degrees, and the temp inside the coop is 7. It's just frigid, plain and simple. Any thoughts? Thanks in advance for your advice.
  2. JenBirdRansom

    JenBirdRansom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 23, 2011
    Graham/Kapowsin, WA
    Whoooo.....THAT IS COLD!! I hope someone with more experience comes to help you soon. I know I would worry and probably put the chickens in my garage for the nights, but that's just me and I only have 15. I hear over and over that heaters are a major fire hazard.

    Good luck!!
  3. ChickenPrnces

    ChickenPrnces Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 2, 2012
    Deerfield, NH
    Where in NH are you? I am in Deerfield and lost 2 2mo last night! I put a stronger heat bulb in toight and am really hoping it works! I don't have a garage either so not an option for me!!! I am curious about what people are gonna say to do! Could use the same help!
  4. K-9mom

    K-9mom Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 5, 2011
    Ya, I am in CT and one of my girls got frost bite on her comb last night. Today I hung another heavier tarp over the exposed wall (one side is blocked by a shed, another by a pine tree, and a third from the run. I am wondering if the heated water is what caused too much humidity last night? Mine are only 6 months so our first winter. It is supposed to be 2 degrees here tonight with heavy wind. Worried about my girls out there...
  5. pharmchickrnmom

    pharmchickrnmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2010
    If you are having humidity problems in the coop, then you dont have enough ventilation. Chickens can survive cold but humidity brings a whole other set of issues, including frostbite and respiratory problems. I live in NY and it is 2 degrees this morning with a windchill below zero. I have 8 hens in a 4x8 tractor that is insulated but not heated. We have a cookie tin water heater in there and never have humidity problems. I leave the top front louvers open all the time (they are each almost 4 feet long by 2 feet wide) and only close the end doors and back louvers if it is windy or extremely low temps (like the last two days) (and only at night). I have 4 silkies in an unheated coop with no water heater and they are fine in this cold weather. I also leave their bottom louver open and the front door window cracked. Ventilation is very important....chickens produce a lot of moisture through their droppings and breathing while roosting at night.

    The problem with adding heat to a coop is that the chickens get acclimated to it so when it does get really cold, they have trouble adjusting, especially if you lose power. We feel bad for them cause we feel the cold but they are tough little critters. My silkies pounded out the door at 7 this morning despite the frigid temps. My divas (laying hens) prefer to wait for it to warm up a bit before venturing out the open door. As long as you provide them with plenty of fresh water, food, maybe some extra scratch or a hot oatmeal breakfast every so often, they should be fine. I hope this helps.
  6. My chickens survived -50 as long as it itsnt too humid you'll be fine [​IMG]
  7. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    We had -20 a couple of times last winter, had a -30 night too. I won't kid anybody, those temps are tough. Really tough. That said, our uninsulated, unheated barn is dry and the birds got through it just fine. I had one hen with a huge, spiked comb show just a wee bit of darkness on the very tips, but that's it and she recovered just fine.

    The early pioneers and settlers who were dedicated to chickens lived through this climate in the northern Mid-West and in New England and built America. It was they who were committed to breeding the very strains we all love today. There was no electricity, so heating was unknown. The Wyandotte, Dominiques and Buckeyes were bred with combs better designed for the brutal winters. But, the single combed Rocks and Reds were kept also. If the very originators of our breeds kept birds in winter, so can we.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2012
  8. MXchikas

    MXchikas Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 14, 2012
    Well my friends, they survived the night! When I woke up this morning, it was -8 outside and -2 in the coop. I brought out fresh water because we turned the heated water off to avoid creating more moisture than necessary. The humidity level got up to 80%, so we're going to add more ventilation today. No frostbite on their combs, and they had happy verbalizations when they saw me. They didn't seem unhappy at all with the exception that they don't like being relegated to their small area off the snow. Being our first winter as "chicken farmers", we're learning a lot.
  9. sleckel

    sleckel New Egg

    Jan 15, 2012
    Would it help if i had some insolation around my coop and cover it with a tarp?
  10. ll

    ll Chillin' With My Peeps

    Our water source is outside in the run, to avoid moisture in the coop.
    I can move it inside if we get blizzard, but it's otherwise staying out.

    We have a tarp hanging on one side of our run.
    They probably don't need it but it's our 1st winter too and I like to think it blocks some wind.

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