Are the chickens ready for the cold?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by greencow, Dec 4, 2013.

  1. greencow

    greencow Out Of The Brooder

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    May 25, 2013
    Hi, I live in the very North West of the pnw, and we have been getting temperatures like 30 F. I know that chickens can survive cold without help, but my concern is that when I was gone for Thanksgiving, we had our tractor parked right next to our house under an overhang for 4 days. In that time, the chickens shed quite a bit of down. They are parked under the overhang again tonight, and I put Christmas lights and a blanket over the run and house. There's 4 of em total, but sometimes they leave one out while huddling. I was wondering if I should use a heatlamp outside the coop to shine in, or maybe put one inside? Also, we are moving them into a permanent coop soon, out from beside the house, so do you think that they will be able to avoid frostbite? Any other tips about winterizing are welcome. It doesn't get super cold here, but just enough to make me worry.
     
  2. ellie32526

    ellie32526 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Be careful with heat lamps and running extension cords. Some people have caught their coops on fire with extension cords and stuff. I use heat lamps any time the weather gets below 40. I know people say I'm spoiling my chickens but I have elec in my henhouse so why not. When I close up all my windows and doors, the house will stay 40 inside with both lamps on all night even when it dips below 30 outside. I try to maintain the temp inside the hen house between 50-70 or as close as possible. My girls also get a mash made with hot oatmal and chicken feed on cold mornings, but hey I don't mind the extra effort.
     
  3. JackE

    JackE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Temps into the single digits, the front of the coop below is wide open year round. And the chickens thrive. You are doing your birds NO favors by shutting up your coop and artificially heating them. Sound like a good breeding ground for respiratory problems. All for some misguided worry about them getting chilly.



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  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    They will be just fine. The thing to remember is to have plenty of ventilation as it's the excess moisture that causes frostbite far more than any cold. It does more harm than good to button up the coop tight and provide artificial heat. What if your electricity goes out? Chickens come equipped with their own down coats that keep them quite warm in the winter. I live in MN where we have temps in the negative 20 - 30 degree range (air temp, not windchill). As a matter of fact, we are expecting lows in the -20's this weekend. The chickens have a nice dry coop with nice deep straw on the floor, and they have no problems. Well, every now and again I see a comb with the ends nipped, but nothing serious. Look out your window. Do you have any songbirds where you live? How do you suppose they survive the winters?

    ETA - I have to confess, this made me chuckle more than a little: "even when it dips below 30 outside." I'd be thrilled to see anything close to 30 during the winter! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2013
  5. greencow

    greencow Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for all the advice, and I do realize it's not very cold out on the coast. That's an awesome coop by the way, JackE
     
  6. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    I think the biggest mistakes people make with housing is not enough height in addition to ventilation. It is not only annoying to not be able to walk into a coop without crouching, that air space is important for ventilation. High ventilation keeps the drafts off the birds, yet allows clean air return for the removal of moisture while they roost. Folks in cold climates have much more to contend with, and would guess they must often have an inside feeding area as to keep water from freezing outside. It has been dropping in the high 20's here in Northern California these past few nights. I fill waterers inside and carry them out in the morning. They won't freeze since the temp climbs into the low 50s.
     
  7. ellie32526

    ellie32526 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Really nice looking coop! I appreciate your comments. So glad my birds are versatile enough to survive my idiosyncrasies. My birds are healthy, laying regularly (I get 8-10 eggs a day from 13 hens) and they are warm. I know chickens can survive temps of 15 degrees, but just because they can survive at those temps does not mean that is ideal. I appreciate that your method works for you in your climate and I am happy for you and your flock. I just choose to do it my way.
     
  8. ellie32526

    ellie32526 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Not sure what ETA means but glad I could amuse you. I live in Texas for a reason - I hate the cold, snow ice, sleet, etc. I like it between 60-80 degrees. You can have all my 30 degree days from now on, I will send them your way.
     
  9. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    ETA = edited to add. Yes! Please send me your 30* degree days! I will gladly take them! Low tonight is -19. I like it between 60-80 degrees, too. We get that in the summer. Not sure I'd like your summer weather. I don't appreciate the heat so much. Even if it is a dry heat. [​IMG]
     

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