asking for reassurance from the deep freeze

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by granny hatchet, Jan 5, 2014.

  1. granny hatchet

    granny hatchet Tastes like chicken Premium Member

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    there are a ton of us chicken lover newbies and some more experienced flock keepers that are freaking out right about now. there are tons of unanswered posts all dealing with this storm coming. i am asking those experienced with dealing with this to tell us anything we can do to get through this. and is there a way to direct the unanswered worries to one site? for myself we are to have -50 wind chills and i have polish. i dont think its ever been that cold here or anywhere for that matter that i have lived. just to make myself feel better i put a spaceheater in my coop today in a large wire cage and locked all my chickens up in there. it has a safety tip over switch so im not worried about fire. but i have another coop with my guineas that have nothing but 4 walls and a roof. maybe the heater is not necessary but i feel a lot better. it is one of those little 6x12in. realistic looking fireplaces. so with the heater in a cage where the chickens cant touch it and the safety switch i checked myself to make sure it worked what about the guineas? the barn cats? the news is stating we shouldnt be outside ourselves for more then 10 min. because of frostbite.
     
  2. We regularly get cold snaps in January that take the temperature below zero. Here's what I have learned: Coop heating--some say it is unnecessary, but I would say it is best to heat your coop if it is liable to dip below freezing. Then the water and eggs will freeze, and it is a big pain to go out and thaw the water and bring in the eggs every few hours, not to mention the danger of frostbite to the birds. So I would definitely heat. Your space heater setup seems fine, but if it has a thermostat, I would set it so it isn't running 24/7, and check on it twice a day to make sure nothing is getting too hot.
    I don't have experience with guineas, but it does sound like they would benefit from some heat. Or if you don't have another heater, is there a way you could block off part of the chicken coop to make a room for them? This would also save energy, as there would be more body heat in the coop.
    As for the barncats, can you bring them indoors? Or find room for them in the heated chicken coop? Or make a warm area in the barn for them?

    Good luck with the cold spell! Please post solutions you found and updates!
     
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  3. chapulina

    chapulina New Egg

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    I'm worried about the drop in temp. too. The forecast is calling for -11 F. in our area. Is there anything I can offer them food-wise that might help them withstand these colder temperatures? They are eating and drinking pretty well now. For some reason, they love kicking the pine shavings out of their coop. Should we definitely put in a space heater for the below zero temps.? We have a small space heater that would fit our coop.
     
  4. granny hatchet

    granny hatchet Tastes like chicken Premium Member

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    i can put one of the cats in with the chickens as thats where he used to stay until he ate all the mice but im not sure how the other one would act. she really likes my left over eggs. the 3rd one can come in and usually does ever chance he gets. lol im pretty sure my elect.wont hold another heater and i have hurt my back so i dont see how i could separate the coop. i could put them in together but i am sure there would be much fighting. thank you for your response
     
  5. Yeah, I would put in a heater, especially if the coop isn't insulated. Just check on it to make sure that nothing is getting too hot. And put it somewhere where the fire danger is minimal.
     
  6. Is there a way you could put the guineas in crates in the chicken coop? Or if you could just prop a single board in the coop? Hopefully you can get it all figured out before the storm hits.
    Sounds like the two cats can stay in the coop, the other one may need to be put in a crate in the house or something.
     
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  7. ChickBits

    ChickBits Just Hatched

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    This is my first winter with chickens, but I've found a lot of great resources here, including this thread:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...-temps-your-chickens-have-experienced-happily

    I'm a big proponent of low maintenance. Essentially my takeaways from my research have been:
    • No additional heat.
    • A dry environment inside the coop.
    • Adequate ventilation.
    • Extra food, high in protein and some fat (I use cat food, corn, and BOSS). Also fresh water, changed as often as you can if it freezes.

    If you see a user called Mrs K around, heed her advice! She's been doing this for years in the northern plains. I have no doubt about her experience.

    Good luck!
     
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  8. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Maybe because the information has been repeated over and over. All the information needed is already out there. No matter how often it's said that they don't need supplemental heat, and they do need a dry, well-ventilated place out of the wind, and plenty of fresh food and water. People are gonna do what they're gonna do. I'm in MN where it's supposed to get to almost -30 tonight. My 17 chickens in their 8x16' shed will not receive supplemental heat. They have a fresh bale of straw on the floor, they have a heated water bowl and their feeder is full. My outside cats have a heated water bowl, plenty of food and a place out of the wind where they will sunggle together to stay warm. The songbirds that live here have plenty of food, a heated waterbowl (yep, I did get a heated birdbath for them last year) but no building or shed to live in. They will be in the trees, as out of the wind as they can be and will be back at the feeder in the morning.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2014
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  9. Kakota

    Kakota Out Of The Brooder

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    I had all my coops with heat lamps, red for heat. Oh and have large think roost, for them doing the winters cold nights
    And all heated waters for the birds, so it won't freeze every time I go it,
     
  10. Yes--last winter I had fewer chickens, and during cold nights they all crowded together on the same roost, even though it was too small for six birds.
     

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