Birds dying...extreme cold! **UPDATE** 12/23 PG 10

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Rare Feathers Farm, Dec 15, 2008.

  1. It was well below freezing here this weekend and I lost my Mottled Houdan yesterday, my Salmon Faverolle Rooster this morning & a bantam Sultan Rooster this morning and I have two more birds (one Muscovy hen and one Sumatra that did not look well). I have two 250 watt bulbs in there and I blocked the doors.

    Despite that, it was only 8 degrees in my coop this morning. [​IMG]

    What else can I do? We do not have enough "juice" in my outlet to power much more than I'm already doing, unless I unplug the horses' tank heater, which is not an option. I have been looking at space heaters, but those seem like a HUGE fire risk with shavings & feathers?

    I do not have any straw in there but I was thinking that may be another thing I could do, line the walls with straw?? I've had chickens in that coop since 2006 but they were all Brahmas & cochins hardy breeds. It seems that my others are not cut out for our winters. The cochins & Brahmas are doing well as are the Orps¡Kbut my Faverolles, all my bantam breeds and my Sumatras do not look as well.

    I did find a coop heater here: that I'm considering buying does anyone have one of these?


    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 23, 2008
  2. bluebirdfarm

    bluebirdfarm Songster

    if coop is not insulated you could stack bales of hay around the outside of it for insulation.
    hope this helps.
  3. winekntrychicks

    winekntrychicks Pooper Peeper

    Jul 26, 2008
    Sebastopol, CA
    I'm sorry for your loss. Get one of those dog igloos. Just big enough for them. If you get it too big their body heat escapes. Line the floor with deep straw and put a blanket over the top and let it hang half way down the door to keep in more heat. You must closer look at how your coop is set up. Are they in a draft. I am no expert but I would do the dog igloo as a temporary set up. Even a large card board box, still use the blanket over the top and line it with straw.
  4. meriruka

    meriruka Songster

    Oct 18, 2007
    This may be way off the mark since I'm not familiar with your set-up, but it sounds like you have horses. Can you put the chickens in with the horses?
  5. Mrs.Puff

    Mrs.Puff Songster

    Apr 16, 2008
    Southern Iowa
    OH man. Sorry about your birds.. It was three degrees in my coop this morning, but mine are okay. We wrapped thick plastic around the whole coop just as the big freeze was coming in. I might have lost some otherwise. I think getting the dog carrier a good idea. Let them get up on the roost at night, then pluck them down after they're settled and place them in the carrier. If you cover it with a blanket so they can't see out, you can even bring it inside.

    I've heard experts say that your birds should not be dying in these temps though. Are you sure they aren't sick with something?
  6. spook

    spook Songster

    You could be loosing your birds to something other then cold, you are just finding them dead. Cold should not bother them, its the drafts that rob their air space in between the feathers, allowing them to be cold. Plastic around the outside, but make sure you don't make it to air tight as the amonia will kill them too.
    This is one of the many reasons we do not heat our coops, my birds have survived many years without insulation, heat lamps or extra anything. We have black tar paper around the back side, plywood on the front with some ceder shingles. Single pain metal storm window with air circulation.
    Sounds like you need to make the coop smaller, possibly lower the ceiling for winter, all of these things can be easily done with plastic.
    Many people on BYC and here in Maine allow their birds out all winter, I heard of a man that claims he allowed his birds to live in a 3 sided pole barn because he did not have the coop finished.
    Good luck and 8 below is where I get worried, then I go out with hot water for them to drink, but only in the day. With your light on, do they huddle together on one roost? If the answer is no, then they are not cold.
    Good luck and I'm so very sorry for your loss.
  7. I think a small kerosene heater would work fine as long as there is adequate ventilation and you put it inside a large metal dog crate, etc. So they can get near it but not actually touch it.

    Or...I would get a large cardboard boxes. Turn them upside down and cut an opening just big enough for them to get into. Stuff it with straw and lay plastic, then blankets all over it. Horse blankets are great if you have extras. Once you put them in it, they probably won't want to come out!
  8. Mrs.Puff

    Mrs.Puff Songster

    Apr 16, 2008
    Southern Iowa
    I agree with Spook. People have been raising hens w/o heat for ages. I think you either have a really drafty coop, or your birds are ill. You should check on diseases that cause "sudden death".
  9. Quote:It is not insulated. It was one of those things we meant to do but have not because in the past, it’s not been an issue…my other birds made it fine with just heat lamps…part of it I think is that it went from 45 degrees during the day to 8 in two days…there was really no gentle transition period…
  10. Quote:I have too many chickens for that...but maybe I can get straw to line the inside of the coop?? I'm not sure....I'm going to the feedstore (leaving work early) and then to Home Depot to see what I can get figured out...

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