Black Australorps and freezing temps

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Gypsi, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. Gypsi

    Gypsi Chillin' With My Peeps

    I got my first BA's in May 2012, a critter got most of them, and I had 3 going into last winter, they did well. Except a flash freeze came in Christmas night when I wasn't home to close the north front door on the coop, and I lost a hen to the sudden cold.

    It is colder here today than it was last December. My 2 older BA's are in a stout coop on the lot with the other old birds, they moved when they went broody and when I put a dozen pullets in the backyard run/coop. Those 2 I think will winter just fine, even though tomorrow's high is 23.

    In the backyard coop I have 3 production reds, 3 americauna and 6 black australorps, all around 8.5 months old. The BA's quit laying when it got cold, they had just started, I think they do lay an egg now and then. But my big concern is will they make it through the teens tonight and the 20's tomorrow, teens tomorrow night, finally thaws out on Sunday.

    I have closed the north front door, sealed off the front to block drafts, and they have been sleeping in the coop. I have a chick/pullet pen in my green house, 7 ft long, 2 ft tall 2 ft wide, temp around 50. I can move the BA's in there, or I can leave them in the main coop where temps will probably be near 25 to 30. Which is better?
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    Those are cold hardy breeds.
    It is going down to 7 tonight here and I have 6 week old chicks in an open sided coop and they are Mediterranean breeds.
    I'd make sure they have a relatively windproof area that's dry, good feed and water, energy providing grains like wheat, corn and BOSS and they'll be fine.
    You've already discovered that cold doesn't affect egg laying but rather short days.
    It gets to -10 here and I've never lost one to cold.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  3. Gypsi

    Gypsi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you. I will go out to be sure they go IN the coop, but I don't close the west door on it, I just don't want them roosting in the run if the wind blows the plastic off the north side of the fence.. Didn't think I needed a heater and they are way too big for the greenhouse
     
  4. Black Australorps do great in cold and hot temps. I think they should be fine!
     
  5. Gypsi

    Gypsi Chillin' With My Peeps

    They seem to be fine this morning.
     
  6. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Your birds will be fine. You're down South--you'll never have temperatures cold enough to harm a chicken. I've taken white Leghorns (a breed that's not winter-hardy at all, with those huge combs) through several Ohio winters where it's been down around -20, and they've been fine without a heat lamp. They even go out in the pasture to play. Your Australorps are a cold-hardy breed and will be absolutely fine in a Texas winter.

    Heat is far more stressful to chickens than cold. Don't worry about the winter at all, but do give some thought to heat relief for them this summer.
     
  7. 3chickchicks

    3chickchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 25, 2013
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    I'm in N. Texas as well. We got down to 13. Yikes! I guess they're over the hump now since we're due to warm up to the mid 30's today.

    My little coop has a large open section facing southeast which I've left completely open. It has another large section on the northwest side which I've blocked due to cold. The coop door is on the east side and is always open. The roost is up high in the coop so they roost near that opening which never receives a direct blast of wind unless it's warm. I kept our prevailing winds in mind when I built it. [​IMG]

    Mine have been fine. They haven't even been huddling that close while roosting. One of mine stuck her head under her wing.
    They go into the coop if they want wind protection and are otherwise in the run and occasionally wandering around outside (they're still not sure about the white covering the ground). My run is covered from weather so they have room to run around that the sleet didn't get into.

    It seems the wind is more of a problem than the temp. If they can get protection from the wind, they can get through some pretty low temps.
     
  8. Gypsi

    Gypsi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you all. I didn't lose a bird. Last winter the wind got one of my australorps, an with the wind so fierce this time I did something new and covered the whole north side of my run with stapled on plastic. The west side is a metal shed. They did great!

    I need to change the sand in the run and clean the coop before the next front though. I have more birds than I ever intended in there, (a dozen) and it is time.

    My coop and run were designed for summer, to shed heat - big windows with half inch hardware cloth, shady wire run the only solid wall on it to the west, to protect them from the west wind in winter. most of the shade is metal roof but its up high and open areas under coop, etc...

    Photos of cold front prep. The coop has a sheltered door on the west side, added during a hard freeze in 2010/2011
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2013

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