Blizzard Conditions-Cold Questions

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Peaches Lee, Dec 28, 2011.

  1. Peaches Lee

    Peaches Lee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 19, 2010
    I know, another cold weather question...[​IMG] LOL!

    Anyway, the temps will be reaching 15 degrees tonight and I'm naturally worried about my birds being cold. Since where they are housed is a little off the norm, being it's not actual coops they are in, I was hoping for some insight.

    My chickens (53) are kept in an old dairy-converted-to-horse barn. So they have their "coops" in concrete block stalls (with concrete floors). The block goes up to about 4.5ft and the rest is open. They share the barn with 7 horses. Now I'm not too worried about the flocks of 4-14, it's the single cell (LOL!) boys that live in large metal dog crates, directly on the floor that worry me the most. I have put in extra hay with the one I'm most concerned for (a Silkie) and the others have hay too. Do you think they will be okay? Any other suggestions? I do have heat lamps but I'm neurotically paranoid about fire....[​IMG]
  2. ruffles

    ruffles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 26, 2009
    Can you affix heavy plastic or tarpin to prevent drafts?/

    Extra hay or straw will help.

    I am also paranoid about heat lamps

    My chickens are in 7 in a coop, the others in sturdy rabbit hutches, made for rabbits and chickens,

    I affix every Fall heavy plastic to the screen on the doors, thus preventing drafts and rain or snow from entering, for very cold nights, I put extra straw.
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    They'll be fine.

    Break open an extra bale of straw for them to thrash around in and they'll never notice the cold. My birds had 7F last night, and couldn't have cared less. They too are in a barn.
  4. Peaches Lee

    Peaches Lee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 19, 2010
    Awesome! Thanks for the responses. Glad to see I'm not the only one paranoid about fire LOL! When I did have the heat lamps on (they were just youngin's then) I would get up throughout the night and look out at the barn! [​IMG]

    I have wondered about putting like a large sheet over the roos crates so it wasn't so drafty, despite being in the barn...

    Yes, everyone get extra hay tonight.
  5. MydearWatson

    MydearWatson Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 20, 2010
    My chickens have been in 14 degree weather and it bothered me more than them! LOL. I think the key is drafts over actual temps. My girls are in a draft free coop and they handle it fine, including my bantams. The idea of tarps sounds great and the extra bedding should help too. I also agree, Heat lamps + hay = anxiety for sure!

    Good luck! [​IMG]
  6. zacker

    zacker Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 18, 2010
    Oxford, CT
    if you have an out building for a coop, like a converted shed or something, how do you heat it? do you need to? if it got below zero for a night or two, would just xtra hay and no drafts be ok?
  7. jenkassai

    jenkassai Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 28, 2011
    I have a couple of related questions. One is regarding the straw in the coop, I thought you had to be careful because it could have a certain kind of mold in it? Do you just dump it in there? I have pine shavings on the floor, but our coop is not heated and I have thought about putting straw in there for them on top of the shavings, for the winter.

    My other question is...I opened the coop this morning, and the girls came out, scratched around for the sunflower seeds I had scattered, and now they've been in the coop. Should I just close the coop up so it stays warmer in there? I like to give them the option of being able to go out, but if they want to stay in, then what the heck, I'll just close the coop door! They are supposed to be cold hardy breeds, and it was in the 20's this morning. Otoh, maybe I should leave the coop open in these temps so they are used to it and acclimated, and leave it closed when it is in the single digits??!! No heat in our coop either!
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I don't heat my coop. My lowest temperature last year was about (-)4 Fahrenheit. Give them lots of ventilation and keep drafts off them while they roost and they should be fine. I do that by having my ventilation openings higher than them when they roost. In the summer, when they are in much greater danger from the heat than the cold, I open a window lower than the roosts.

    I always give mine the option to stay in or go out. It was (+)4 Fahrenheit when I took this photo. You can see what they chose.


    If straw is dry, it will not mold. If it is wet, then there is the possibility. Straw will also mat together in the coop which makes it harder to change out. That's the reason I don't like straw.
  9. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    15 degrees isn't cold.

    For those metal crates, though, I think I'd buy rubber stall mats and put those down on the concrete and the crates on top of those. Cold concrete will suck the heat out of anything in contact with it.
  10. Peaches Lee

    Peaches Lee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 19, 2010
    Thanks everyone for your responses and help. Everyone did well last night, it was a bit chilly this a.m.

    Oregon Blues--good idea about the stall mats!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by