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Can chickens stand the cold weather?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by TheReadyBoys, Jan 15, 2013.

  1. TheReadyBoys

    TheReadyBoys Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hey there
    I was checking the weather for the next few weeks, and it is supposed to be pretty cold! Should I close the run doors to cut off the cool air, or leave them open for fresh air? I don't want them to freeze.
    The run doors face a field in western direction. We live close to the sea, which is northern. Also I'm in Atlantic Canada, so the weather gets pretty nasty up here sometimes.
    Anyways, just hope you can give me an answer soon.
    Thanks
     
  2. maidenwolfx80

    maidenwolfx80 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chickens do wonderful in the cold. They are much better in the cold than in the heat. Just make sure drafts are shut off but still give plenty of ventilation.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. bwalden

    bwalden Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    If you think they will freeze I would shut them up. Not sure how cold we are talking about but if it's below freezing point for several days or weeks they could freeze or get severe frostbite. Do you have maybe a heat lamp you could put in your coop just to keep it a little warmer for them? Also how well insulated is your coop? I have shut mine inside for a day or two when it's been really cold. Of course they would rather get out and run around the run. Chickens do surprise me sometimes with their tolerance for cold and heat. They are tougher than we think. Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2013
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    P,E,I, Canada, yeah you can get some pretty nasty weather this time of year. I suggest you read this article from a lady in sunny subtropical Ontario. I’ll include three articles, more bang for the buck. I think Pat is pretty good.

    Pat’s Big Ol' Ventilation Page
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-VENTILATION

    Pat’s Cold Coop (winter design) page:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-winter-coop-temperatures

    Pat’s Big Ol' Mud Page (fixing muddy runs):
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-fix-a-muddy-run

    The biggest danger to chickens in cold weather is frost bite, not freezing to death as long as they are in good health to start with. A huge danger to cause frost bite is lack of good ventilation. You really don’t want to lock them up tight. That puts them at risk. But you don’t want a direct cold breeze blowing on them either. Wind chill is real. The ideal is to have openings above their head when they are roosting to get the moist and stale air out so they can breathe decent air and let their down coat keep them from freezing.

    I know your weather gets a lot colder than this but I’ll share a picture I took a few years back when it was 4 degrees Fahrenheit above zero, which is about (-)15 C. I left the pop door open and let then decide what to do. They went outside. If a cold wind had been hitting them they would not have stayed outside. They really don’t like cold wind hitting them but they don’t mind the cold.
    [​IMG]
     
    5 people like this.
  5. maidenwolfx80

    maidenwolfx80 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Frost bite will only happen is there is too much moisture. That is were ventilation comes into play. Plenty of vents open up high in the coop and not over the roosts and you will be good on the frostbite protection. The bad part about heat lamps is the risk of fire. There are so many people a year that lose their whole flock due to fire caused by heat lamps. They really dont need extra heat once they are fully feathered.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. TheReadyBoys

    TheReadyBoys Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No heat lamp in the coop and no insulation on the walls. Thanks, too. This will help.
     
  7. TheReadyBoys

    TheReadyBoys Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Maiden and Ridge, thanks for the great info! Ridge, I will be reading those shortly.
    The weather is below 0 for the next few weeks, so I may let them out a bit and monitor them closely.
     
  8. maidenwolfx80

    maidenwolfx80 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine free range at any time of year. They just dont care for rain or wind so ont hose days they choose to stay in
     
  9. TheReadyBoys

    TheReadyBoys Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, my chickens don't like the snow or rain much. In fact, my rooster is the biggest baby when it comes to bad weather!
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Nutrition.

    Make certain they have all the food they want. Additionally I up the amount of intact grains when it gets really cold with windchill. This helps offset the increased need for energy when birds stressed by cold. Blocking direct wind helps greatly but dry places to stand like on wood or straw helps limit loss of heat through feet.

    At such high latitude you may also gain from use of supplemental lighting. I suspect your daylight is less than 8 hours per day limiting the birds feeding window making so periods of now food in crop and digestive tract more likely. Increasing the period of time with light should make so feeding occurs more distributed through the 24-h diel cycle.
     
    1 person likes this.

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