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Can chickens stand the cold weather?

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

  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Holts Summit, Missouri
    bruceha2000,

    I do not employ lights strictly to promote egg production. Supplemental lighting can promote feed intake. First you must recognize chickens do not feed while on roost. Then you will be able understand a limitation to feed intake that can be important where day length is very short.
     
  2. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 28, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    A couple of things I considered.

    One: I have a number of homes around me that have unused chicken coops. I know because I'm old.

    B. They are high in the front and low in the back. Not these new fangled 12 ft high coops we're seeing today.

    III. Wouldn't it make sense to bring the "ceiling" lower since chickens will roost as high as they can get, thereby keeping them in the "heat zone" of their own bodies. Put the roost under the ceiling but not so high as to block them from roosting.
    When we bought our current home I wanted lower ceilings, since our previous home has 9' ceilings and that was where all the heat was. Our current ceilings are 88" and I am warm and happy.

    4. Chickens are domestic birds but no so much so as to need added heat. I've read you may put them at a disadvantage in the event of a black out. I recently discovered their water heater was unplugged and the nipples froze.

    E. Gramma sure didn't have a heater to stick in her coop. It was designed to keep them warm enough to survive. This is why the Buckeye was developed. With a pea comb for frost bite protection. Choose breeds according to you climate.

    Finally, if you are keeping chickens for pets and just a few do what you will, but if you are keeping large flocks of 15 - 20 or more you might consider these things in building and the housing of your birds. The old ways are not always outdated.

    I wish you well,

    Rancher
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  3. kbird

    kbird Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the info! Now I know what to call my rooster [​IMG]
     
  4. anniegirl1962

    anniegirl1962 New Egg

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    Wonderful articles for a Bird Novice like myself.

    My girls have passive ventilation with roof vents along the soffits and vents cut in the walls so I get air passing straight through the coop.
    My concern was that my girls would get frost bite with subzero temps coming. So I close the wall vents, and covered the roof vents with foam. Its far from being air tight and there is no insulation but this eliminated the drafts. I also have 2 heat lamps sitting up high from the rafters with a thermostat controlled outlet where if the temp goes below 25 degrees, it heats it up to 35 the shuts off. I uses these in my horse barn and it works great. They also have a heated water-er as they drink allot of water in the winter I am discovering.

    So far so good but the next 2 nights will be the test as its suppose to be the coldest its been in over 2 years. I will let you know how it goes.
     
  5. piggly

    piggly New Egg

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    I have a question, even though it makes me seem stupid :) I'm trying to understand draughts.

    My 4 girls are in an arc, the opening (that they go up the ramp to) is directly below their roost, and is not closeable, its an open 14 x 8 inch rectangle directly below their bottoms.

    Above them the roof reaches an apex approx 8 inches above their heads.

    Theres no additional ventilation other than the hole in the floor.

    Because there are no higher up vents does that mean air won't get sucked up and create a draught around their poor derrieres? Will the warmer air of the arc exclude the colder air from rising up and in?

    I can open up the side and slide a piece of wood over the opening once they've all roosted if necessary. We're predicted -7 so nothing like some of the temperatures some of you guys experience but we all hate a nasty draught!.
     
  6. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I've had coops where the ventilation came from underneath. What I found was that in the windy cold winters if I just put some windbreaks around the bottom, say on the side where the wind was coming from, that it alleviated the wind coming into the coop. I didn't close the hole off, just a vertical panel of metal, wood, or plastic on the side of the wind OUTSIDE the coop along that wall to reach the ground or nearly so.

    It stayed warm inside the coop (although I did give them a 100 watt bulb for the coldest nights).
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  7. Chickens R Us

    Chickens R Us Chillin' With My Peeps

    I put plastic around the bottom of my elevated coop and banked snow over that for extra insulation. The walls and ceiling are also insulated and the only heat I have comes from a 100w light bulb that is on a timer that comes on at 1am til 8am to keep my hens laying thru the winter. They are doing great even in the sub zero temps. we've been having lately.
     
  8. mrsjohnston

    mrsjohnston New Egg

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    Jan 20, 2013
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    We're out in Alberta and so it gets to -50 with windchill. We do have a larger barn than necessary and have the walls and ceiling insulated. The doors are not. Planning on fixing up our coop better next year with windows and a few other modifications. We allow the birds outside access until -15c. Once it hits below we find the eggs freeze quickly before they're picked the following day. (we pick in the AM) our birds have a routine. We open house at 930am, pick, feed, fresh water, fluff up the 'deep bedding' and I check up on them 2 more times. To keep the water fresh. But our hens are a bit onarary when laying and wil give a warning shot. So we leave them to lay. We close up at 730-830, that's our final check. We do have a red heat lamp that keeps the house at around 18 degrees. So no water freezes ( unless we leave the coop open at colder than -15c) but like I said the eggs have been known to freeze even with heavy bedding in the nests. Oh and with the heat lamp we did not experience slower egg production. We have 32 hens and they produce 12-18 a day.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  9. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 28, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    Pictures would help.

    The wind here got so bad it blew down three panels of stockade fencing. Two of those connected together and it broke the post holding them up. In all fairness the post was not new and should have been replaced but I didn't realize that at the time of installing the new fencing.

    Only one could we put back up. Fortunately there is some wire fencing there that was in place along the bottom so the chickens probably won't get out.

    I also had to re-staple the plastic on the runs. I didn't put enough staples and card board up the first time, guess. I spaced them too far apart. Plus with no snow it was not as secure along the bottom near the ground.

    I'm cold and tired. Chickens don't seem to mind though.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  10. piggly

    piggly New Egg

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    That makes a lot of sense, I'll do that tomorrow I've got an old door that should be perfect. I'll also post some pics. Thanks very much.
     

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