Can extreme cold make a chicken sick? Help!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by chickenpotter, Jan 6, 2016.

  1. chickenpotter

    chickenpotter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I live in Virginia and two weeks ago it was 70 degrees here. For the last two nights the temp has dropped to 12 degrees. I am still new at all of this so I haven't heated my coop yet. I haven't checked the temp in there either, but all of the hens seemed okay yesterday. I have seven.
    This morning all of my girls popped out as perky as ever except one of my SLWs. She came out of the run into the yard and proceeded to just stand there. One of the other chickens came up and started pecking her in the face, so I have brought her into my garage studio where it is about 60 degrees. She perked up a little and ate a little scratch, some feed and finally drank some water. She is now just standing there. Her eyes droop shut occasionally. She is fluffed up. She pooped twice, one perfectly normal and the second one a cecal poop with some very runny clear looking stuff.
    I am getting ready to offer her a boiled egg and yogurt.
    I have no idea what is wrong with her. I'd appreciate any help you can offer. I have misgivings about bringing her inside, but was afraid to leave her with the others since one was already pecking at her.
    I am planning to install something in the coop today that will take the bitter chill off tonight, but of course only up a few degrees.
     
  2. chickenychicken

    chickenychicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Happy easter :)
    Yes, the cold can cause a bird to act ill or even cause illness. In my flock a few years back it dropped below 0 and a RR I had got sick and was acting similar to your hen. Have you checked her crop to see if it's impacted? Or if she's egg bound because it sounds like she could be. Most likely it sounds like she just isn't happy with the cold weather, keep her in side and give her electrolytes.

    If you have a heat lamp with a read bulb (120 volt preferably) it could help your chickens keep warm in the winter. They love to perch under lamps :)
     
  3. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Healthy, well fed chickens withstand cold very well as long as they have a good, well ventilated coop that protects them from wind and weather. However if a bird has an underlying health problem or disease then yes, very cold weather can bring on more symptoms.

    I would keep your sick bird in and observe her, see if any more symptoms show up. Watch her food/water intake and her droppings. Listen for any respiratory sounds like wheezing, rattling, coughing, any discharge from the nose or mouth. This would be a good time to give her a good, all over check, see if she's lost any weight or has any odd lumps, bumps, swellings or injuries.

    Other things to consider: Any new birds brought in recently? Have the flock been dewormed and checked for mites/lice?
     
  4. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    My Coop
    I've been raising chickens in Northern Wyoming in an unheated, un-insulated coop. Last year we went from the upper 60s to 17 below zero in less than 26 hours. I've never lost a bird to cold. I even brood my chicks outside in temps in the teens and twenties without a heat lamp, using just a heating pad and a straw cave. Adult chickens are remarkably designed for cold with those fluffy warm coats and high natural body temperatures. I have lost a bird to excess heat.

    Other factors come into play in the winter, such as inadequate ventilation which causes humidity and ammonia buildup in the coop, and bullying, especially if they are kept confined to the coop because it's cold. The only time I can see temperature in and of itself causing sickness in a bird is if there was an underlying weakness that simply hadn't shown up until the bird was stressed.

    I'm so sorry that you have a chicken that isn't doing well. It sounds like you are very conscientious owner, so I'm sure you've already thought to keep a sharp eye on the other chickens you have in case whatever is afflicting the sick one is contagious. Respiratory infections can spread like wildfire through a coop. I think I'd pick up some Nutri-drench and give it to her as well. It provides an instant pick-me-up because all of the nutrients are available to the chicken within minutes of ingestion since it doesn't have to go through the digestive system first. I hope all goes well and she recovers quickly!
     
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  5. chickenpotter

    chickenpotter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for replying. I have checked her crop and I've been watching her now for several hours. She seems to have perked up a bit. I will be installing a lamp today. I can use it only when it gets super cold. I let my chickens free range in the afternoons. I may let her out in a while to see how she does.
     
  6. chickenpotter

    chickenpotter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I replied to you just above this post- I forgot to quote! Thanks again for the input!
     
  7. chickenpotter

    chickenpotter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I haven't noticed any respiratory symptoms. No new birds in the flock nor have I visited any other farms recently.

    I'm going to check to see if she's egg bound although she laid yesterday and has been laying only every other day this winter.

    Thank you so much for the help!
     
  8. chickenpotter

    chickenpotter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks so much for your reply! Yes, I have read much about chickens' cold weather resilience which is why I haven't heated my coop thus far. I closed the window behind their roost, but cracked the two on the front of the coop for some air circulation. It has been record breaking warm here in December and I agree- the cold could push some other ailment to the forefront. I have this chicken quarantined for now. She seems to be perking up a bit. I will get some of that nutri-drench and try that.

    I always put electrolytes and probiotics in their water. The other birds seem fine. I'll admit this cold has slowed me down a bit, too! It was 70 degrees here on New Year's Day. Yesterday the high was 31. Crazy. I'm sure that doesn't sound cold to you, but for here it is bitter- especially when the fluctuations are so wild!

    Thanks again and I'll report back on this thread about her progress.
     
  9. JackE

    JackE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    X2. I keep my birds in an open-air coop. Cold is no problem to a healthy chicken. Temps here went from near 70 F, a week or so ago, to 10 F overnight and in the morning, and my birds don't even seem to care.
    To the O.P. Make sure you have proper ventilation. Bad air in a coop is a sure way to respiratory issues. And, scrap that heatlamp.
     
  10. chickenpotter

    chickenpotter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks JackE. I think maybe my chicken was under the weather and the cold made it worse. I kept her away from the others till this afternoon when she had perked up then let her outside where she has been happily free ranging with the rest of the flock. I did hang a heat lamp in the coop and also a thermometer. I'm not planning to use it unless we have a crazy dip again.
    Thank you all for your feedback. It is so helpful to have this community to turn to, especially being a newbie like me. I am in love with my chickens and the whole animal husbandry thing. I want to do right by my birds. I had no idea how much fun this was going to be when I got started! Cheers to all y'all!
     

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