Can You Keep Young (8 wk) Chickens in Freezing Climates?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by KatyushaB, Sep 25, 2016.

  1. KatyushaB

    KatyushaB Just Hatched

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    As you know, winter is coming up and for those of you who live in Utah (like myself) should know just about how cold it gets. Usually having 1-3 ft of snow and SOMETIMES (sometimes) reaching climates below 0. (If it reaches below zero I'm putting a heat lamp in the coop). Now I am in the process of building a coop and if I were to get chickens soon, by the time they were old enough to go outside it'll already be cold. Going from like 95 degrees to about 47 degrees (Fahrenheit) is a big transaction. Will my young chickens freeze to death?

    There are probably some people out there who had done this before. Is it a good idea to throw young chickens out there or should I wait. Can I keep a healthy young flock in climates like this. And if it is possible is their any tips on what I should do to help prevent problems?

    I would shovel there fenced in area (they will not have a run, but a fenced in area) every time it is needed, along with making sure their water is not frozen and making sure to SHUT THE COOP at night time. At what temperature should I put a heat lamp in there coop, should I just lock them up in the coop all winter? Or give the option to walk around if they want to. Any information on this topic is gladly welcomed.
     
  2. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    At eight weeks they are fully feathered and can handle anything and adult bird can.
     
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  3. KatyushaB

    KatyushaB Just Hatched

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    Alright, I trust your opinion. If 8 wk old chickens are the same as normal chickens, then do have any tips on keeping chickens in cold climates? (Look at my questions in the starting thread.) Thanks! :)
     
  4. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    I live in California so it doesn't get THAT cold around here, but the best thing you can do for them is make sure they have a very well ventilated coop. Poor ventilation = high humidity = lots of frostbite and stress on respiratory systems. Chickens handle cold well - rarely is a heat lamp ever necessary and it usually causes more problems than it solves. Oh, and although they don't mind cold, they tend to hate snow and rain. Offer plenty of covered outdoor areas. You can also offer wide roosts so they can sit down the keep their toes warm. I'd also recommend sticking to breeds with small or medium combs, as large combs are much more prone to frostbite.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2016
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  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    I just checked plant hardiness zones for Utah. You have a lot of variation in your state (Zone 4 - zone 8). I'm in zone 4. The biggest concern I see is that you have yet to build your coop. Personally, with winter coming on, I'd not relish the idea of getting chicks unless I had my coop already built. Nasty weather has a way of creeping up on you before you know it. If you had your coop finished now, and it had electricity available to it (I use a construction grade extension cord, with safety modifications at both ends to weather proof it) I'd say, go ahead and get those chicks, the sooner the better. I'd further recommend that you brood them right in the coop, and use a heating pad brooder. But without a coop, there is absolutely NO WAY I'D CONSIDER BROODING CHICKS IN OCTOBER!!!!!!! Chicks shed an incredible amount of dander. Imagine a never ending supply of dryer lint being dispersed through every square inch of your home, and deposited on every surface, even vertical ones along with a finely atomized spray of oil. That's chick dander. Blooie described finding dander in the bottom of one of her husbands suit coats. This was months after she brooded her chicks in the house, and the coat was kept in a closed closet through out the brooding period. Then, there's the noise. Then, there's the smell. Both Blooie, myself, and many others vow to NEVER brood chicks in the house again!
     
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  6. KatyushaB

    KatyushaB Just Hatched

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    Utah, USA
    I have yet to get my chicks, and I will make sure the coop is furnished and built before I get my chicks. There is a lot of debate about were to keep them right now and I will take in your consideration. Chicks will not come until a coop is built I decided a long time ago I do not want that kind of time crunch. I will most certainly take in all of your advice. Thank you!
     
  7. KatyushaB

    KatyushaB Just Hatched

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    Utah, USA
    Thank you for your advice, it will gladly be used. Unfortunately there is not a tarp that is sturdy enough to take in 1-3 ft OF SNOW. I will do my best to build them covered roofed areas, my coop will also add to this factor (it will be high enough of the ground so that chickens can stand underneath it.) Again, thank you!
     
  8. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop


    Have you considered corrugated tin? A simple wooden frame with corrugated tin provides sxcellent shelter. I have such structures all around my coop. Having a high coop does help with this matter, though. Heck, at our old house, ours would just go under the porch!
     
  9. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    I am in Wisconsin, which is zone 4. I personally wouldn't want to be raising chicks this time of year. I would personally wait until spring. Sudden weather shifts, and lack of any body fat on chicks could be deadly. You would need to acclimate them to temperatures that are falling and shifting around. It can be done, but in my opinion isn't the best scenario.

    Chicks should be able to get out on grass and in the sunlight as they grow, not getting locked in a coop because of the snow and wind. It also takes away a lot of the enjoyment of watching your birds grow and explore.

    So it can be done, but I wouldn't. I would plan on Spring chicks.
     
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  10. KatyushaB

    KatyushaB Just Hatched

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    I am considering many options. And I will continue to look.
     

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