Chicken behaviors/cold weather?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by kimandkaren, Nov 6, 2011.

  1. kimandkaren

    kimandkaren Hatching

    Oct 15, 2007
    Hi all -

    I have been keeping a heat lamp on for the ladies since the temp is in the 30s at night. Does this impede their roosting at all? They seem more active after dark w/the heat lamp than they ever were before it was there. I hate to turn it off, bc wow, it is cold. But also hate to interfere w/their sleep --

    Please advise, anyone who knows --

  2. superchemicalgirl

    superchemicalgirl HEN PECKED

    Jan 10, 2010
    Vacationland, Maine
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    What do you call cold? 30 isn't cold. People in Alaska and Minnesota and Maine raise chickens with no heat. The main thing to concern yourself with in winter is keeping their water in liquid form.
    Adding heat won't let them acclimate before the real winter.
    It got down to -10 last year and my bldgs aren't insulated or heated. All the birds listed in my signature handled it well, even the Mediteranean breeds.
    I've known birds to die from heat in summer and poor ventilation in winter but never from cold.
    Shoot for 1 sq. ft. opening per bird for ventilation. The more the better. They have tiny respiratory systems and need fresh air. It also helps humidity which is the source of frostbite.
    I tell people just because you're cold doesn't mean the chickens are. The same goes, if you're not thirsty, it doesn't mean the chickens aren't.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2011
  4. I always figure they are wearing little down parkas under their outer feathers and don't need any extra heat. [​IMG] Our coop is unheated and uninsulated in Maine and they do fine. My girls actually are going through a molt right now which is what chickens often do in the fall to develop their thicker winter underfluff (not sure what it is technically called). We keep their water thawed, and some regular light during the darkest,cold part of the year. I know they will just huddle together in the coop out of the wind if they need to on the coldest days; but pretty much they like to run around unless there is lots of snow underfoot which they don't like to walk in.
  5. sacrifice

    sacrifice Songster

    Mar 29, 2010
    Caldwell, ID
    I do not provide heat for my chickens and it is 34 out at this time and will probably freeze tonight - even when it is below 0 they get no heat, just a nice bed of DRY wood shavings, a good place to perch, and a comfortable coop. All have survived throughout the years perfectly fine.

    Oh - and, as mentioned above, supplemental light. Now those two lazy chickens that have not figured out how to lay eggs like their companions have no more excuses!!!! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2011
  6. RedDrgn

    RedDrgn Anachronistic Anomaly

    May 11, 2011
    West Virginia
    My Coop
    Everything everyone else said. [​IMG]

    Plus, my DH and I are brand new to chickens. We have our five 5-bird flock that are 18 weeks now, and we started fretting about the cold in August. We've had highs in the 40s with lows dropping to 30 now for about a week now...and some pretty nasty winds to boot. The chickens don't even seem to notice, let alone care. We followed the advice you'll find in the previous posts/threads of others and so far, so good. They were even out in snow already and that went just fine, too. Absolutely no supplemental heat needed.

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