Chickens in Alaska?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by IB chicken, Jan 24, 2010.

  1. IB chicken

    IB chicken Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 5, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Hey everyone! Not sure if this is where I should post this but we are thinking of moving to Alaska from CA and we currently have 3 hens. Is it possible to raise chickens in Alaska especially during the winter? I love our girls and would hate to have to get rid of them.
    Any input would be greatly appreciated!
  2. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    Yes, there are lots of BYC members from Alaska.

  3. fldiver97

    fldiver97 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 5, 2009
    Middleton, WI
    Check out the thread "Where Are You? Where Am I?".....I hope the Alaska folks have a thread. But I know we have several members from Alaska that have chickens. I don't know what breed of chickens you have....the mediterrenean breeds and ornamentals may not be good for such cold climate but many breeds are quite cold hardy. They need appropriate shelter and would have to be 'acclimated' to colder temps. Hopefully you'll get more info from Alaska members. Also check out some of the sectios re winterizing coops...LynneP and patandchickens have BYC sites that have good info

    ETA:'s right in your sig line that you have RIRs and BRs.....they tolerate cold pretty well....
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2010
  4. M To The Maxx

    M To The Maxx Baseball+Girls=Life

    Jul 24, 2009
    Ask PandoraTaylor.
  5. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    Be sure to research the area you are planning to move to. Alaska is huge. Not all areas of Alaska are as cold as the rumors. I grew up in Ketchikan and we had occasional winters were freezing temps were virtually none existent, and summer never reached 80. But you had better love rain, lots of rain. There are other areas, like in the interior, where you will freeze your you know what off, and summers are hot.good luck

    Last edited: Jan 24, 2010
  6. PandoraTaylor

    PandoraTaylor RT Poultry n Things

    Jun 29, 2009
    I have chickens & live in Alaska.....

    ETA: this is the list of us as I know it

    Ban seabhag Glenn HWY Alaska
    GraceAK Eagle River, AK
    redtailross Salcha, Alaska
    AK Mama-
    kwynn's birds Alaska Kenai AK
    AK Michelle Palmer AK
    NancyinAlaska Willow Alaska
    AK_Button_Mama Kenai Peninsula, Alaska, in beautiful Sterling
    Matsu Valley
    North Pole, Ak
    hollyandty North Pole
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2010
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    If you do a search on the aforementioned Alaskan members' names as author, and click the 'show results as: POSTS' thingie at the bottom (default is show by thread, which requires you to do a lot of wading through, sometimes) it will be easy to make a quick survey of their experiences, and to locate certain threads (e.g. the 'live in a very cold winter area?' thread) where they've had lots of input.

    There are fairly warm parts of Alaska and incredibly bitterly cold parts, so how difficult chickenkeeping is depends GREATLY on where exactly you're going; but people do keep chickens successfully in some very unlikely places up there so I am sure you will manage [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

  8. alaskafarmgirl

    alaskafarmgirl Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 25, 2010
    Soldotna, Alaska
    Hi --

    I live on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska (about 160 miles from Anchorage). I was gone for 4 days, and found out it was 14 below zero (farenheit) for a couple of nights, and the heat lamp had gone out. I use a 75-100 watt red flood light in the roost, on a timer that comes on from 7:30 p.m.. to 10:00 a.m. when temps drop to 10 above or less. I have 10 red & black sex links, a heavy breed. They were all fine, no frostbitten combs/waddles, very happy and laid well while I was gone (I had a neighbor pick up eggs, but she didn't know the flood lamp had burned out). I think they would survive to 30 below or lower if they had to.

    We're back in business, and everyone's happy, but they didn't seem any worse for the wear. My coop is not insulated, but I have some hay bales stacked on the windward wall; their roost area is heated with the lamp, and has a droppings screen below, covered with chicken wire and straw. They have step ladders (2) to walk easily from the roost to the coop floor.

    On warmer days, I go out and roll up the straw to clean up the poo, throw it away, and put down a new bed of straw. The coop door is open on all days above 15 degrees, and they step outside, eat snow, and generally seem comfortable. I've had chickens for 5 winters, even a Polish, and she did fine. I used to get a "used" flock in springtime and give them away in November every year, but I've learned how to keep them through the winter. It's easy.

    I use a car block heater pad on a galvanized base for an 8-gallon galvanized waterer, which I fill up with 4 gallons of water at a time -- it lasts for about 4 days, and their combs don't stick to the side of the waterer because it doesn't freeze up as badly as the heater unit that comes with the tank when you first buy it. I keep a 40-watt bulb in the coop on a timer to give them 14 hours of daylight. I put a fresh bale of hay in the coop every other month, untie it, and let them spread it around (which they do, and they have fun). I feed them table leftovers conservatively, fresh greens, scratch once or twice a day, and provide unlimited access to 16% protein layer pellets, grit and oyster shell. I'm getting 5-10 eggs a day from 10 hens. I take them scratch (about 2 cups) in the morning, and again at about 4 or 5 p.m., before they roost, but sometimes I'm not home, and they are still fine. They eat a lot more right now, and are going through a 50 lb bag of pellets every 4 weeks.

    I don't know if you can get the hens through Canada if you drive up here. Better check with the border patrol.

    Good luck!
  9. AlaskGirl

    AlaskGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 19, 2010
    Hi there, I live in Fairbanks...smack dab in the middle of Alaska. I and tons of others have chickens here and we are extra watchful of cold temps but we're prepared. I have 17 birds in an insulated 8x12 coop and multiple roosts for additional wiggle room--like a jungle gym for birds. I have a flood lamp and heat lamp and enough birds to help warm the space as well. Walking out there and bringing water at -30 is not my favorite thing to do. So far so good though, this is my first winter and while I have to be very watchful of their lights/temps, I don't regret it.
  10. wingsofglory

    wingsofglory Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2011
    Palmer Alaska
    Hi. I am near Palmer. Chickens are fine here. I have an uninsulated coop. Put a heat lamp on over the roost when it gets down to fifteen below zero. I have two roosts 8 feet long close together so the chickens on the back roost can put their heads between the chickens on the front roost. The front roost is closer to the heat lamp. The big rooster parks right under it - you'd think he'd let the coldest hen sit there!!!

    I've had mixed flocks of Easter Eggers, Barred Rocks, Buff Orpingtons, Comets, Blue Andalusian, Lakenvelder, Silver and Gold Laced Wyndottes, Welsummers.

    I watch them closely and check them often and just hang out. Noticed they all did fine down to about ten below - moving around and carrying on. At twenty below they are hurting, puffed up and hunkered down and not much walking around.

    This winter has been mild - not more than 12 below at night here and rarely. From 15 above to 35 above during the day.

    The Blue Andalusian could not take the cold - she was beautiful but I would not have another because she looked so cold even during the day.

    I like the Easter Eggers the best - laid right through the winter, always looked happy, eggs didn't break, handled the cold well, no combs to frostbite.

    The Wyndotte rooster's comb got frostbite and looked terrible. There was one winter when we had 30 below at night for a few weeks - a record, it doesn't usually get that cold here. I put the five most affected (Comets and Wyndotte) in a box in the house at night and kept it cool in that room so it wasn't a shock when they went back out. It warmed up again so I left them back out at night but went to check on them about 9:30. Well, this one Comet hen looked up at me with a look of joy and ran over everybody down the roost and jumped onto my chest even without my arms up - she thought staying in the house at night was great and thought I was come to take her in again. (I relented for her!!)

    I'm only going to have roosters without combs now. Had a hen that was a Brahma x Easter Egger and really loved her look and the extra feathers from the Brahma side would keep her warm. I've been following the Russian Orloff thread here on BYC too. What I'm thinking for my purposes now is a flock of EE for eggs and one flock of dual purpose homestead chicken without comb/wattles.

    One thing - they won't step into snow. I had built a sun porch on the coop because I didn't want a muddy run all winter making their feet wet. It worked great.

    Check Craigslist for Anchorage - Farm and Garden, and you can see pictures of chickens here.

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