Chickens too Cold....help.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by chickenbrit, Jan 12, 2016.

  1. chickenbrit

    chickenbrit Out Of The Brooder

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    This is our first winter with chickens. We're in Michigan and getting a lot of snow and wind and colder temperatures, although not below zero yet. We have three fully grown hens. Everything I read said they would be fine in cold weather, so we haven't done any supplemental heat. I went to check on them today, and our brahma doesn't seem to be doing well. She has all her feathers puffed out and her eyes closed unless I touch her then she opens them slowly but closes them again. She's still standing, but she's very still. I brought her into the garage and she's just standing in a box with food and water in front of her, but she's not touching it. Will she eventually warm up or should I do something more? Should I point a heat lamp at her or will that be too much heat all at once? She is also missing a lot of her tail feathers. A rooster from her previous home pulled her feathers out. They haven't completely grown back yet.

    One of our other chickens is bleeding a little on her comb. I'm guessing it's a little bit of frost bite. These chickens are clearly not warm enough in this weather. Should we put a heat lamp in their coop? Can we just use the same one that we used with chicks? Should we leave it on at all times or just at night? Their food and water is outside in the snow. Should we bring it all inside their coop and just let them stay in there 24/7 while it's so cold outside? They are scared to walk on the snow, so they won't come out to eat and drink if there's snow on the ground.

    Help, what do I do?
     
  2. pfields

    pfields Chillin' With My Peeps

    I keep an extra feeder in the coop when it's very cold or raining really hard and long.

    Personally I don't have a problem with a heat lamp as long as you have a safe way to use it. I have an extra heavy duty extension cord that I used in my first coop. I made sure the light was secured in more than one way and couldn't be knocked down. I also had a inside/outside weather station so I could keep up with the temp inside the coop from inside the house.

    I hope your chickens will be okay.
     
  3. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

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    Healthy chickens can tolerate very cold conditions. However certain breeds don't do well in cold climate, and chickens harboring an illness may succumb to cold weather. Whatever setup you use, be sure the bird can move away from the heated area and you do not create a fire hazard. Make sure your birds are well fed and their home has good ventilation. You need air moving through to prevent the build up of ammonia and prevent moisture buildup inside the coop.

    Good luck!
     
  4. wamtazlady

    wamtazlady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My chickens don't like to walk on snow. To help them out I put a tarp over their run to keep the snow out so they can get to their water and food. I also put plastic around the sides to keep out the wind. Even when it was 0 degrees they were outside. Could yours not be eating and drinking as much as they should if they also don't like the snow?

    Not having a draft free but well ventilated area and too much moisture is what makes them uncomfortable. My coop has 2 openings 3 feet by 8 inches just under the eaves. Their pop door is open all the time. There is also a 1 foot by 2 foot opening in the side by the house. No breeze blows on them but they have plenty of ventilation to keep the moisture out of the coop.

    Hopefully your chicken will perk up and be fine soon.
     
  5. more than birds

    more than birds New Egg

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    Jan 12, 2016
    Wow, looks to be a hard winter this year! first, with your brahma, it is very strange she is acting this way, I don't think it's from the cold, but that may be part of the problem, she may have been weakened by the cold, and would have a intestinal problem. But lethargy is usually not from the cold. I would go to a vet. With your chickens comb, put some vaseline on it and do so with your other chickens. When it is that cold, sometimes their combs crack and start to bleed. Good Luck! [​IMG]
     
  6. pattyhen

    pattyhen Chicks Ducks oh my

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    I always read that chickens don't need heat. Well I heat my coop with the radiater oil heater. I put it on a concrete block. On days that it does not reach freezing I keep them inside. Last year I used a heat lamp and it was fastened but somehow it come unattached. It burned a big hole in the coop floor and I lost about 9 chickens to smoke. Be careful I would use the radiater heater it is much safer.

    Put vasoline on your chicken with the frostbite. I would keep the chicken that is most effected by the cold in the house for a couple of days. It sounds like she doesn't have enough feathers to keep her warm.

    Patty
     
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  7. chickenbrit

    chickenbrit Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 8, 2015
    Well they are heated in their coop now. I put their food and water in there as well. I'm hoping they don't go up in flames. That brahma is still very weak. I think she's dehydrated. She probably hasn't been getting to the water because of the snow, but I thought she had since she was outside yesterday. I don't know what's up, but her comb is really shriveled and pale. Is that a sign of dehydration?
     
  8. Rewster

    Rewster Out Of The Brooder

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    I have a heat lamp posted above the roost. I also put an electric wall heater in the new coop as well. Keeps it just above freezing.
    Make sure you keep the heat lamp and any other heating source clean and free of dust, which can ignite as well.
    I know they don't have to have heat but I want them to be comfortable. I also have heat lamps in my goat pens as well.
    I hope your chickens do well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2016
  9. pattyhen

    pattyhen Chicks Ducks oh my

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    I'm, glad you put the heat on I hope your brooder light is securely fastened. Do you have electrolites to put in the water? I would hold the bowl up to her and see if she will drink. It sounds like she is dehyrated. You might even feed them corn to help them and also a little cat kibble. Bring the food and water inside if their not going outside to eat. Please put an extra light on the chicken if it is the garage. She needs to be warmed up.
     
  10. pattyhen

    pattyhen Chicks Ducks oh my

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    How is your brahma chicken doing today? I would leave the heat light on during the day if it is below freezing. I don't let my chickens out if it is below freezing. Right now my yard is solid ice from the snow we got yesterday and it thawed some and now it is ice. Please give us an update I've been worried about her and the rest of your chickens.
     

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