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Cold and Snowy in Seattle: Chickens acting a bit strange...not going into coop tonight.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by littleandlewis, Jan 18, 2012.

  1. littleandlewis

    littleandlewis In the Brooder

    May 30, 2011
    It is cold and snowy here in Seattle. About a week ago we put in a small infared heat bulb in the coop to keep the temperature from freezing inside. Tonight well after dark we found 5 of the 6 hens on their outside roost. This is the first time we have found them outside after dark.... we hand carried them into the coop.

    Are they confused by the weather? The infared light in the coop? Thoughts?

  2. mikeinri

    mikeinri In the Brooder

    Nov 8, 2011
    North Smithfield, RI
    They don't need heat. As long as they have a dry place and no draft they are fine. If it goes below 20 I close up my coop doors just to keep the drafts out. Mid winter and my ladies are still cranking out eggs.
    I do have a couple of 60w lights in the coop but that is more for a little light then to heat the place up.[​IMG]
  3. poultrypalacewhidbey

    poultrypalacewhidbey In the Brooder

    Jan 5, 2012
    Whidbey Island, WA
    Hi, I live a few hours away from you and have been experiencing the same snow and cold weather and my hens are fine without any heat (even the bantams). I would take the heat bulb out as this may be causing their strange behavior. As mikeinri said chickens are quite capable of staying warm in weather that is in the 20's as long as they have somewhere dry and out of the wind. If your birds show signs of stress from the cold (lethargic, stop laying suddenly, suddenly very hungry) then you should actually remove the perches and put lots of extra bedding down. The chickens will then huddle together and hunker down into the bedding (this works particularly well if you are using the deep litter method for bedding in your coop. Many chicken breeders from very cold climates dont put any roosts in their pens because then the birds have airflow around their entire bodies instead of just over top of them when they are sitting on the ground.
  4. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    I'm also in the Seattle area. I've got to ask:
    Are you The "littleandlewis" with the beautiful gardens often featured on TV?

    I have never heard of weather, light or heat confusing chickens. There should be no problems having light and heat in the coop if you choose to use it. Be very careful using bulbs.
    It is often suggested that adding a light will assist in getting chickens to go into a dark coop.
    I'm thinking it is probably either a "monkey see monkey do" situation. Where one roosted outside and the others followed suit.
    Or there is something in or getting in the coop and spooking the chickens. Check very closely for any unwanted guests.

    Good luck,

  5. littleandlewis

    littleandlewis In the Brooder

    May 30, 2011
    Yes...we are the littleandlewis with the beautiful gardens....and now chickens! ( who seem to be as confused as we are)...

    okay we doused the infared light for now....it was so low wattage it wasn't creating that much heat anyway.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2012
  6. cellodog

    cellodog Hatching

    Jul 20, 2011
    We're in the north end of Seattle and our girls have been just fine in the snow. I do have a string of christmas rope lights in the coop on a timer to "extend their day" so we're getting 3 or 4 eggs a day from 4 chickens! My only concern is that I haven't figured out how to keep their water from freezing! Any suggestions for that?
  7. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

  8. lorain's fids

    lorain's fids Songster

    Jul 9, 2011
    New Jersey
    Maybe they prefer the cold and with the heat bulb inside it is to warm for them.


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