Cold Chickens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by zaraif, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. zaraif

    zaraif In the Brooder

    Jun 18, 2012
    So I live in an area where summers are hot and winters can get below 0 at night....I want to make sure my chickens are warm enough! I went out this afternoon and the thermostat read 14 F...My 3 hens i think are getting very cold feet! I have some pine shavings on the floor of their coop, but should I do anything else? They are also shivering some...I want to make them as comfortable as possible help! Thanks!

  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Keep their coop dry and free from drafts, supply plenty of feed, and they should be fine.
  3. Puddin Fluff

    Puddin Fluff Crowing

    Mar 30, 2012
    River Valley, AR
    It is my understanding from other posts I have read, that chickens do okay down to 0 degrees. I too was wondering if shivering was normal or a cause for concern. I picked one of mine up after she had been wandering in the snow and felt her shivering. I look forward to more experienced responses.
  4. PaulScott

    PaulScott In the Brooder

    Mar 22, 2009
    your prob going to get a lot of answers , but here is mine

    I have a 200 watt lasko Heater i keep in my coop , plugged into a thermo cube
    I know they dont " need" heat . but i give them a little anyhow
    PS: feeding Corn will help keep them warmer also

  5. zaraif

    zaraif In the Brooder

    Jun 18, 2012
    Okay thanks! I was also wondering about the Vaseline and putting it on larger combs. My chickens are Dekalb's and if anyone has any knowledge on whether I should or shouldn't but it on... That'll be great thanks!
  6. zaraif

    zaraif In the Brooder

    Jun 18, 2012
    Yes mine shiver not uncontrollably, but i do worry!
  7. aliprowl

    aliprowl In the Brooder

    Nov 12, 2008
    Northern Westchester
    I know everyone says "they're fine", but two winters ago I just couldn't stand watching them shiver any more. I now have a wall heater (flat panel) that is on all the time and frankly puts out very little heat, but they can stand in front of it and it warms them up a bit, or they can avoid it if they are warm enough. I also have a sealed, kerosene unit (electric - the kerosene is sealed inside) that has a whole bunch of settings and I think is very safe in a coop environment. I have a small storage area inside the coop that is walled off with chicken wire and has a kick board around it, and a chicken wire door - it's where I keep all my supplies, extra shavings, extra feed, poop bucket, etc. I have the kerosene heater in there, and run the cord up high through the chicken wire and to a hanging plug. I keep it off during the day when they are in and out and free ranging - unless it's snowing/raining/freezing cold. I turn it on at night, on a low setting that is just enough to take the edge off and keep the water from freezing. I'd say it's maybe 45 in the coop - certainly no warmer. I don't keep it so warm that they don't develop their warm, fluffy feathers, but I feel much better giving them a bit of heat, and it's much easier to keep the water clean and fresh when it isn't frozen every morning. And yes, I do put Vaseline on everyone's combs - guards against frostbite and who wants a dry comb in winter (I think of it as hand cream). I also occasionally put bag balm or Vaseline on their legs in the winter, if they are looking dry.
    Will they die without supplemental heat? Highly doubt it. Do I sleep better at night, knowing they aren't freezing out there in an uninsulated coop? You bet. Had I put insulation in, I might feel differently about the heat.

  8. shivering is the only way a chicken can rewarm themselves but not maintain themselves.....they will lose a lot of energy to try to stay warm. Feeding extra feed (scratch) will help them maintain warmth but will also need a draft free dry environment! [​IMG]

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