Cold col, what is too cold

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by 77jester, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. 77jester

    77jester New Egg

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    I remember when we first got these little beepers back in march, I was all negative (saying things like "Why did we do this? I have too much to deal with stupid chickens") now I find myselfnheading down to my coop as soon as I get home to check on "my girls".

    Last weekend I built a cover over their run, cause I didnt want my girls walking around in too much mud.

    now it's falling below freezing. I just went and checked on the birds and my little bantee silky, she looked so cold........ Little cold girl.... :(

    How cold is too cold? Do I need to give my girls some kind of heat??? I insulated their coop, but it still feels so cold.................
     
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    You don't need to add heat. Proper ventilation is most important. If moisture can't escape from the coop it will freeze causing frostbite even at relatively warm temperatures but with good ventilation they'll be fine well below 0F. We attach a tarp along the two wind prevailing sides of the run to provide exterior shelter. Black sunflower seeds has been provided as a daily treat since the start of November here. It's high fat content is readily converted to energy making for an excellent winter supplement.

    I'll put up the tarp today as this weeks high is going to be 34F, low of 12F. A heated water dispenser is very handy. I use the plastic 3 gallon from Farm Innovators, others use home made pie tin with small light bulb inside as a warmer for metal dispensers and still others use the plastic heated dog bowls.
     
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  3. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    We put a heat light over their waterer (not over the perches) when it starts to freeze the waterer in less than three hours. That's probably around 15 to 20 below. But the heat lamp is really just there to keep the water flowing, and it's six feet from the perches. We've had it cold enough that eggs froze within a couple hours of being laid, but the chickens were fine as long as they coauld get out of the wind. We've had a little frostbite, but that can be mostly prevented by putting Vaseline on the combs.

    The hens will just huddle together. They'll be fine. It's not really good for them to heat the coop, unless you live in the far North and it consistently gets around -20 or colder (not windchill, real temp.). I've only ever had one bird die from exposure, and it was her fault. It was a pullet that was determined to sleep under the hen house, and we couldn't get her out to put her inside.
     
  4. Mugs

    Mugs Out Of The Brooder

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    It was 13 degrees this AM in Wisconsin. I have a small coop with only two hens in it. Though cold last night was dry and no wind. I have the run sheltered so there is no draft into the coop. They looked comfortable this AM.

    I do use a heated water bowl but that's in the run - no room in the coop.

    All info I see is not to heat the coop. Just keep it dry and draft free.

    When we get really cold (and in Wisconsin that means the minus digits) I'll probably close up the coop even more and just leave a crack open for ventilation.
     
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  5. 77jester

    77jester New Egg

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    Aug 12, 2012
    Sad beginning of our day, my kids ran down to see if the chickens were ok, they came back up to the house crying, seems our little silky bantee was laying her head down on the fresh wood chips and just shivering...... They were sure she was dying.......

    So after getting them off to school, went down to check on the girls, there she was sitting there, but with her head laying down on the wood chips, poor girl must have been freezing all night....... Picked her up to see if she was ok,........ And this was under her..... Her first egg!!!! She was exhausted, probably a bit confused..... She didn't get into the nesting boxes like our others???

    Just in case you were wondering..... Left to right-!gold laced wyndedott (Cindy), New Hampshire red (Goldy),and next to them- introducing her first egg.... Is our silky bantee (Sunny) then finally our Americana (Arrowhead)
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012
    2 people like this.
  6. chfite

    chfite Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My chickens huddle together when they roost. I suppose they do that to help keep each other warm.

    She sounds beat from laying her first egg. If she perks up, I would not worry.

    Chris
     
  7. Chicks Galore3

    Chicks Galore3 Artistic Bird Nut Premium Member

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    My chickens fluff up to 3 times there size (which look ridiculous) and lay down to keep their feet warm. They do this, run around, and when their cold again, they sit down for a minute or two then run around again. I do not have heat lamps at all. I didn't think about insulating it. The coop is within the barn, and the body heat of the animals/chickens keep it quite warm in the barn.
     
  8. Smoochie

    Smoochie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Does your silkie roost with the other hens? If she sleeps by herself possibly she needs a couple more snugglers silkies..
     
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  9. Chicks Galore3

    Chicks Galore3 Artistic Bird Nut Premium Member

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    I have a chicken who roosts by herself....I'm not sure what to do about it....
     
  10. Smoochie

    Smoochie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Depends on a few things like if you have an insulated coop with lots of hens to keep it warm then I wouldn't worry. If she puffed up and looks in discomfort I would be more concerned..
     

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