Cold temp survival without shelter.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by edmcm2000, Feb 21, 2009.

  1. edmcm2000

    edmcm2000 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 19, 2009
    Not that I'll do that, but I'm curious as to how well chickens do in cold weather, how much cold they are at least semi-comfortable in, and wondering if they would do all right in 20 degree weather in an unheated coop. Thanks, Ed (No chickens yet, building a coop and pen right now)
  2. davidb

    davidb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2008
    north east Georgia
    I don't know where your from, so I don't know how cold it gets there. but I live in Ga. and have always free ranged my chickens, They roost in a tree, I think 17 is as cold as it got this year. and my chickens have always done just fine without shelter.
  3. edmcm2000

    edmcm2000 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 19, 2009
    Thanks, I'm in Arizona and expect heat to be more of a problem than cold, we do get down to 20 about twice a year, but usually winter nights stay around 25-30. I'm building an enclosed coop anyhow, so shouldn't have a problem. Ed
  4. cellochck

    cellochck Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 21, 2009
    Union, ME
    I live in Maine and last winter our chickens did fine in our unheated coop. We did do some insulation on the inside and then on the really cold night ( like -5) we would wrap some carpet padding we had around the outside and pile snow around the outside of that.
  5. vermontgal

    vermontgal Chillin' With My Peeps

    If you mean +20°F, that is no problem in an unheated coop. On the cold side, my coop has been down to 6°F inside, when it was around -20°F outside.

    In Arizona, depending on how hot it gets where you are, you might want to insulate your coop to help keep the chickens cool. You should also get heat-tolerant breeds (google around for suggestions of these).
  6. fowlfarm

    fowlfarm Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 3, 2008
    If the temp drops down close to single digits or below some of your flock may experience frost bite on their combs and wattles depending on the breed you have. I live in Ct and it can get pretty darn cold, what I've done to prevent this from happening is to create a hood that could be raised or lowered (like a hinge) over their roosting site. This allows them to stay a bit warmer from the heat they give off. I go into the coop at night while they're roosting and lower the hood into place, I don't put it down before that or else they'll roost on top of it and that defeates its purpose. Hope this helps.
  7. katrinag

    katrinag Chillin' With My Peeps

    I live in IL and we have had some really nasty cold snap. Only when the windchill would -25 or below did I add a heat lamp. I only had 2 roos that got frostbite.
    If you live in a very cold area I would choose chickens that do not have huge combs and wattles. Or think about dubbing them to prevent that frostbite.
    Also some chickens do better than other in the cold and heat.
  8. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

  9. bossynbella

    bossynbella Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 11, 2007
    The first year we had chickens we had 4 hens about 3years old. They were outside all winter with just nest boxes with a board leaned over it for shelter. We also wrapped plastic tarp around the outside of the pen but the top was open. They did fine and it got below 0 a couple times. Strangly enough the last two winters we have had them in the garage with a good layer of straw on the floor and tarps wrapped around the outside of the garage on two sides to keep the wind out and they have gotten frostbitten alot worse. Our rooster lost alot of his comb and a couple hens lost toes! I don't understand that at all but plan on insulating this summer to prevent further loss next winter. Poor chickies
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Usually when chickens get frostbite at 'not really all that cold' temperatures, it reflects the air being more humid. So you might want to put an (accurate) hygrometer out there, or just preemptively increase ventilation. A garage with a slab floor (worse if it is block walls) can indeed be rather humid, especially if underventilated.

    FWIW, I know there is one BYC-er who has had her chickens down to -35 C (that's, what, somewhere around -30 F) with some frostbite on the BR roo's comb but only at that coldest temperature and everyone else ok. They were out of the wind, of course.

    Good luck,


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