Cold Temps and raising your flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by rEGGae chick, Oct 29, 2009.

  1. rEGGae chick

    rEGGae chick Out Of The Brooder

    10
    0
    22
    Oct 29, 2009
    Norwood, Colorado
    I purchased and am raising chickens in the Rocky Mountains. My chickens were bought mid April and so far I bought 15 and all 15 are laying. I wanted to know how warm the coop should be during our first big storm that we are having. Yesterday I opened their little hatch door, and I saw that they had come out, but it wasn't much into the 20's. Today it was blowing snow so I kept them in. My coop is 8x8 with OSB siding inside. I also am doing the Deep Liter method. In the front I have stuffed straw in between interwall and outer wall. I just haven't gotten to the back which faces the north. Should I use a heat lamp and if not now when? They are laying more and more each day. I have a mixed flock, 6 Aruacanas,2 Light Brahmas, 2 buff Orpingtons,4 New Hamshire Reds and 1 Black Australorp.
    It's been super fun, so I want to keep it that way. I don't want to do somehthing that would cause them to get too cold.

    Thanks....rEGGae chick![​IMG]
     
  2. Echos_dad

    Echos_dad Chillin' With My Peeps

    106
    0
    99
    Jun 26, 2009
    Elbert County, Colorado
    I use a heat lamp mainly to keep the eggs and water from freezing. I've heard people saying not to heat a coop, but yesterday when the snow started to fly, the hens high-tailed it into the coop and haven't left it. The less you stess them, the better they'll lay.
     
  3. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    They're all wearing little down jackets! They can easily stand temps below freezing as long as the coop isn't drafty. Just keep the water from freezing, or from being frozen for too long so they aren't without water for long or at all really, water is actually MORE important during hot OR cold weather. You can put a light or lamp right over the waterer, or get a heat-base to put the waterer on top of. There are also plug in waterers for sale that are supposed to work well. I tend to just bring a waterer out with me in the AM, replace the frozen, or semi-frozen one and do the same later in the day.

    Don't forget that if you keep them too warm, and the power goes out for any length of time, which we all know can happen in snow country... they will be very poorly equipped to deal with no heat after they've become used to it.

    All totally your choice of course, you'll learn more from the winter months than anything we can tell you here. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2009
  4. rEGGae chick

    rEGGae chick Out Of The Brooder

    10
    0
    22
    Oct 29, 2009
    Norwood, Colorado
    I actually am using a dog waterer that is heated. They got used to drinking out of a bowl so all is good. I also have another plastic 2 gallon pultry one on the ground that has minerals etc in it. They go through that stuff like crazy. So would I open their hatch door during a snow storm or cold temps? It's the size of a typical door for your chickens that creates a ramp for them to go down. It's on the E side on the base of the wall. Usually we get wind from the west.
    Thanks for the advise.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. fiberart57

    fiberart57 Chillin' With My Peeps

    614
    8
    144
    May 31, 2009
    Colorado
    Hi, I'm just north of you in Palisade (by Grand Junction) and we're getting the same storm although not with the same amount of snowfall.

    I'm going to cover the run today to give them something dry but really they didn't seem to mind wandering around in the mud and snow. I've read of people who'll put down layers of hay over the snow for the chickens to walk on and scratch about on but I'm not sure I'm going to do that yet.

    My house is 4'x6' and raised up off the ground by 2' and when I opened the door this morning it was noticeably warmer in the house than outside even with ventilation at the top of three walls. I don't have supplemental heat in there with them.

    I think they'll be okay, I got a heated waterer at the local feed store. I've chosen not to give mine extra lights for the winter so as to allow their bodies to follow a natural rhythm and rest although since only one has laid an egg I don't know what they're resting from.

    Mary
     
  6. rEGGae chick

    rEGGae chick Out Of The Brooder

    10
    0
    22
    Oct 29, 2009
    Norwood, Colorado
    I forgot to mention, the coop is a brand new 8x8 shed from a poplular shed company and they use a material that is like wood and it's totally waterproofed with wall's that are about 1/2" thick and then I put OSB to cover the studs with straw in between and has a premium roof. Wasn't cheap but it built out really well, and for any reason I don't want to do the chicken thing, it would be easy to convert it back to a shed. So no leaks or drafts only the one that would come from the open hatch.

    I close the hatch at night and open to their yard in the day. I shoveled some of the snow as we got almost a foot. Anyway, since I've never done this before and am getting information from the forums and this website and a book, I thought it best to look on here.

    Thanks again, [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2009
  7. rEGGae chick

    rEGGae chick Out Of The Brooder

    10
    0
    22
    Oct 29, 2009
    Norwood, Colorado
    I know exactly where you are. I looked at a horse to buy up there. Great to get this feed back. I am using light and am getting aprox a dozen eggs a day. This is their first year so no molting. Can't wait for that next year...not! That's too many feathers! Well I guess they were cooped up today! [​IMG] no pun intended!

    Thanks for the input!

    [​IMG]
     
  8. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I bought something called a Thermocube (around $12-15), which I'm going to plug a 150 W heat lamp into. With the one I bought, it will only kick on if the temp drops below 34/35 degrees, cuts off at 45 degrees. They sell one or two with ranges below that. My chicks are just 6 weeks though, so they'll be quite a bit younger than yours when the freeze and snow hits here. But it's something you could look up to see if you're interested...google it. I do not have the electric water dishes, so this will help keep the (indoor) water from freezing and keep them a little more comfortable this winter.

    Oh...and many fabric stores sell heavy duty clear vinyl. I'm cutting it into strips to make a little faux doggie/chicken door covering over my pop door to help keep out the winter air too...
     
  9. Momo

    Momo Chillin' With My Peeps

    373
    16
    151
    Mar 16, 2008
    Nelson BC
    Your chickens should be fine without heat, especially if you finish insulating the walls (and the underside of the roof!) and have proper ventilation at the top (it sounds like maybe you just had the pop door?). If you have questions about this topic, patandchickens has just the thing for you: check it out at https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-VENTILATION
     
  10. gjoyner

    gjoyner Chillin' With My Peeps

    I live in arvada and it just will NOT stop snowing! My coop is up against the garage wall so that protects them from alot of snow, i have a light on a timer that goes on from 5 am-8am..when it is the coldest right before the sun rises..and it helps the egg production. The run is roofed as well. i open the chicken door and they come in and out of the coop. honestly..they either are in the run or in the coop by the open door..they get so hot and create so much gasses they liek the cool air.
    in run i have a dog bowl that plugs in and keep their water from freezing..got that for 20 bucks.
    chickens puff up and collect air under their feathers and that keeps them warm. they can stay warm in fareeeezing weather..but you REALLY need to make sure their is alot of ventilation. dont close eveyrthing up..they need that ventilation or they can suffocate.
    They are a very adaptable!
    this storm is nutters!
    I have a jetta and this morning it looked like i had a suv with all the snow on it!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by