Cold Temps

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by momof8, Feb 5, 2012.

  1. momof8

    momof8 New Egg

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    Feb 5, 2012
    Hello, I am new to this forum. We have 6 chickens (one died this morning) They were all okay at about 10am and we found her dead in the nesting area a little before 2. We are not sure what caused this and our 8 year old daughter is devastated. We have them in a coop under our covered patio and they have yard access from the coop. We do have a heat lamp but are not sure what temp is too cold for them. We have been turning it on when the temps are in the teens and lower. Any suggestions as to when the temps are too cold and what to do? Also, any thoughts as to what could cause a seemingly healthy young chicken to die (she was less than a year and had been laying) Thanks
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Sorry but chickens die unexpectedly. If dogs died at the rate chickens do, people wouldn't own as many dogs.
    What breed are your birds? Most breeds can handle temps way below zero if allowed to acclimate.
    If they have a heated space and then subjected to below freezing temps - that is stressful to them.
     
  3. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

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    yes, heat lamp usually does more harm than good. When they are left to acclimate to the cold with no heat, they develop a thick layer of body fat and their down keeps them warm, like a dog that gets a thicker winter coat.
    Add in a heat lamp and their bodies won't develop this extra winter insulation. Now, when they go outside, they don't have any protection from the elements. Just like if you left your warm living room to walk around in the snow without your coat on.
     
  4. momof8

    momof8 New Egg

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    Feb 5, 2012
    We don't have the heat light on every night, but I guess we should leave it off all the time. Tonight will be about 9 outside, they can survive that?
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Did you handle dead bird to see how she felt? Have you handled any of the others?
     
  6. momof8

    momof8 New Egg

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    Feb 5, 2012
    Not sure what you mean by handled... all of them were alive at about 10 am and we found her just before 2. Our kids handle them all the time. They hold them almost daily. If you mean was she thin etc, no.. she seemed normal
     
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Sorry for being vague. The apparent condition / weight is something to watch. Seldom do birds just drop dead although signs something is wrong are sometimes hard to catch without handling birds.

    Temperature alone, in your case 9 F, is not cold enough to kill. How did her vent / cloaca look?

    Did she have anything in her crop?

    Are remaining birds all on roost?

    In most intances when a bird drops dead in my flock, it usually can not get to roost the night before.
     
  8. momof8

    momof8 New Egg

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    Feb 5, 2012
    You will have to excuse my ignorance,,, I do not know a lot of the terms you are using (I guess we should learn) Our chicken adventure started as our daughter bringing home a chic from school.. we built a coop and got more! We wanted the fresh eggs. She felt perfect in weight when we held her and they are all laying. I do not know the body parts you are referring to so I guess I need to learn. What do you mean are the remaining birds all on roost? They have a roosting/nesting area in the coop and that is where we found her this afternoon. However, my husband just went to check on them and non of the chickens are in the nesting/roosting area, they are all at the bottom. I did not even think to examine our dead hen, probably because my 8 year old was hysterical. I think this site will be good for learning
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    You are starting a long and often but not always fun learning curve.

    See link for images. http://www.bing.com/images/search?q...AFDDF99903B145348D0F56EBD58D29629&FORM=IQFRBA
     
  10. lisarhr

    lisarhr New Egg

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    Apr 15, 2012
    Hi,
    This is a bit belated to your post, but I had the exact same scenario today. It is sad to lose a sweet bird. My hen was over a year old and had been healthy but she had some previous laying issues. She laid eggs off and on. Upon doing a little research, I learned that chickens can die due to egg binding, where they cannot lay an egg that has become impacted. Since my girl was fine this morning and she was found nesting, I am fairly certain that was the case here and may have been with your hen too. I didn't have the heart to examine her other than a quick look. She was one of my two favorites out of the six we had. I will miss her.
     

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