Cold Weather Answers

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by CheerioLounge, Nov 30, 2011.

  1. CheerioLounge

    CheerioLounge Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2011
    California High Desert
    I've noticed quite a few posts about folks worried about the cold and their flocks. I found a couple of posts that may alleviate some of your worries... They are from this thread -

    a mod could make it a sticky? [​IMG]

    Mrs. AK-Bird-Brain wrote:

    ETA 12/10/10: This was posted in response to a FaceBook post from someone in Florida that had two 250w heat lamps on their birds and it hadn't even dipped to freezing yet. I am not going to tell you NOT to add heat, but if you do, understand that you are restricting their normal acclimatization and will likely have to continue to pamper them through the winter. I personally cannot afford to heat all 4 chicken houses, and with careful observation have determined that they are perfectly fine down to 0F with so-so housing, and lower with properly set up/insulated housing. That said, continue reading!

    It dipped to 0F this morning. I knew it was coming, so I added fresh shavings to the pen, added a pile of hay in the corner, wished them well and said good night.

    Did I run around running extension cords from the house to plug in 500 watts of heat? No.

    Did I add any heat? No.

    I have ~ 20 12-16 week old juveniles in a hoop run - this is my "grow out" pen". The pen is about 10'x16', and is covered by your average tarp. Black plastic covers the areas that the tarp misses, but the end with the wooden door is open 1" chicken wire. It's not insulated, it's somewhat draft free, but with 20 mph winds, nothing is really draft free. And did I mention no heat lamps?

    All my babies were running around this morning like it was a summer day. 0F, no signs of frostbite, no signs of suffering... well, except for the fact that their water was frozen solid and they were thirsty... but they're happy now with fresh water. The adults were happy with fresh water, too.

    Did I mention it was 0F? And no heat?

    I'm just saying... SO many people ask when they should add heat. I understand... I'M cold! But I'm not wearing a down coat. I, for one, can do without a $600 electric bill for one month. Want happy, healthy, safe birds this winter? Hold off on the heat.

    Last edited by Mrs. AK-Bird-Brain (12/10/2010 1:07 pm)


    wyododge wrote:

    There is no place in the US (and that includes Alaska) that is too cold for chickens. Trust me when I say they do just fine with little shelter outside at -40.

    Think wild birds, they are the same as chickens but have less food and water, only the shelter they find, which generally is a tree.

    They adjust to their surroundings, adding heat or keeping them warm makes them reduce their 'coat' so they suffer more. The best thing you can do for them is to get them in a cold environment, and keep them in a cold environment. And no day time high temperatures will not affect this. they react to extreme lows and highs which do not happen at the same time.

    Hope this helps.​
  2. ChickenMack

    ChickenMack Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 7, 2011
  3. trooper

    trooper Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 26, 2010
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] T
  4. trooper

    trooper Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 26, 2010
    [​IMG][​IMG] Thank you for the info.It was very good and the information was benificial.[​IMG][​IMG]
  5. kesali

    kesali Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 27, 2011
    far northern Wisconsin
    My coop has two 8'x4' rooms with an opening so they can go into either one. Last night it got down to 10F and I decided to use a 175 heat lamp in the far room. When I came to open the door for them in the morning, I saw they were all sleeping in the unheated room complete with drafts!! So much for heat lamps!
  6. AlienChick

    AlienChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2010
    Glasgow, KY
    I have a Serama rooster out in the coop with the flock. Seramas generally do not do well in cold below 40.

    He wants to be outside. I do notice that when it gets really cold, he just stays inside the coop all day long.

    I go to check on him and he's happily wandering around the coop minding his own business.

    My d'Uccles will also spend more time inside the coop on the colder days.
  7. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    There's also the danger of heat lamps to consider. People have had their coops burn down and lost their whole flocks to fire caused by a heat lamp that falls, gets knocked down, or sparks.
  8. noondayfarm

    noondayfarm New Egg

    Dec 4, 2011
    Okay so not going to worry about heating them at all. Thanks.
  9. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I always urge not using heat but I have never owned any breeds that can't handle cold either. Even my mediteranean breeds handle the cold OK.
  10. dannifer

    dannifer Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 19, 2011
    Ok, I've been reading all this about cold weather cause this is my first winter to go through with mine. So let me just ask for my situation: I have a small a-frame portable coop with just 2 birds (RiR and Black Java), both about 25 weeks and just started laying. Since it's an a-frame, the run is on bottom of course and in the upper part there is a small nesting space on one end for egg laying and then a perch that extends across the rest where they perch to sleep. So the upper part then is still open to the bottom, not enclosed or closed off from the run. I'm not sure if that's a problem in the winter or not. ?? SO, our winters here can have extended periods of 0-10 degrees with wind chills below 0 and can have lots of snow. All I have set up at this point is a red heat lamp in the top over the perch where they sleep...which doesn't seem to warm much at all unless they are right under it cause the space is open to the run on bottom. The top is NOT draft free at all.... why does that matter again? Do I need to do anything else? I'm thinking of getting a heated water bowl just so I don't have to go out and break the ice every day to pour in warm water. But I'm still concerned since the top area isn't closed off and is drafty. There is such conflicting info about cold.

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