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Cold weather is coming....

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Mr Grandcanyon, Oct 10, 2010.

  1. Mr Grandcanyon

    Mr Grandcanyon In the Brooder

    Sep 14, 2010
    St. Johns, AZ
    At 4:30 this morning it was 43. So not long until we start hitting freezing temps and lower.

    My FLOCK! is Speckled Sussex. They are allegedly hardy cold weather birds. Their coop is compact, built for 10 but I only have 5. They seem to roost together on one of the 2 roosts all facing the same way (the line of poop confirms that).

    Will I need to put some heat source in there or will they do fine? Because I occasionally will be gone and relying on the neighbors, I'm trying not to have to close up their small door to the pen. I also like the ventilation it provides (there is another vent at the roof line).

    There is plenty of straw inside and they keep rearranging it to their changing tastes....

    Heat or not???[​IMG]

  2. Tomhusker

    Tomhusker Songster

    May 28, 2010
    Hamburg, Iowa
    Info in your bio would help us know what kind of winter you can expect. Where are you located, how cold does it get? [​IMG]

    That would make it easy for those smarter than me to answer your question.
  3. Mr Grandcanyon

    Mr Grandcanyon In the Brooder

    Sep 14, 2010
    St. Johns, AZ
    Sorry... I'm in Northeastern Arizona... St. Johns area. Elevation is 6300'. Winter nights can reach teens. Days USUALLY get back above freezing. Occasional storm dump snow which usually melts in a few days. Last winter was the heaviest in recent memory (where is Global Warming when you NEED it?). I've already ordered a heated water dispenser. The coop/run is on the east side of the house... right near the house so it gets some shade from the direction most storms usually come in from.... the west.

    Hope this helps...
  4. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Songster

    Sep 9, 2009
    Olympia, WA
    You shouldn't need to add any heat for adult, fully featherd birds at those temps. Mostiure is more of a problem then cold, as long as your coop has good ventilation but is not drafty they'll be fine. We got down into single digets last year (Not the norm for the pnw) for a week or two last year and my flock did great--they were even wading in the pariall frozen creek that runs thru the field.

    ETA: The heated waterer is a great idea! My coop is about 200' from the house and hauling water out there a few times a day got old fast!
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2010
  5. ella

    ella Songster

    As long as they have all their feathers (no amorous roosters around) they'll be fine even far below freezing. But if it makes you feel better you can provide heat, they do appreciate it.

    I always have heaters going when it gets below freezing here. I try to keep it around 30* F minimum during the winter. I have several smaller breeds and they spend most of the winter happily indoors. I know they like the warmth.

    Just observe their behavior and they'll tell you what you need.
  6. woodmort

    woodmort Songster

    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    Goodness 43! We had frost yesterday and the birds were fine with the coop windows still wide open. I doubt you'll need to heat for them if your temperatures stay above 20 below--mine seem to do fine at those temps with no heat except what they supply. The danger from possible fire or loss of power and their not being accustom to cold, far offsets the need for an extra heat source. Just because you're cold doesn't mean your down cover birds are.[​IMG]
  7. Mr Grandcanyon

    Mr Grandcanyon In the Brooder

    Sep 14, 2010
    St. Johns, AZ
    Thank you all for your replies.

    I think I now have the courage to NOT heat the coop. I agree the danger of a short circuit fire far outweighs the benefit. They all are full feathered.

    One of my goals if for the FLOCK! to live as natural a life as possible. This includes normal day/night cycles (no artificial light) and normal seasons.....

    I'll tell you this forum is great
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2010

  8. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    If it makes you feel any better, heat presents another problem. They get used to it. Which means if the light bulb burns out, power goes out, heater dies -- they will be in trouble because they won't be accustomed to it.

    I agree, think low moisture and no drafts on the roost. And unfrozen water. Forget heat.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2010
  9. SmittenChicken

    SmittenChicken Songster

    Apr 23, 2010
    Thanks for this thread, this will be my first winter with chickens and I've been told by a few people (landlord, feed store "expert") that I need to put a heat lamp up in the coop this winter. I've been worried about the fire hazard and have wondered if it's really necessary, since I read that chickens are fine to -20F as long as they're dry. Our 13 girls have no rooster so they are fully feathered, and we made a point of getting breeds that are said to do well in cold weather - Black/Red Stars, Light Brahmas, Speckled Sussex, White Rocks, Easter Eggers. Their coop is pretty large, maybe 20' x 15' but has south facing windows and we've been doing the deep litter method which I've heard puts out a fair amount of heat. We're in Colorado, so we get a lot of sunshine and not much humidity.
    I like what others have said here about keeping things as natural as possible and allowing the birds to adapt to colder temps. I think I'll just be sticking with a heated waterer unless the cold gets really extreme.

    I'd love to hear everyone's recommendations for a good winter water setup.
  10. Mr Grandcanyon

    Mr Grandcanyon In the Brooder

    Sep 14, 2010
    St. Johns, AZ

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