Free ranging questions

U_Stormcrow

Free Ranging
Jun 7, 2020
4,628
13,496
536
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
@kimylos That's a comon question of new chicken owners, who have only human temperature tolerances from which to judge "cold". Chickens wear down jackets, 5-8C is VERY mild. No supplimental heat needed. Hatchlings can be out in it as soon as they are fully feathered (4 wks +/-, sooner for some breeds). Chickens don't tolerate heat well, bvut they do extremely well compared to ourselves in cold. 5C/40F is not "cold", its barely cool.

Keep them dry and draft free, they will be fine.

We have BYC members who keep chickens, no additional heat at -30F (about -35C).

If you happen to have wet winters, and ground that tends to muddiness, avoid breeds with feathered feet. The feathers tend to collect mud, and then if you get a true freeze, it promotes frostbite in the feet/toes.

Hoinestly, your climate is more mild than my own, and I chose my location in part because of its fair weather and long growing season.

Very best to you, your chickens will be fine!
 

Cooptown Lady

Chirping
May 27, 2021
38
156
69
Southeast Arizona
I am planning to get my first chickens and I will keep them in my backyard. Now I collect as much information as I can. The most challenging thing is to keep them in winter I guess. It is
5-8 degrees Celcius in winters here.
Hi kimylos!

I don't have a lot of chicken experience but I make this suggestion anyway. You probably know how important it is to choose breeds that are equipped to handle the cold.

I bought my hens from a feed store so my choices were limited. I did bring home a silver laced wyandotte chick who has grown into a lovely, sweet chicken. She would be better off in a colder climate than southern AZ but I took her home anyway figuring if I didn't get her another Arizonan would.

She's made it through 106 degree (F) afternoons, but she and her Buff Orpington pal suffered more than my RIR and Sapphire Gem.

Best of luck! You'll do great since you're taking the effort to educate yourself here!
 
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U_Stormcrow

Free Ranging
Jun 7, 2020
4,628
13,496
536
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
Hi kimylos!

I don't have a lot of chicken experience but I make this suggestion anyway. You probably know how important it is to choose breeds that are equipped to handle the cold.

I bought my hens from a feed store so my choices were limited. I did bring home a silver laced wyandotte chick who has grown into a lovely, sweet chicken. She would be better off in a colder climate than southern AZ but I took her home anyway figuring if I didn't get her another Arizonan would.

She's made it through 106 degree afternoons, but she and her Buff Orpington pal suffered more than my RIR and Sapphire Gem.

Best of luck! You'll do great since you're taking the effort to educate yourself here!
Following up on this @kimylos . If you have a high heat environment (regular 85+ highs for months at a time), you want to favor breeds with clean legs, single combs (followed by buttercups then rose in order of preference - its all about the surface area), lightly feathered breeds. Avoid Cornish Cross, they are notoriously heat-intolerent. Not to say failure is guaranteed w/ CX (I've raised them past one year in age in my routine high 90s, high humidity), just that performance suffers and the birds look miserable. Also avoid critters like Australorps, Brahma, Cochins, Dominiques, Dorkings, etc which are (typically large - eventually) heavily feathered birds better suited to mid to high latitude climates.
 

Acre4Me

Crossing the Road
Nov 12, 2017
6,644
21,540
877
Western Ohio
Ours have a very large covered run with many outside roosts at varying heights. They would destroy our garden or neighbors garden if they free-ranged always. We do let them out to enjoy the garden area once plants are done for the season. We do often plant a cover crop in the closest raised bed, which we let them enjoy. Winter peas for cover crop - stays green for us through the winter. They can also get into the compost bin when we let them out.
 

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