Freeze Warning. What to do with chickens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Aquatic_blue, May 19, 2019.

  1. Aquatic_blue

    Aquatic_blue In the Brooder

    May 14, 2019
    Tomorrow we have a lovely freeze warning:th. I was wondering what the best way is to keep chickens warm? They have been doing okay in the coop, it has been about 40's - 50's at night and they are mostly feathered (about 6-7 weeks), and we have 4 of them. They have a coop that has a closed portion for nighttime and they have pine shavings. We threw a tarp over the top of the coop in case it got a little cold tonight from the wind, but will that be enough for a freeze warning of temps as low as 28 F?

    Thanks =)
  2. PirateGirl

    PirateGirl Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist

    Mar 11, 2017
    South Park, Colorado, USA
    They should be fine. Lock them in their coop at dusk.
    Aquatic_blue and gtaus like this.
  3. gtaus

    gtaus Songster

    Mar 29, 2019
    Northern Minnesota
    If they are fully feathered out, they might not need any additional heat for the night. You could put a small 100 watt light bulb in the coop which would provide some additional heat. I have a pet carrier that would hold 4 chickens, so I might consider putting them in the carrier and bringing them into the house/garage for the night.

    I bought a Cozy Coop 200 watt flat heat panel for the chicken coop for next winter. I have not used it yet. But I know lots of people bought them last winter when we had a 2 week stretch of -40F to -50F at night. In theory, chickens don't need additional heat in winter, but lots of people started losing chickens during that cold stretch and the local Fleet store sold out of the panel heaters fast. The Cozy Coop is a radiant heater that heats the chickens, not the air. The chickens have to stand right next to it to get warm. My chicks are still in the brooder under heat lamps in my attached garage, but if I was concerned about them outside in a coop, I might turn on the Cozy Coop panel for the night.
    Shanny123 likes this.
  4. Aquatic_blue

    Aquatic_blue In the Brooder

    May 14, 2019
    Sounds like a neat device there =) it will never get too cold here unless the world were to freeze over, but that is good to know. We used to have a pet kennel that would hold them, but gave it away years ago.

    We also do not have electricity directly to the coop so we always worry if they are warm enough.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    As long as that wind can't get inside the coop, they'll be fine.
    Make sure tarp doesn't block all ventilation.

    Welcome to BYC! @Aquatic_blue
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  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Hi, welcome to the forum. Glad you joined.

    I've had 5-1/2 week old chicks go through temps in the mid 20's Fahrenheit with no supplemental heat. Most chicks are fully feathered at around 4 to 5 weeks so yours are well past that. And yours have been out in cooler temps so they have been acclimated, much better than coming from a brooder in the house with the lowest they have seen in the mid-70's.

    Your job is not to give them a warm place, your job is to give them a place their down and feather coats can keep them warm. They need two things in the coop, wind protection and good ventilation. By wind protection I don't mean the kind of draft you observe if you hold a candle near a window in your house and the flame barely moves. I mean a wind that can ruffle their feathers or can actually cause wind chill. I don't know where yours are sleeping, they may be on the roosts but are likely still sleeping on the coop floor. Wherever that is you want o block breezes hitting them.

    But you need good ventilation. In below freezing temperatures, frostbite is a risk. If your coop is dry they can handle really cold temperatures, below zero F, without worries. But if the air has a lot of moisture in it frostbite is possible up to freezing. Moisture can come from their breathing, poop, thawed drinking water, or maybe something else. So you need enough ventilation to exchange that moist air for drier outside air.

    it sounds like a dilemma how to you stop breezes yet provide good ventilation? There are actually different ways to do that, the way I like is to have openings in winter above them where they sleep. The warmer moister air tends to rise and escape even in a calm while any breezes pass over their heads if it is windy. Some people in colder climates have stopped frostbite problems by providing more ventilation, not by sealing their coop up more.

    I don't know what your coop looks like or what ventilation you have. Putting that tarp over it may be making it worse, not better. I don't know.
    rosemarythyme and Aquatic_blue like this.
  7. Aquatic_blue

    Aquatic_blue In the Brooder

    May 14, 2019
    Yes, the tarp is never fixed air tight, it is loosely over the top whenever I put it on =)

    Thanks for the tips!
  8. Aquatic_blue

    Aquatic_blue In the Brooder

    May 14, 2019
    Thank you =)

    It is not humid here and the coop has been staying dry as we have not hit the monsoons yet. It has good ventilation and I can always open small windows it has on it a little if need be that are off of the ground and backed with galvanized wire mesh. Frostbite here is unheard of for people so hopefully it will not be a problem for chickens!

    Thank you for all your tips =)

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