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Frozen chickens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Chicken on the Brain, Apr 7, 2007.

  1. Chicken on the Brain

    Chicken on the Brain Hatching

    Apr 7, 2007
    Hello all.

    Just moved to Montana and as things are thawing here it made me wonder about having chickens in the c-c-c-c-cold. Is it ever TOO cold? We get down into the negatives... can I still have them? Some kind of heating system for the coop & water?
    Didn't have to worry about that in the South where we just moved from.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    Chicken on the Brain
    (formerly Red Feather)
  2. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    If you keep their home draft free you should be okay... the first winter I had chickens it got to minus degrees way over here in MA...My Brahma got frostbite on her comb, but she recovered nicely. Most folks here might have some sort of a light for their coops. I have spoiled brat housechickens so they have their own heater and a fan for the summer...
  3. FrozenChicken

    FrozenChicken Songster

    Apr 1, 2007
    Alberta, Canada
    Well I live in Northern Alberta and it is the minuses for up to 5-6 months at a time and I manage to keep a nice flock of birds year round. Firstly you need to build an insulated barn with minimal drafts. The barn must be a good enough size to allow your hens to run about .You must wire it for lighting during winter months as with low light means low egg production. I use red light bulbs to discourage feather pecking a problem that can develope with cooped hens. Ventolation is important as well as a body heated building will tend to get amonia built up. A stack or ceiling vents should be installed to allow for some ventation but also should be able to close it off on real cold days.
    Heating system Body Heat + Heat lamps. Simple enough you have enough birds in a well insolated building and you'd be suprised how warm it can be inside. Not all that pleasent of a smell so shavings should be added constantly and warm days should become clean the barn day.
    Water ,well here is where I might be different than most. I have a large 45 gallon barrel that runs to float valve and a trough. The barrel is aggainst the wall with plywood around it in a kind of box with a lid with a steep slope to discourage roosting. I fill the barrel with clean drinking water which I haul and I keep filling it with fresh clean snow all winter. I usually put in a couple large rubbermaid containers full each day. I also give the birds some snow in the trough as well. With the temperature always above zero celcuis the snow will always melt in the water in the barrel. Thus saving you backbreaking labour of lugging 5 gallon pails of water all winter. The trough is removable I just take it outside and clean it in the snow so the birds always have nice clear water. 8) To curb the winter blahs I grow a large crop of Turnips, like 2 pickup truck loads worth [​IMG]. I store them tops on in a grainery. The birds are given a five gallon pail or so each day this gives them something to peck other than each other and also is a good source of greens something they crave all winter. Alfalfa bales are also a welcome treat.
  4. FrozenChicken

    FrozenChicken Songster

    Apr 1, 2007
    Alberta, Canada
    I had to put a pic of my water barrel set up.

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