help! chickens roosting outside, cold temps!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by fosterchickens, Jan 24, 2011.

  1. fosterchickens

    fosterchickens Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    22
    May 16, 2008
    putnam co
    it is 15 degrees F outside, and the temps are falling.
    I have 6 hens, 3 full size, 2 bantam amerauracanas , and a silkie.

    About two weeks ago the silky went broody. maybe because the days are longer or because she's been laying eggs for 2 months or ... its too cold, silly, why now?

    Tonight I found out that one of the bantams has set up shop in the coop on the roosts and is pecking anyone else who tries to go to bed in there. Huh? I thought my leghorn was the flock boss followed by my black star, but they and the australorp are out with the bottom of the peck order bantam on the roost in the run.

    The run is covered w/ a tarp and has some plastic sheeting up to cut wind, but there are huge gaps at the top of the sheeting- I wasn't trying to make a coop. Also the roost out there is just a 1x2 (there is other stuff to roost on, but the 1x2 is highest & therefore best)

    Do I move everyone in now that they are asleep?

    Temps are predicted to drop to 7 degrees.

    Will my silky quit brooding after 21 days? I thought it was too cold to put her in a broody breaker (not that I have one). But since everyone else is sleeping outside??

    Is the little grey chicken being a protective fake rooster? one of my bantams has definitely stopped laying.

    most of all, do I need to do something for the outside chickens? the outside is well predator proofed... but cold, cold cold.

    Thanks for any and all advice, chickens all have names but I thought it would make the explanation even tougher to follow-
    Tara
     
  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

    70,116
    5,906
    701
    Oct 3, 2009
    Western N.C.
    I think I'd be getting them inside with temps that cold. Is your silky sitting on fertile eggs? I've had to go take the eggs from a couple of my bantams that are already wanting to sit. You might want to put up another roost in the coop I have 4 roosts in my 8x10 coop at different levels. that might help.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2011
  3. fosterchickens

    fosterchickens Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    22
    May 16, 2008
    putnam co
    I decided to leave them out, since it had been cold all day and it wasn't windy. They all seemed fine and chipper in the morning. 4 are going to bed in the run again tonight- i just can't believe that the big chickens are afraid of the tiny chicken who's the only one left roosting inside.

    I don't have any fertile eggs for my silky to hatch, but i also wouldn't want her to hatch anything untill it's warmer and everyone can free range a bit- its very snowy (in NY state) now.

    To top it all, apparently one of my hens has started eating eggs. When it happened 2 days ago I thought it might have been some sort of accident, but it happened again today. (found broken egg remains in a nest- the shell bits seemed plenty strong)

    My chickens have 24 hr access to layer pellets, and get some scratch and some people leftovers as well. They aren't lit, and they are 8 months old and seemed healthy and getting along reasonably well untill just recently. Maybe they are just stir crazy- they have a decent amount of space but when their wasn't snow they would get out for a few hours each day, and now they don't.


    Advice is very welcome, as well as chicken behavior explanations

    Thanks
     
  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

    70,116
    5,906
    701
    Oct 3, 2009
    Western N.C.
    Have you thought about removing your rooster for a few days and give the girls a chance to go back to roosting inside? Is the silkie sitting in the nest box? you need to remove her too.. Maybe put her and the roo in a separate place[dog crate] just to give the girls the chance to go inside. I have had a few hens want to go broody on me in this cold winter, I just take the eggs out from under them and make them go out, even in the snow mine go out some during the day.. The egg eater may always be one now, I haven't had one but from all I've read it's a hard problem to break.. Maybe get a flock block or some cabbage to hang in their coop or other fresh veg. fresh beets with tops is another good one. Stir crazy is a good word for it.
     
  5. fosterchickens

    fosterchickens Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    22
    May 16, 2008
    putnam co
    The rooster's not a rooster- she's a little bantam hen who up untill recently gave me an egg almost every day. I was just thinking she might have decided to think like a rooster- but I'm really not sure whats up.

    The silkie sleeps and spends all her time in the nest box. Most days I take her out twice, sometimes more, sometimes less. She eats some of the treats I'm putting out, drinks, eats some regular feed then gets back to it. Good mommy material I'm sure, she is very dedicated. It does not matter if she has an egg (I don't know how she gets other chickens to lay in there but she does) or if she does not.

    I don't have a garage or half-warm place for chickens- If I isolate them it will have to be a box in the (outdoor) run- or maybe in the house, but I am guessing the temperature fluctuation would be really bad for them.

    I am going to try to get a flockblock as soon as I can or at least a lettuce head- I can belive they are stir crazy. It is snowing right now- my kids have gotten so many snow days that their spring vacation is almost used up.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by