Hens cold weather roosting

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jshakour, Oct 25, 2016.

  1. jshakour

    jshakour New Egg

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    So my hens are roosting outside during cold nights (36 degrees). I thought they would go inside, is this normal and what about when it get really cold? (BTW I northern Ohio)


    Thanks in advance!

    J
     
  2. minihorse927

    minihorse927 Whipper snapper Premium Member

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    this is normal. I have a group of free range birds that have slept in a cedar tree their entire lives. They are 4 or 5 years old now. I have attempted to get them down when it was super cold and failed to get them (-25 last winter) and they survived just fine out there. I would say if they have cover to protect them from the snow/rain/wind they would be ok. If it was me I would attempt to get them inside if at all possible though.

    I am in southern Ohio.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2016
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  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Chickens are really cold hardy and are most comfortable with the temperatures below 60 degrees. Most seem to feel frisky and happy when temperatures are about 30-50 degrees. Chickens suffer more in hot weather than cold and are perfectly designed to hold heat in against their bodies. Feathers are great insulation. We get pretty cold here and my chickens do fine in a pole shed for a co-op with a west facing door always open.

    You should still encourage them to go inside for protection from precipitation and drafts, and predators, just make sure the coop isn't closed up and is well ventilated. Keep the air dry and fresh and the chickens will take care of keeping themselvesself warm.
     
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  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Predators will be bigger problem than cold outside. Even so, they can benefit from wind protection. Breed and age of birds can impact cold tolerance.
     
  5. Spartan22

    Spartan22 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We'd been having lower 40s and upper 30s here @night in NE Ohio and a few (9) of my younger hens still perches in the run at night even though there's plenty of roost in the coop (over 12' extra), I guess they're fine since our run is roofed and protected, we' ll see when the temps drops lower.
     
  6. BurntFeather

    BurntFeather Out Of The Brooder

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    My larger hens prefer to be outside when the weather cools down, even the really cold. They come inside if it also means getting wet. I have even had a couple of hens create their own little snows caves in their run area and happily roost there in -20 F weather. Of course I was worried and checked on them often, but they were just fine. To be honest I am wondering and worrying if any of my other hens will do the same.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC!!

    While it's not unprecedented, IMO it's not 'normal' for domesticated birds with a coop available to sleep outside.

    More info about your coop and number of birds in your flock would help.
    Dimensions of coop and run, in feet by feet, and pics of coop and run - inside and out would help even more.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2016
  8. jshakour

    jshakour New Egg

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    Ok so y next question....water in the winter. what techniques do you guys use to help the water from freezing?
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    In northern Ohio keeping water fluid arunf the clock will be tough. If you have electricity then use a heated waterer but make certain coop very well ventilated if using that approach. The do not have to have continous access to water to stay in lay or grow (chicks) although they need at least to times daily to top off. If you are simply holding birds one drink early in morning will suffice which what I do with most. You can keep them in lay with a single watering in the morning if you supplement feedings with soaked oats that provide additional water themselves and make the ice in same container easier to chip apart for ingestion. Process of chipping slow but birds provided free-choice feed will have lots of time on the hands as only actually engage in feeding an hour or less each day. Birds I have in field are watered using black rubber bowls placed in sun where I tolerate dead plant stems getting in. The bowl and stems make for fluid water at a lower temperature when exposed to sunlight or at least increases speed of melting and slows freezing as ambient temperature decreases.
     

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