Hey Northerners: What is the absolute coldest air temps your chickens have experienced happily!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by lalaland, Dec 4, 2013.

  1. lalaland

    lalaland Overrun With Chickens

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    Ok, at below zero, I have sometimes popped on a heat lamp to get the coop up to 0 degrees F. I am trying to wean myself off of this, and go cold turkey (or NOT cold chicken [​IMG]).

    I believe my chickens will survive just fine in 30 below zero, as long as they are out of the wind and snow. And are dry.

    What is the coldest air temps your chickens have been at? And does it make a difference whether it is daytime or at night on the roost?
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013
  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    "Happily" is definitely a subjective term, especially when interpreting chicken happiness...lol. Based on the behaviors of happily pecking and scratching about a lot, laying flopped over sun bathing, dust bathing, etc. (MY definition of chicken happiness),VS not moving around much, spending ample time in rather hunked positions, and acting rather short tempered with their fock mates, then my chickens aren't too happy below 40F...LOL. Seriously...I have some wimpy birds! Mine are most active and "chickeny acting" in the 50s, 60s, and 70s...maybe the low 80s if it's not very humid. Now do mine survive okay in cold temps? Yep. Thankfully we're rarely down to 0 degrees here...our winter day time temps are generally 20-30. At night I do offer a small heat lamp bulb for my oldies (4+ yrs) over winter time...
     
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  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I'm not in the North, really, but it was 24F this am when I got outside and the flock was mostly out in the run, just doing their chicken things. Not hunched over and miserable. Fluffed out, yeah, but active and scratching and catching some rays.
     
  4. iheartMT

    iheartMT Out Of The Brooder

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    We live in Montana and are in the midst of a serious cold snap. Temperatures are projected of highs of single digits and lows below zero with a 5-15 mph wind. Our rule of thumb is turning on the heat lamp when it dips below 10 degrees. Our coop is fairly draft free but with plenty of ventilation. This morning the outside temperature was 3 degrees and the coop thermometer read 30 degrees at the floor level.

    Of course the hens will survive cold temps as long as there isn't any wind. But I feel they will be much happier (ie more prodcutive) with a little heat when it's super cold. We have six hens and got five eggs yesterday. We do have a regular lamp that extends the day for us to keep up production.

    Hope this helps!
     
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  5. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Hey, lala - I'm from MN, too, and my chickens have survived temps in the 20's and 30's below. I don't know how "happy" they were about it, but they did survive. They will be much better off if you leave the heat lamp off.
     
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  6. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    When it gets cold, you have to feed more. It is cold here tonight, I fed the scratch and cornmeal at just before dark. No added heat, good ventilation, and dry, they will be fine.

    Mrs K
     
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  7. lalaland

    lalaland Overrun With Chickens

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    they are going to get a chance to experience it then, as it will be close to 20 below zero tomorrow night. yikes!

    Bobbi, do you let them decide whether to go out or do you keep them in when it is in the 20's and 30's below zero, not counting windchill?

    Mrs. K. you are right, they definitely eat more. Hard to give them a bedtime feeding as they are roosting around 4:15 pm and I don't get home from work til 6:30!
     
  8. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    I leave their pop door open most of the winter, but they have no interest in going out when it's that cold anyway, so I shut it just to keep some of the cold out. It's been so dark and gloomy here, I don't even know if they're leaving the roosts. I'm sure they are, since their food and water are disappearing, but I don't think it's for long. I know they're roosting when I leave for work, and the last couple of days have been by 4 or shortly thereafter like yours. I put a light in on a timer, just to give them a little more light during the day.
     
  9. StruckBy

    StruckBy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The coldest I've done w/o extra heat was -28F at night, daytime @ -5F for a couple weeks. The first day of the snap they pretty much stayed huddled inside, but after that they seemed to act pretty normally. I did notice that they seemed to prefer to be outside on the days where it was really cold but sunny to being outside on the days where it wasn't quite as cold as but was overcast. I will admit, I didn't WANT them to be without a heat lamp at those temps but I maxed out my outlets trying to keep all the waters thawed (in addition to the ducks & chickens, I was trying to keep water thawed for my horses, for wildlife, and for some feral cats). Every time I tried to add a heat bulb I blew a breaker so I gave up. My personal feeling is that it depends not only on your particular breeds (just like my woolly-mammoth German shepherd liked cold a lot more than my boxers) but also on what they are used to. Just like us, if you're used to 70 degrees in FL, flying to OR where it's 45 is going to feel chilly but if you're used to ND where it's below zero, that same 45 is going to feel balmy. But maybe I'm just projecting! Given the choice, I add a heat lamp any time it drops below zero BUT I make sure they have enough space to get out of the extra heat if they don't like it...like 1 smallish heat lamp in the corner of an 8X8 coop. I've had more problems with birds finding heat lamps too hot than being bothered by the cold.
     
  10. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Overrun With Chickens

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    -22 for a week at night in 1994. The did fine and I never have added heat.
     
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