how cold can chickens take it before needing heater?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Chickie'sMoma, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. Chickie'sMoma

    Chickie'sMoma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 21, 2009
    Rochester, NH
    i was wondering how cold chickens could tolerate before they would need a heater in the coop?

    i have a digital thermometer that transmits from the garage coop and so far the lowest temp the coop has reached has been 37 degrees at night. the garage is insulated and the coop has been too (actually for sound proofing).
  2. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

    Oct 13, 2007
    I think we've been down to -40 with windchill. or somewhere in the -20's

    I thought I'd have a coop of frozen chicken but they hauled out their down comforters and were just fine!
  3. lisahaschickens

    lisahaschickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2009
    Vancouver, WA
    We have gotten into the high 20s here so far with no problems.

    I read a blog about backyard chickens in Montana and they survive the winters with no heat... and it can be pretty extreme there... so I really haven't worried about heat for mine. I think they can handle really love temps... like the other poster said... below 0F.

    I am going to get a ceramic heat bulb (no light), though, to put over their water so that it doesn't freeze. I think frozen water is probably the biggest issue with cold weather.

    Also, I've read that birds that are used to cold climates do better than ones that move from warmer climates (like florida, arizona, etc) to colder ones (new england, northern plains, rockies, etc.). Same with heat... they're better off if it's a gradual change so that they can get used to it.
  4. Jonathanq1

    Jonathanq1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 20, 2009
    They actually do very well I've had mine out in a wooden coop without heat and snow outside. I would just recomend that the cold wind dosen't hit them and no young chickens are out there either.
  5. Chickie'sMoma

    Chickie'sMoma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 21, 2009
    Rochester, NH
    there are no drafts that i am aware of, they have a window but it has been kept closed. i haven't cut the door to the outside yet for them to go out and scratch in the frosty/frozen dirt. if i let them out it is into the garage itself. (we have yet to get a car into the garage since we've been here)

    we moved them up to the garage for the winter so i wouldn't have to trudge through the snow to thaw out their water. and having them in the garage just seemed safer from predators like bears, coyotes, and other thieves that we've heard are in our area.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2009
  6. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    What breeds do you have? That is the single most important factor in deciding how cold is too cold.
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    See my 'cold coop' page, link in .sig below, for a whole bunch on this question.

    Readers' digest version: cold-hardy type breeds in a well-managed coop will typically be *fine* well down towards 0 F, often much lower; you just have to keep an eye on them, see how they're doing.

    If yours are in a garage, make sure they are well enough ventilated that the coop air does not get real humid; but other than that you may *never* have to turn on a lamp at all. Wait and see what the chickens are telling you [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

  8. Chickie'sMoma

    Chickie'sMoma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 21, 2009
    Rochester, NH
    mostly bantams-2 salmon favs, 3 cochins (1 roo), 1 cochin/silkie mix, 1 d'uccle, 1 wc polish, 2 wyandottes and 1 buff brahma.

    my standards are 1 EE, 2 light brahmas, 1 houdan and 1 houdan/polish mix.

    most have little to no visible comb and those that have them i know i'll have to slather them with stuff.
  9. Chickie'sMoma

    Chickie'sMoma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 21, 2009
    Rochester, NH
    thanks patandchickens! that was a very useful link you have there!

    i'll keep all that in mind. we don't usually get winters that drop below 0 deg for long periods. and we are just down the street from our local utility substation (Dept of Public works is across the street too) so we don't usually lose power for long.
  10. trilyn

    trilyn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2009
    East Syracuse
    Quote:Woman, you rock! The information on that page is very sensible, realistic, practical, and incredibly informative. It is also easy to read and understand. Great job and a huge thank you!! [​IMG]

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