How cold hearty are Speckled Sussex?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by beaker, Dec 23, 2008.

  1. beaker

    beaker In the Brooder

    Mar 8, 2008
    Western Mass.
    I had one of my SS hens drop dead this morning, & am trying to figure out why. I had 5 SS hens, and all of their combs bleached to pink as soon as it got cold this fall. So I've been concerned about their cold-heartiness. It has been VERY cold - lows near 0 F at night. I assumed since they are good-sized birds with small combs that they would be cold hearty, but now I am wondering.

    I love these birds but will have to avoid them if they can't handle winter here.

    Thanks for any feedback.

  2. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    This is my first winter with mine too. We've been having the same kinds of temps with windchills well below zero. So far so good with mine. They're out scratching around and don't seem too fazed by the temps.
  3. jossanne

    jossanne Songster

    Jul 11, 2008
    Gila, New Mexico
    I'm sorry to hear about your lovely girl. I can't answer your question, but maybe this will bump you up so someone will.
  4. beakkeeper

    beakkeeper Songster

    Jul 20, 2008
    OH, I'm sorry... [​IMG] those speckleds are so cute! [​IMG] I want one too, so I will be watching this thread closely. Could it be drafts in your coop?
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    My Nelda is doing fine, but I think that's because she went through her molt and was re-feathered just before the bottom dropped out. Was she molting? A paler comb is one symptom of the molt. It shrinks, too, if they have stopped laying for awhile. I still have several pitiful molting girls.

  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Did the 'bleached to pink' by any chance coincide with stopping laying? Since that can cause it.

    Mine have been totally 100% fine so far, but of course it hasn't been below the mid 20s F in my coop so I can't really say what'd happen below that. What are your nightly low temps in the coop, do you have a max-min thermometer?

    The roos do have big combs which is potentially unhelpful. But of course kinda irrelevant to your hens.

    I think sometimes a cold snap is just the 'straw that broke the camels back' for individuals that were having some other sort of problem at the same time, so it is possible the hen you lost was just a one-off.

    Good luck, and condolences,

  7. beaker

    beaker In the Brooder

    Mar 8, 2008
    Western Mass.
    Quote:My Speckled Sussex hens were born this spring, so they had only been laying a few months when the cold set in. I do believe they quite laying (or some did, anyway) when it got cold; then we had a 5-day power outage (so no light in coop) and darn near everyone quit laying. So end of laying may have coincided with bleached combs. I didn't know laying & comb color were related - no other chickens I've had have ever had bleached combs (except my Millefleur banties in extreme cold) so it certainly worried me.

    As for temps in the coop, it certainly is warmer in there than outside, but the water does freeze at night sometimes even with a heater in it. We have smaller chickens (bantam & Hamburg) that have been fine through several winters in that coop.

    I'm glad that no one is saying they are known for not being cold-hearty - they are just the sweetest, most friendly chickens. Thanks for the replies!
  8. bargain

    bargain Love God, Hubby & farm

    Apr 13, 2008
    Bowdon, GA
    so sorry for your loss. Our speckled sussex are doing fine, but I do notice that the rooster sends them to bed early when we have coooler temperatures.
  9. My friend who lives up the road from me has them - in an uninsulated fairly drafty coop (made of boards) - lowest it has been is -18F and they were fine.

  10. morelcabin

    morelcabin Songster

    Feb 8, 2007
    Ontario Canada
    Do you have good ventelation in the coop?

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