How cold is cold??

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by aitchbe, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. aitchbe

    aitchbe In the Brooder

    Jan 4, 2008
    I'm in Michigan and we're getting temps in the teens. My girls have a 4x3 space for nighttime and i have a infrared lamp that goes on at 5am so they get their 16 hours of daylight, but I have it turned off a few hours before they go to roost. There is plastic around the whole coop and a bit of foam board insulation above and below their roosting space.

    It's been sooo cold at night, I'm wondering if I need to do anything else for them. My "chicken guru" who set me up with the chicks says they can take temps to 0 degrees F. Is that so?

    I'm new and learning and appreciate any feedback. I did look at other posts (cold in FL) and read those, but I'm wondering if I should keep the lamp on all night - will that interrupt their sleep? I also thought of an portable heater.....Brrrrr.
  2. Fancy Feather Poultry

    Fancy Feather Poultry Cooped Up

    May 30, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 5, 2008
  3. Queen of the Lilliputians

    Queen of the Lilliputians Songster

    Apr 5, 2007
    Temps here dipped to -6. My flock has a 7x7 henhouse, all insulated with R-17 LOL! It was still cold in there. I DO have a light on for them all the time (I've read it's a no-no.. and I've also read that it's fine [​IMG] ), mostly just to keep their water from freezing. It hangs directly over it, and has a 75watt lightbulb.. and last night the water still froze. It was chilly in there... well brrr actually. It was probably in the teens in there. Everyone except my d'Anvers roo was fine. He was shivering and ruffling his feathers. I took pity on him and brought him inside with the house chickens. He went back out this morning when our temp hit a whopping 10 degrees. (probably was about 25 in the henhouse)

    Anyway, a lot I think depends on the breeds. My girls are RIR, BR, and NHR, all big, beefy girls. They didn't really seem to mind much. They do have 2x4's for roosts, to keep their feet warm. Birds with big, single combs suffer more. Roos suffer more.

    I also give everyone cracked corn first thing in the morning, to help them stay warm until the air temp in their run comes up. I know other people feed scratch just before bedtime, to help them keep warm at night (I'm afraid I'll give too many goodies and they'll all run to fat.. so I just stick to the corn).


    Last edited: Jan 4, 2008
  4. beckt

    beckt Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Chickens handle the cold better than the heat that is for sure. I do not add any extra heat in either of my coops. The only thing I do is add temp walls on the inside out of cardboard boxes. Nothing else no insulation between the wall & cardboard. I take it down in the spring when not needed. It does make a diffrence in the inside temps. My big coop is 9' tall at the highest point so I just blocked off the ceiling with thick cardboard and leave it up year round. It keeps their heat from going all the way up to the rafters. I do not block off the vent or skylight though. My girls do quite fine with this housing. I keep them inside on real nasty days but other than that they come & go as they please. I give them some scratch at night when cold & if real cold give some in the morning also.
  5. McGoo

    McGoo Songster

    Our temps haven't gotten that cold yet, but I don't think it's about the temp outside so much as the temp in the coop. If the coop is small and the chickens all huddle, then they are better off than if the coop was larger.

    I believe it's best to have a well insulated coop with no wind coming through. Many people use heat lamps and/or lights, especially in very cold areas. You'll need to watch them and see if they are okay.

    I do not use artificial heat, but temps here are probably not as extreme as where you are and my coop is very well insulated and I have 6 inches of deep litter method on the floor (pine shavings and poop which creates it's own composting heat). When the temp outside dropped to 9 degrees the inside of the coop was in the high 20's/ low 30s in the morning and they were comfortable.

    And I too, have robust hens.

    Good luck
  6. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress

    Sep 6, 2007
    spring hill, florida
    if I lived in Michigan, I would be putting a red heat lamp 250 watt lamp hanging over the roost. Why be cold if you don't have to be?
    When I lived in New York, my rooster moved himself in with the horses.

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