How cold is cold???

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by happychickengirls, Sep 17, 2010.

  1. happychickengirls

    happychickengirls In the Brooder

    Mar 21, 2010
    I am just wondering since I live in the Northeast and fall is here it is now getting cooler at night. My question is when do you actually
    have to close up the coop at night??? Temperature wise that is???? Right now I have a couple of little windows in the front that I leave open and I leave their poop door open at night since their coop is enclosed with hardware wire (pretty secure). I know they need ventilation and all but soon the nights will be getting alot colder. Are they basically okay till it gets really cold???
    I just got my girls in March so I havent had to go through any winters yet. If anyone can give me some insight on how their chickens
    managed through the winter that would be wonderful.

  2. they'reHISchickens

    they'reHISchickens Songster

    Oct 31, 2008
    I'd leave the coop open until the snow flies! There are some advocating having the south side of the coop open all year! SO long as there is a draft-free space for them to sit and stay out of the wind, they should be fine. Remember, the native birds manage quite well:)
  3. I believe it also depends on the breeds of chickens you have. Some are bred to be more tolerant of colder temps, where others are not. I would research the breeds you have first, and see if you can get an idea of what they are "supposed" to be able to tolerate. Still, every chicken is not always the norm of its breed. I live in the Northwest, so it doesn't get as cold as you, but we do get a few spells of very cold weather during the winter. Once it starts freezing outside is when I start to pay more attention to how my chickens are tolerating it. When temps do drop alot, make sure that you do check chickens' water daily to make sure it isn't frozen. They can dehydrate very easily that way. We had a really cold snap last year with the temps in the teens for over a week, so I put a heat lamp in my coop last winter, off to the side, as to not make the whole coop warm. I think it was more for my peace of mind more than anything else. I also had a chicken with a kidney infection at that time, so I was a little more worried. I have a 60 watt lamp on a timer in my coop now for egg production, and I think that will probably be sufficient for winter warmth as well... I'm hoping [​IMG]) How old are your chickens? That might play a role in how cold of temps they could tolerate.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2010
  4. woodmort

    woodmort Songster

    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    I have 5 windows in my coop--3 are regular house-type--the lower part of all 5 is wide open now and will remain that way until frost. At that time I'll raise the bottom up half way and lower the top to the same level. Once the snow flies I close the lower half and leave the tops open about 3 inches for ventilation. Right now we're getting close to 40 at night and our first frost date is about the 7th of Oct. I expect we'll get to 20 below by January. As far as current birds, see the info at the bottom of this post.
  5. greenmulberry

    greenmulberry Songster

    Jul 17, 2007
    I have a 5 foot by 8 foot coop. The roof is slanted with the east side being high and the west side low. There are 3 and a half inch wide vents running in the soffits on the east and west wides, a small window on the east wide, and a pop hole on the west side.

    When it gets into the mid 30's at night, I close the window. When it starts hitting the low 20s, I cover the east soffit vent by screwing a board over it.

    I tend to play it by ear as to whether I cover the west soffit vent. We had a warm winter last year, the coldest it got was -10F, and I never closed it. Previous winter we got down to -29, and when that was forcast, I covered almost all the west soffit vent, leaving a 2 inch gap for some ventilation.

    I never close the pop hole. The girls roost well above it so I don't think they get hit with any drafts from it. When I check on them art night they seem warm and cozy, all lined up on the roost. I have just typocal chickens, EE, buff orps, a barred rock.

  6. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    If you close all your windows and have no ventilation your birds might end up with frostbite from the dampness.
  7. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Also remember when it colder, animals need more feed. If they have enough feed and if it is really cold give them some high energy feed, like corn, animals can take quite a bit of cold. Some people feed the same amount of food all the time, but weather really does effect energy needs. MrsK
  8. woodmort

    woodmort Songster

    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    Yes--I regularly feed scratch to my birds in the winter--only time I do--since the grain, especially corn, adds fat for them to burn.

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