How cold is cold?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by christine in al, Dec 19, 2010.

  1. christine in al

    christine in al New Egg

    Nov 15, 2010
    We have our brand new three beautiful Red Dorkings. We have a 2x6 coop. It will eventually be a tractor. w are having unusually cold weather . Our birds are old enough to be sexed, but aren't mature yet. Does any one have an idea of when we should supplement heat? It's a fairly tight coop, but has one gable open for ventilation. At what temperature would you add heat?
  2. bock

    bock Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 10, 2008
    Northern CA
    It really depends on how much protection they have from the elements, the temperature, and how feathered out they are. I really couldn't tell you w/out knowing these things.
  3. christine in al

    christine in al New Egg

    Nov 15, 2010
    They are almost mature birds. The coop has a 2x6 floor , is 2 ft tall, plus a gabled roof, has two sealed windows, one gable is closed, one is covered with wire. They will be very protected from the elements.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2010
  4. christine in al

    christine in al New Egg

    Nov 15, 2010
    As I've looked around at other post about heat source.. I think our birds will be fine unless it gets below freezing.
    We'll make a plan?
  5. Rivers

    Rivers Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 3, 2010
    I got my birds only a week ago. I think 3 are 5months old and one is about 3-4months. It has been around -5Âșc for the past 3 days. I heavily ventilated the coop after skimming pats article, but I later realised I overdid it when I left a bowl of water in the coop overnight and it froze. So I closed the very large opening a little and covered the inside with bubblewrap.
    Im new to this, so dont know how much the cold bothers them. They seem to sleep fine, but are a little reluctant to run around in the day but it might be because everything is covered in deep snow. I let them free range in a decent size garden with grass & plants but they keep coming back near the house or hiding under the coop which is on concrete paving.

    My brown hyline is the worst, only comes out for one feed but then hides for the rest of the day. Today she stayed under the coop when the others came inside when it went dark. Like I say, not sure what to make of it. None of them seem ill.
  6. swimmer

    swimmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 17, 2010
    They don't need heat if they are protected from the elements. We've had well below zero here and no problems. Their down feathers keep them warm.
  7. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I would add heat about 25 below zero. Really.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 19, 2010
  8. rcentner

    rcentner Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 6, 2009
    Le Roy, NY
    I dont add heat and it gets below zero around here, but my coop is insulated. I had a non insulated coop last winter and they did fine, it got pretty cold there for a while and I did get some frostbite cause my ventilation could have been better. (

    keep it ventilated and water unfrozen and you should be fine with no supplemental heat.
    they will look cold, but live...I am always afraid to heat the coop and have it catch on fire. Cold birds are way better than dead birds in a burned down coop. You can give them nice warm treats too and they like the warm water
  9. CARS

    CARS Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm in the No heat camp. Had chickens for 5-6 years now. I have had frostbite on some Leghorn combs years ago, but that was before I knew there were cold hardy breeds with pea and rose combs.
  10. superchemicalgirl

    superchemicalgirl HEN PECKED

    Jan 10, 2010
    Vacationland, Maine
    No heat is necessary. Just make sure they have an area they can snuggle into that's not drafty. Your roost should be a 2x4 with the wide end up to allow them to cover their cold toes. Chickens are very hardy.


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