How cold is to cold?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by J&J's Girls, Dec 2, 2011.

  1. J&J's Girls

    J&J's Girls In the Brooder

    Nov 26, 2011
    Hi all, here in New Mexico were are at the begining of a cold snap. Tonight the temp is dipping in the low 20's, which I'm not to worried about. However, tomorrow nights low is 2. I have 3 hens whose sleeping quaters are roughly 4ft wide, 2ft deep, 2ft tall. No heat lamp. I installed a thermometer inside it to tell me the temp when they are all in and sleeping. I have read up on this topic in the Learning Center and have discovered many different answers, from 20 is to cold to they can handel into the negitives. My 3 girls are a Red, Barred Rock and an Australorp. All say they are hardy breeds for harsh winters. So, What is to cold? Both outside and inside the coop?

  2. J&J's Girls

    J&J's Girls In the Brooder

    Nov 26, 2011
    Also, what could I use for insulation that they wont peck at? the coop is made with 1/2 plywood and draft free.
  3. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Crowing

    Feb 28, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    I'm in NY and I have no insulation. Where you are I would suspect you wouldn't need any either.
  4. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    If you're talking survival, many will attest to the breeds you have, if in a draft free shelter, if healthy, and if properly acclimated, surviving deep into the negatives temperature-wise.
    Add lots of dry bedding. Do make sure you have some ventilation available so moisture (from respiration and droppings) won't build up.

    eta: Chickens will peck at any type of insulation you put up - it always has to be covered with something. You can do a sort of external insulation by stacking hay/straw bales up along the coop walls (outside)...maybe along the prevailing wind side???
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2011
  5. AlienChick

    AlienChick Songster

    Apr 9, 2010
    Glasgow, KY
    Yeah, you have cold hardy breeds; they can handle temps into the negatives.

    At night inside the coop they will huddle together if they think they're too cold.

    Just make sure they are not sitting in front of drafts (good thing your coop is draft free), and make sure they do not get wet.

    If you notice humidity inside the coop, increase the air circulation.

  6. GoldDogsMom

    GoldDogsMom Songster

    Aug 10, 2011
    Indiana, PA
    2 questions for you, how old are your chickens and how long have they been outside?

    I moved my girls (now 13 wks old) out at 5 wks. They have adapted well to the changing temps. I am in western PA so we have had some pretty cold nights here already. As long as yours have been outside acclimating to the changing temps they should be fine. It easily got down into the single digits here last winter and my older girls had no problem surviving in an unheated coop.
  7. Stacykins

    Stacykins Crowing

    Jan 19, 2011
    Escanaba, MI
    My Australorp was just digging around in the snow for grass to peck was 9 degrees this morning, not counting wind chill. She acts like it is no big deal. You're chooks will be fine!

  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Forget cold.
    Adequate ventilation year round and summer heat are much bigger issues and not dealt with will kill chickens. Cold doesn't.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2011
  9. J&J's Girls

    J&J's Girls In the Brooder

    Nov 26, 2011
    The hens range from 5 months to 8months. They are shielded from our westernly winds by a cinderblock wall. the coop has a small entrance for them to enter that I close at night, but I drilled holes in it to allow ventalition. They have been outside since each was a month old or so. And the summers here are brutal I have screen inserts for the hot months to allow the breeze to move through. They all are chipper and playing around the yard, like usual. We only had one night last year in the neg's. It was -7. If its that cold I might put the heat lamp out there. Thanks guys.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2011
  10. keckels

    keckels Chirping

    May 30, 2011
    Thanks for the straw idea. We have 25 mph winds & 6" snow possible tomorrow.


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