How cold is TOO cold for a chicken?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ChickenNOOB, Oct 15, 2008.

  1. momofdrew

    momofdrew Chillin' With My Peeps

    Today we have been having wind chill at about +9 & sun is out and so are my birds...I have noticed that coop temp is over 10 degrees warmer than the outside temp at 7AM every morning and that is with only 4 birds... Coop is 3' x 4' x 4' tall the run is totally covered with plastic and I have straw around the outside of all...the weather has not effected my silkies one bit they are still taking dirt baths in their favorite shady spot and ranging all over the place...have started corn scratch don't know how much is too much though... They get some in AM and again just before roosting...
  2. basicliving

    basicliving Keepin' the sunny side up

    Mar 20, 2008
    Shenandoah Valley, VA
    Thanks for the reply, Victoria. Even at 25 degrees warmer, with those incredibly low temps, your coop gets as cold as the weather we are having here at night now. And our chickens pop out of the coop in the morning raring to go - so I guess they're doing better with these temps than I am.

    I don't plan to heat their coop - but I do think I should insulate it. I'm off to do a search for inexpensive ways to insulate. I think my husband will lay an egg if I mention spending much more money on that coop!

  3. BaronRenfrew

    BaronRenfrew Chillin' With My Peeps

    I can't beleive that you people put heat for chickens. Lets shovel some more coal into the furnace (adding to global warming) to make some electricity so you can feel warm and fuzzy that your chickens are warm. Save your money, get a heater for the waterer (unless of course you have small chicks). Or better yet do what I do the last 25 years. Fill an old cooking pot w water. They drink untill it freezes. Next day, use a hammer and tap the pot to break out the ice. repeat

    We have weeks of -30 Celcius (-20 F) and the birds stay in an uninsulated but draft free coop. Only birds i lost were to old age or the stew pot (or raccoons, but thats another story).

    Ducks and geese actually reduce the temp to their feet to just above freezing to save on heat. Chickens puff up.

    Save your money, save the planet, don't heat your chicken coop.
  4. DawnSuiter

    DawnSuiter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Heck, I just figured out yesterday after SCOURING through plentiful suggestions about how to keep the water drinkable, that I could BRING IT INSIDE OUR HOUSE AFTER THE CHICKENS GO TO BED, and take it back outside in the morning.

    problem solved for me [​IMG]
  5. SterlingAcres

    SterlingAcres Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 17, 2008
    Poconos, PA
    I'm in Northeastern PA. It's been dropping to the 20s with windchills making it feel about 5-8 degrees. My chooks seem to be fine so far without any heat. They're coop is vinyl sided and has the windows shut (minus the ventilation). Pretty much draft free. So far, so good.
  6. Portia

    Portia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 29, 2008
    South Central PA
    It has been below freezing the last couple nights here. The only reason I have a heat lamp on in the coop is for the chicks (9 weeks and 4 weeks). I'm not so worried about the 9 weekers, but I'm a bit more concerned about the 4 weekers. I've noticed that the coop, whether heated or not goes up on average 10 degrees when occupied by all the chickens. I've found that the chicks will huddle together in one of the nest boxes if they are cold...which at this point I don't mind b/c they are doing what they need to keep themselves warm. I'm hoping in the next couple weeks to be able to phase out the heat lamp unless it gets below 20.
  7. ams3651

    ams3651 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 23, 2008
    NE PA
    I put a heat lamp above the water last night. Yesterday morning when I went out the water was froze solid and I suspect it was that way since the evening before as they crowded around me and were trying to drink as I was pouring. I also bought plastic sheeting and sealed off the garage door on the front as I didnt realize till yesterday how drafty it was. Its in the 20's now and snowing, I went out at 8am and the water was flowing and it was warm enough I didnt see my breath. I dont have the lamp on all night, I got a timer and set it from 11p-3a and 7a-9a. And yes I secured it so it wont come down. They seemed much happier this morning. As for insulation, when I made my coop (half of a shed already there) I bought a roll of R-19 I think, it was only $10 a roll. And only insulated the outside wall on their half of the shed. Its got vinyl siding but only plywood underneath. That wall gets the wind off the field and thats why I put it up.
  8. Mrs MIA

    Mrs MIA Chick Magnet

    Mar 3, 2008

    NOW y'all are getting it! [​IMG]
    I have 6 week old chicks, and they are not fully feathered on their backs. They LOOK fully feathered, but if you look under their wings they only have fuzz. These are staying in the garage until 8 weeks. Now, my 8 week old chick IS fully feathered, and so in a couple of weeks all of the chicks will be turned out to the coop. Yes, even at the temps we have. Since the coop is insulated and draft free, they should be fine. I just keep an eye on them, and look for signs of stress and pull them back inside if they seem to be too cold.

    We are definitely affected more by the low temps and the wind than the chickens are. Heck, I have to watch out for frostbite more than they do!

    As for the waterers, my chukars are all outside, no heat - just a box with straw to huddle in if it's too cold - and a rubber water dish. I save my old 1 gallon milk jugs for water, and take warm water out to them 2-3 times a day. I just turn the bowl over and step on it lightly to crack the ice out and refill. [​IMG] In the breeders coop we have heat tape on the watering system (drinking cups) and that keeps the line from freezing. First thing in the morning, if they've left any water in the cups, that will be frozen. But once I pop out the ice, they work all day. The rest of the coop is insulated and draft free, but not heated. The bottom line? Everyone is fine, even my quail.

    *edited because I can't spell this early in the morning!... [​IMG])
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2008
  9. mksenoj

    mksenoj Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 12, 2008
    UpState, New York
    I use heat lamp here in NY
  10. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

    Oct 13, 2007
    We were down to 5 degrees when I went to bed last night. right now its 20 and the chickens are all scratching around the yard.

    They really are FINE without heat.

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