How cold is TOO cold for a chicken?

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

  1. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    Mine seem to vary....some days they will go out in it, especially if its sunny...some days they like to stay in the coop. I've been taking advantage of this coop time, as it seems to encourage my birds to turn their bedding by scratching around more.

    I have bought some whole corn and scattered it around on top of the bedding to encourage this and it seems to do the trick....their scratching keeps the bedding dry and fluffy and gives them something to do while in the coop. As freerange birds, they seem to get so much scratch time outside that they don't normally scratch up the litter as much as I would like. Now, though, it saves me from having to turn it!
  2. litredhen

    litredhen Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 29, 2008
    Hey basicliving,
    maybe someone else mentioned this but we used hay bales to build an extra wall around the coop. And I might stick a bale on top too.
    -in vt
  3. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    I think I may have an answer to the 'how cold is too cold...' question, for my hens.

    It appear to be a chill factor of -23 Celsius. During yesterday's blizzard the exterior temperature was -11C, chill factor -23C and the interior of the insulated coop dropped to -1C. Winds peaked at 80 Km/h. They peeked out, snuck treats from the blue plastic bowl on the outdoor platform, and want back inside. We had our first water crystals on the waterer in the coop, so now they have their winter water container.





    Last edited: Dec 10, 2008
  4. blueseal

    blueseal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 3, 2008
    i live up here in maine never had any problems with my chickens being cold as long as they stay dry they should be fine
  5. friendlyearth

    friendlyearth Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 16, 2008
    near Olympia, wa
    Has anyone ever used heat tape to make like a heater (using pipe or sheet metal) in the chicken coop? We are in for some cold days and worried about the chickens. Last year we had one get really cold and she ended up living in the house for a few days. I would like to avoid that this year.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2008
  6. BJ

    BJ Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 20, 2007
    My husband made something for our coop based on an article in Backyard Poultry. He took a ceramic flowerpot and saucer, a porcelain light bulb socket, a lamp cord/plug, and a light bulb. He wired the socket, placed it in the ceramic saucer and inverted the flowerpot over the saucer. You will need to experiment with different wattages based on the size of the flowerpot (a small pot will take 20 or 40 watt...larger will be 60-75 watt). Plug it in for a while...if it is too hot, then lower the wattage. Once you have determined the correct bulb, then use heat resistant tape to tape the saucer and pot together.

    I plug this in on really cold days and we call it "the fifth chicken" (we have 4 chickens). It is like a big chicken that emits heat. The girls will cluster around it on really cold days.

    This was in the February/March 2008 Backyard Poultry Magazine in an article called "Cheap Tricks for Winter's Challenges"
    Here is a link to the magazine.
  7. thechickenchick

    thechickenchick Born city, Living country

    Mar 8, 2008
    Eaton, Colorado
    Morning! Its 23 below zero here today. That is without the wind chill. It was a slight bit warmer yesterday , about 8 below. I opened the pop door about mid afternoon. No way were they having any part of that! [​IMG] So took them some warm oatmeal and closed it back up. Even the coop kitty didn't want to come out. She's no dummy, she has the warmest bed on the farm! Have a great day everyone and stay warm. [​IMG]
  8. sunnydee

    sunnydee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 17, 2008
    Quote:I live in Maine as well and with an insulated coop they seem to be doing fairly well. I am a little worried about their combs (BO's and Leghorns here). I had NO idea what I was getting into when my daughter said...ahhhh...aren't those baby chicks cute! So..I had NO idea about cold tolerant breeds and what to look for.

    I do have a red heat lamp in there, but only run from sunset (which is around 4:00 p.m.) to about 8:00 pm. Then we go out to them...line them all up on their roost and say good night and turn the light off. So far so good..but was sure cold out last night! Brrrrrrr!! Their water dish is freezing solid at night but I get up before them and change it out with some nice warm water. If it is real cold during the day I will leave the heat lamp on and pointed towards their water. Seems to work well and keeps if from freezing on them during the day.
  9. Chick_a_dee

    Chick_a_dee Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2008
    Peterborough, ON
    Aha, don't be TOO worried so long as you're well draft proofed and perhaps insulated, mine were okay at -25 C with a windchill over that LOL though I must admit, a few were shivering in their little chicken booties the next morning because I was late with the corn for them.

    Otherwise, they've been fineeeeee, and they DO have a bit of a draft coming from the front door because I haven't had time to put the rest of the door stop up lol. Their roost is out of the line of fire though.

    And to get mine outside on that chilly day? I put hay down in the run, scattered corn, and it was a freeforall! ... I have a light that turns on at 5am to 8am and then 4pm to 6pm, it's only a 100 Watt white bulb and purely for light as the day is awfully short here now. Sun doesn't come up until almost 8, and goes down around 4pm!
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2008
  10. spookyevilone

    spookyevilone Crazy Quail Lady

    Oct 5, 2008
    Quote:One thing I have seen up in that area is rectangle straw bales stacked around the coop in winter for added insulation. My grandparents lived up that'a way and never heated the coop but did stack the spare straw up around it.

    We did lose a batch of.. I'm going to call them White Leghorns because they were huge, white, single comb beasties - to winter once.

    We set the sprinkler too close to the coop in summer and the chickies liked it, so we'd play with them with the hose and sprinkler. In winter, we got a horrible sleet storm and the dumb birds ran out into it to play. We went out and chased them all into the coop and shut the chicken flap, but they were all dead the next morning. Probably exposure.


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