How cold is too cold for chickens?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by bison, Oct 2, 2009.

  1. bison

    bison Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 2, 2009
    West Point, GA
    I have a coop that has an 8'x10' open area (no roof, just totally enclosed by chicken wire, above also) that butts up next to an old 6'x8' shed (now the hen house) that is totally open where it connects to the outdoor coop. I live in midwest Georgia. While the chickens can get out of the rain, their hen house is totally vulnerable to temperature change. Do I need to worry about "winterizing the hen house"? What temperatures can my 8 chickens withstand and still be happy?
     
  2. DianeB

    DianeB Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 12, 2009
    How could does it get in your area? Is there a lot of wind/rain/snow?

    DB
     
  3. bison

    bison Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 2, 2009
    West Point, GA
    No snow usually. The winters are pretty mild, but we'll have a couple of weeks cumulatively where it'll be below freezing during the night. I don't thing wind is a big factor, because where I have the coop it is pretty protected by brush and bushes.
     
  4. Chicken Fruit

    Chicken Fruit Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2009
    Echo Homestead
    I would buy some hay/straw bales and stack them up in the doorway- the area thats open to the run. Just make the doorway smaller.

    It depends on the breed of chickens you have, but so long as its not some sort of tropical bird they'd do fine. The nights in winter in georgia are so mild and cold nights so rare that you could just run out a heat lamp if a few night spell of well below freezing ever happened.

    Chickens are VERY hardy animals. They wear their own down coats. So long as theyre out of wind and drafts, and the wet they're just fine.
     
  5. joletabey

    joletabey SDWD!!!!

    Apr 9, 2009
    western NC
    My nerighbors chickens roosted in my unheated horse barn for most of last winter- it got down to 8 or 10 some nights- they snuggled up in the hay and were fine. I agree with the hay or straw bale idea, thought, make the doorway smaller and then put a few more bales in for them to sleep on- they will dig themselves nests in a loose enough bale.
     
  6. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

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    Oct 13, 2007
    California
    Is your coop just a fenced in area? No walls ?

    I would think you need to supply at least a three wall structure, with roof, at minimum.
     
  7. bison

    bison Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 2, 2009
    West Point, GA
    The coop that butts up to the shed (hen house) is a hoop house type that I built using two cattle panels and a 2x4 frame. It was extremely inexpensive to build. It was getting too wet in there with all of our recent rain, so I recently put some clear (opaque really) plastic over it, so only the front wall is open to rain but they still get most of the sunlight.

    I love the hay bale idea, Chicken Fruit. Thanks!
     
  8. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    No way you will need a heat lamp. Be sure the have a draft free area, so winds aren't blowing onto them on the roost, and rain also can't blow on them.

    The other problem you might have is condensation on the inside of the roof/cover. That will drip inside and wet the litter which can then easily get moldy.
     
  9. bison

    bison Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 2, 2009
    West Point, GA
    This is kind of what it looks like, although I don't have a pic of mine. On mine it is covered with that plastic and the back wall is totally open to the hen house.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

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    California
    Do they roost in the hen house/shed or? I'm confused with your wording - coop and hen house.

    By the sounds of it - there are no hens in your hen house (?) they live in the "coop" which is an open fence type structure covered with plastic?

    (I might need more pictures [​IMG] )

    Edit to add: my "coop" is the shed they live in. my "Run" is the open fence place where they have access and scratch around in the dirt during the day.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2009

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