How cold is too cold for chickens?

bison

In the Brooder
10 Years
Oct 2, 2009
60
2
31
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?
 

bison

In the Brooder
10 Years
Oct 2, 2009
60
2
31
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.
 

Chicken Fruit

Songster
10 Years
Feb 25, 2009
1,507
12
173
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.
 

joletabey

SDWD!!!!
10 Years
Apr 9, 2009
4,266
10
221
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.
 

Wildsky

Wild Egg!
12 Years
Oct 13, 2007
11,967
46
336
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.
 

bison

In the Brooder
10 Years
Oct 2, 2009
60
2
31
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!
 

Judy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
34,024
597
448
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.
 

bison

In the Brooder
10 Years
Oct 2, 2009
60
2
31
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.

hoop_house2.jpg
 

Wildsky

Wild Egg!
12 Years
Oct 13, 2007
11,967
46
336
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
gig.gif
)

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.
 
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