How cold is too cold?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by albodean, Nov 30, 2016.

  1. albodean

    albodean Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 27, 2016
    Hi All,

    I live in the U.K. (West midlands) and have 3 Light Sussex pullets.

    Today the weather was at -4/-5 degrees c for the majority of the morning/early afternoon and the ground was frozen.

    I didn't notice any of them acting differently apart from eating more food, which I assumed was because they couldn't find many bugs etc on the floor. But they did seem to have red feet, especially one of them, like people get when they get cold.

    Is this an issue that I need to address or are they able to cope with it?


  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs I Wanna Be A Cowboy Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    If their feet are cold they will sit on them to warm them up. I've seen red feet on roosters which is a sign of being healthy and in good breeding conditions. I wouldn't worry too much, chickens are very cold hardy and suffer more in hot weather than cold. You can always provide some sort of bedding for them to stand on so they aren't standing on bare ground when it gets really cold.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    They eat more in winter because f lack of forage and because they use up more calories to stay warm.

    The red feet could be the cock/erel streaking mentioned by OHLD or could be from the cold...can you post a pic?

    As long as they have ample coop space(not crowded) to get in away from wind/rain/snow and off the cold ground, I wouldn't be concerned.
  4. albodean

    albodean Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 27, 2016
    Thanks for the replies.

    I haven't got a picture of her feet I'm afraid. Although after you both have said it's common with cock birds, I'm now worried that my pullet might be a cockerel! Always thought her comb was abit big and she makes more noise than the other 2... I've attached a picture of her/him... pullet or cockerel? She/he is 24 weeks old.

    Last edited: Dec 1, 2016
  5. I would wager it is a Cockerel......The temps outside are fine.....

  6. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    The red in the feet can be caused by hormonal shifts. Happens to most of my birds just before molting, and sometimes to pullets that are just about to start laying. Once they finish molting, their feet go back to normal. And that Sussex is a pullet, very close to laying.
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    My white skinned birds tend to get the red/bright pink color from time to time. In the winter I believe it's simply increased blood flow. Kind of like a fair skinned person blushing. Blood flow is what keeps us warm, so it just made sense to me. No science to back that up, just my nursing background and observation of my birds over the years.
  8. brummie

    brummie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 30, 2013
    I'm from midlands too. It has been quite cold around here last couple of days, but don't worry the chickens will be fine. My Sussex is molting and she's coping fine. Even my leghorns are fine too and I've even had baby chicks in this weather out there with mother hen, all growing up absolutely fine, healthy and active. I don't think it'll ever get cold enough in the midlands for us to worry too much. Minus 4 or 5 celcius is no problem for them so long as at night there is no direct wind blowing on them and they are not wet. I'd probably be a little concerned at minus 10 but would probably only do something about it at minus 12. But I don't think we've ever been below minus 7 have we?
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    That's interesting...Wellie and Brahma (maybe they are yellow skinned?) never noticed girls but Wellie cock can get red streaks.
    I don't worry until minus F's here, even then they've been fine, which would be minus 17 to 18C.

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