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How cold is too cold?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by BarefootMom, Jan 12, 2011.

  1. BarefootMom

    BarefootMom Songster

    Jul 20, 2010
    Half Way, Missouri
    Today I didn't let the chickens out of the hen house. We usually free range, but yesterday when I opened the door they came out and ran under the trucks and the camper huddled together. It is even colder today, so I just gave them fresh water and shut the door back up (they have food). It 7 degrees with a wind chill of -5 and it is snowing still. They haven't been laying, some are molting, and some just quit laying. 2 of my BR started laying again last week and 1 RIR never stopped- so out of 19 hens I am getting 3 eggs a day.

    Here is their pic coming out yesterday:

    and the day before:


  2. darkmatter

    darkmatter Songster

    Jul 10, 2009
    I do the same. On the really cold bad weather days, I make sure they have plenty of fresh water and extra food/scratch to keep them busy turning over the deep litter while they're shut in for the day. I have gone as many as 3 to 4 days before I let them out when we were in a blizzard. They do like getting out once I open the Pop door again.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    It was single digits here this morning. I opened the pop door and run gate as usual. It was about 10 degrees Fahrenheit when I opened it up. They were out roaming around as usual. We had a light dusting of snow, but the ground was not totally covered. There wasn't any wind either. They don't like wind.
  4. Judy

    Judy Crowing Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I wouldn't close them up unless there was a really hefty storm in progress. Give them the choice to go out and hide; at least under the truck is something different from the coop, more to see. If you open the door and they go out, they don't need to be locked in. I just don't like the idea of closing them up, other than maybe a few days a year if the winds are high, etc.
  5. LOST Chick Heather

    LOST Chick Heather In the Brooder

    Jul 10, 2010
    I locked mine in yesterday, at least for the beginning part of the day. Then gave them the option for the second part of the day but the choose to stay in. We had a huge N'oreaster and got dumped with around 20" of snow. I checked on them frequently and fed them lots of treats. When I would check them it would seem like they were trying to snuggle with me.

    They hate days like that. But I did get 3 eggs from my 6 gals laying yesterday.

    The only other time I've locked them in the coop was during the day after Christmas snowstorm. The winds that day were terrible. They hate the wind but don't seem to mind the cold so much.

    Our coop isn't completely airtight either and the blowing snow during big storms gets into some of the crevices that usually allow the coop to breathe.

    I can't wait till winter is over!
  6. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Songster

    Feb 4, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    "...so out of 19 hens I am getting 3 eggs a day..."

    Um, what is 7F in centigrade then? When we were at -12C a few weeks ago I was getting 2 or 3 eggs a day from 14 hens. Their water kept freezing solid and I was told by a few local long time chicken keepers that it was probably that rather than the extremely low temperature that would most affect their egg production.
  7. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:As soon as its been light for awhile, I am letting both of my flock out to free range. There's snow on the ground still and according to weather.com it's 14 degrees outside. The chickens much prefer being out.

  8. Talihofarms

    Talihofarms Songster

    Dec 4, 2010
    I'm up here on the N. II/Wis border. We never use heat in the coops but the birds have the ability to go out in the day.

    On the real cold days, around 18 or less they will stay inside. When it gets very cold in less than 24 hrs , from an average temp with a temp. swing of 20 deg they will stop laying, then start back up several days later.

    Winter is prety much hit or miss , depending on the breed and other factors such as molt, bird age etc,,, they tend to lay less.

    just my .02
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Quote:7F is -14 C.

    Lack of water will stress them and cause a drop in egg production, but then so can the cold weather. That is somewhat breed dependent. My production seems to drop a bit with cold weather, but not much. I do keep thawed water to them. There are some benefits to being retired and available.
  10. karimw

    karimw Songster

    Apr 7, 2010
    Eastern IA
    It was -2 F this morning when I did chores. My chickens were as excited about breakfast as ever and seem to be dealing with it far better than me [​IMG] I guess I need a down coat too! Mine mostly stay in, but if the sun is out and the wind is mild they will come out through the cat door no matter how cold. I have 16 layers and have only been getting 2-6 eggs a day since November. I think laying rates have more to do with daylight length than temp? I got 6 yesterday and the high was 18. It is supposed to be cold(er) for the next few days so I guess we'll see [​IMG]

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