How cold is too cold?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by galaxy, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. galaxy

    galaxy In the Brooder

    Jul 22, 2013
    Quick question for all you BYC-ers in southeast Wisconsin. How cold is too cold for my two hens? They sleep in our unheated garage at night. I'm thinking of hanging a thermometer in there and can run a space heater or heat lamp. Help!

  2. aoxa

    aoxa Crowing

    Don't... You will do more harm than good with a space heater. Those should NEVER EVER be left unsupervised.

    Chickens have been living thousands of years without heat sources all over the world. If you have breeds that are made for your area (winter hardy) all you have to do is provide a dry, draft free coop, unfrozen water, bedding under their feet and food. That's it.
  3. bullsie

    bullsie In the Brooder

    Nov 11, 2013
    I agree, no space heater. I don't have a thermometer, I just go by the water pan. A little ice on the pan is fine. If it puts a heavy layer on, then I worry about my birds combs. Since you have two hens - more birds keep themselves warm - and daylight they do quite fine in the cold as they mill about and they keep warm that way. When it does get cold enough to really freeze their water source, I tuck them into nesting boxes with a flap over them at night after they roost. I use a burlap sack - towel or rag will suffice - and hang it over the opening of the nesting box, but not completely covering it, leaving the bottom edge above the setting box lip. That way in the morning they can come out on their own. This small space conserves heat and prevents any freezing of combs, wattles, toes.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    They need to be allowed to acclimate to the cold and they'll do fine.

    If you heat the coop then they won't want go outside, they won't grow nice thick feathering and if your power goes out depriving them of the that you've made them accustomed to, it could be devastating.

    Ventilation is the key to deterring frostbite, just make sure there's not a direct draft on the roost area.
    Make sure the moisture from their breath, feces and waterers can exit the coop keeping the environment nice and dry.

    We are cold, if we're not wearing our down coats, but the chickens are not.

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