how many chicks to keep each other warm in winter?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by BowChickaBowMow, May 27, 2008.

  1. BowChickaBowMow

    BowChickaBowMow Songster

    May 16, 2008
    Northern Michigan
    As half of my chicks are now looking like cockerels, if they get too agressive by fall they'll be culled. I think I only have 4-6 pullets, one definite leader cockerel... who's not mean.

    Will I need to try at another batch of sexed pullet chicks, so I can have some decent sized chicks to add to the bunch b4 winter? Or will that small amt. be able to keep each other warm? BTW... i'm in Northern MI. Pretty darn cold up here.

  2. dacjohns

    dacjohns People Cracker Upper

    Adult chickens do pretty good in the cold if they are protected from drafts. Combs can get frost bite so check into breeds with small combs. I've read to use a 2X4 for a roost with the 4" side up for the birds to roost on. They will sit on more of the foot reducing the chance of frostbite to the feet.

    You will also want a heater for the water and maybe heat lamps. Artificial lighting can help to keep them laying.

    As far as the number of birds, you always need more. [​IMG]
    Last edited: May 27, 2008
  3. mmajw

    mmajw Songster

    Jan 31, 2008
    Well I guess you have to get more hens if half your chicks are Roos then you must have too many Roos for your ladies. Sounds like a good reason to get more.
    You should have no more than 10-15 hens per Roo.
  4. I bought 5 sex links expecting to lose one or two. If all five make it to the winter, the 4x4 coop I am told would be good, as they all keep each other warm. Of course in the warmer months they will be in the run. Would this be correct???
  5. morelcabin

    morelcabin Songster

    Feb 8, 2007
    Ontario Canada
    My neighbor, who is a bigtime chicken farmer lost more birds than ever before the year she decided to try using heatlamps during winter. The only place she puts the lamp NOW is over the water to keep it from freezing. The more birds in the coop the warmer they will be (without over crowding)
    Last edited: May 27, 2008
  6. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2008
    Birnamwood, Wisconsin
    I live in WI and it's gets pretty cold here too and what we are doing this year is getting a heated water bowl warmer and we are hanging a heat lamp or two next to the roosts. We also have our hen house VERY well insulated with extra thick insulation. Good luck with your flock!
  7. BowChickaBowMow

    BowChickaBowMow Songster

    May 16, 2008
    Northern Michigan
    Thanks for your replies. The coop is inside our pole barn, (steel building) it is insulated. the ground is cement, w/ pine shavings put down for litter. I'll get something for the water to keep it from freezing. It's a big enough coop to add more chicks [​IMG] but I wanted to wait 'til next Spring. So i was just curious if the small amount would be able to have enough body heat to keep each other warm.

    I did put their heat lamp in there last night (we had a freeze warning) but the head cockerel kept trying to land on it. Glad i went out and checked b/c he knocked it down on the ground.

    Also, they won't sleep on their roosts. They've only been in the coop a few nights now.... and the kids have even picked 'em up and put them on the roosts and pet them to get them comfortable w/ it. But they're not interested... so they slept on the cold floor. When they were in the house, in the kiddie pool, they slept on the edges of it. I'd feel better about them not freezing if they'd get up off the ground.

  8. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    How old are your chicks?

    Is the perch up too high?

    My young chicks (about 6 weeks) like to perch at about 1 foot high.
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:I was going to ask 'how big is your coop' (and I will, below [​IMG]) but what you say changes the playing field a good bit. Unless you leave your barn standing open (although of course you might if you have stock in there) it will really be quite a bit warmer in there, esp. at night, than the outdoor temperature.

    For comparison:

    Our winter night outdoor temps can get down to -25 F.

    My chickens are in a 15x40-ish drywalled-and-insulated concrete floored pole building, where with doors and windows closed the temperature does not get below 25 F (!) and even with ventilation it doesn't get *much* colder than that. (It does also have a coupla south-facing windows)

    My barn is 35x60-ish, concrete floor, sort of vaguely insulated downstairs but pretty drafty esp. up in the loft (doors kept closed during wintertime), never gets below 0 F.

    So, you may not have as much of a temperature issue as you think.

    That said, if you think you WILL (e.g. if it's a horse or cow barn and the doors stand open all day), build them a coop or 'roosting box' sized to the number of chickens, and well insulated (although also well ventilated).

    They'll be fine, honest [​IMG]


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