How to deal with the cold?

Phantom_k9

Chirping
Oct 29, 2019
191
155
96
North Texas
My Coop
Good Morning!

I'm sure this site has been / is about to get flooded with post about the cold, and unfortunately I have to contribute.

Winter is just now starting to come around, and I feel a bit underprepared. We usually just open the automatic doors to our coop, and just let our birds free range. In the past, regardless of hot or cold, rain or shine, they always seem to be able to find cover and go about their day in peace. We decided to do the same today, but they haven't left the coop and are all huddled together. Currently, we are sitting at 43 degrees, feels like 35, 19 mph north wind, raining for the next three days (with a high of 48 and a low of 39). I know that you are not supposed to give them supplemental heat unless it is absolutely necessary, but I felt that today defiantly meets that requirement. They were all together, and looked cold. Against my own fears, I replaced one of our lights with a heat bulb and made a "cage" out of scrap hardware cloth. I'll attach pictures. I don't know much about electricity, but should I have any reason to worry? I can go outside and get some measurements of the max wattage rated for the fixture and the bulb itself if I need to.

To make matters worse, one of our hens decided to leave the coop, and go outside. She probably got bullied out of the coop but she could have just wanted to brave the wilds. She found a spot out of the rain, but she still seems cold. Our Roo is out there watching over her, but I still don't know what to do. She is molting, and I don't want to pick her up, and I have online classes so I can't go out there and fortify her fort. We are looking for old rags and blankets, but I just need some advice / reassurances.

I know I sorta rambled, just worried and on a time crunch, about to go to class. Thanks in advance for any tips!
 

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Phantom_k9

Chirping
Oct 29, 2019
191
155
96
North Texas
My Coop
I will also try to get some pictures of our coop and make a thread about it. I have learned that helps a lot when asking questions on here, so I'll go do that when I get a break from school.
 

Phantom_k9

Chirping
Oct 29, 2019
191
155
96
North Texas
My Coop
As long as they are out of the elements, have a well ventilated coop and plenty of space and dry bedding, they’ll be fine. Dry chickens are warm chickens. Your hen outside is just fine as long as she can get out of the wind and rain.
In that case, they should be fine. I'll still check on them several times throughout the day just to make sure.
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
Nov 12, 2009
8,481
9,838
616
western South Dakota
The chance of a fire skyrockets with heat lamps. Seriously, my birds lived through -35 degrees several years ago. The temperature swings do not bother them like they do us. If they are eating, active, curious and bright eyed...they are fine.

Please turn off the lamp. Or maybe just turn it on for an hour or two, but don't leave it all night.

Mrs K
 

Phantom_k9

Chirping
Oct 29, 2019
191
155
96
North Texas
My Coop
The chance of a fire skyrockets with heat lamps. Seriously, my birds lived through -35 degrees several years ago. The temperature swings do not bother them like they do us. If they are eating, active, curious and bright eyed...they are fine.

Please turn off the lamp. Or maybe just turn it on for an hour or two, but don't leave it all night.

Mrs K
we ended up not going with the heat lamp for a different kind of heater. We don't plan to keep it on 24/7, but we want to use it to try and cut the cold. We have it secured onto the wall, so it should be fine. I just want to have something out there for when it dips below ~35
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
Nov 12, 2009
8,481
9,838
616
western South Dakota
The biggest problem with adding heat, is the tendency to try and keep the heat in the coop. People tend to close up the coop to keep it warm. I did myself in the beginning. It just seemed so cold.

Chickens NEED that ventilation much more than they need the heat. They need a place to get rid of the moisture in the coop. It is much, much more important to keep chickens dry and out of the wind, than it is to keep them warm. Until I quit trying to keep chickens warm, and started keeping chickens dry, they suffered some frostbite.

Mrs K
 

Eva2020

Chirping
Sep 6, 2020
78
91
53
here in new york its getting quite chilly at night. also has been raining quite a bit. My girls came out today but stayed in the part under the run most of the morning. We have an omlet coop that supposedly has great ventilation and insulation
 

NNYchick

Crowing
Jun 15, 2017
1,479
2,476
261
Harrisville, NY
Please don’t add heat they won’t acclimate to the cold, your not helping them. What we may perceive as them looking cold is them sitting puffed up in their little heat bubble they made by trapping body heat. It was 35 degrees in my coop today, I put in my down filled coop jacket and went and sat out in the coop with the chicken and I was comfortable.
 

Phantom_k9

Chirping
Oct 29, 2019
191
155
96
North Texas
My Coop
I wouldn't feel as if I had to if it weren't raining. If we open up the coop then they get wet, but if we don't then they get upset. With that, we have a hen who is still molting, and she has looked pitiful all day. I just want to give them some heat to get them through the night, I won't leave it on all night either.
 

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