How to winterize chickens...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by sevenbabychicks, Nov 20, 2010.

  1. sevenbabychicks

    sevenbabychicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 9, 2010
    Saint Paul, MN
    Hey all,

    So I just couldn't wait until spring and got a box of chicks on September 1st. I assumed that the coop'd be finished and it'd be warm enough to introduce them to the great outdoors in late October. Well, here we are in November and the coop's just now getting done, the temps are in the teens, and I still have 7 chickens under the stairs in my living room. I throw them out in the yard whenever I can, but they're clearly miserable away from their cushy digs. They puff up and sit by the door until I relent and let them in.

    Any tips about getting young housechooks winterized? While it's very nice listening to their contented noises while reading a book by the fire, it's hard to imagine having half a dozen full grown chickens in my house all winter. The possibility of returning from work to find their barricade down and poop all over the house is a constant looming (and occasionally realized) threat. Help!
     
  2. Cargo

    Cargo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 28, 2010
    Farmington, NM
    lock them in the new coop for a few days so they start thinking of it as home.
     
  3. abhaya

    abhaya Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 5, 2010
    cookeville, tn
    I agree they need to think of the coop as home as long as they are fully feathered they shoulddo fine out in the coop. You want to get them out before it gets really cold so they can ajust
     
  4. Montana-Hens

    Montana-Hens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 20, 2008
    Buxton, Montana
    Hope you got those chicks out and adjusted because sounds like life going to turn ugly for those of us in SW Montana. I can see a few days coming up when they won't even want to leave the coop.
     
  5. cw

    cw Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2009
    green co.
    With your all temps bein as cold as they are it wouldnt hurt for them to have a heat lamp of some sort, make sure they have no drafts in the coop and plenty of water, if some one told more chickens die in the winter from dehydration then anything else, i would probably believe that
     
  6. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    It may not be the warmth they want, it may be the food, treats and people attention. You need to get them used to the outdoors now, as they feather faster when in the cold. Indoors, they may never grow the winter coat they need. I'd feed them outdoors only, also give treats outdoors only. Maybe try a hanging cabbage or suet block or some such, outside. Chickens should not need a heat lamp even in your climate, but yours might do better with one this first winter. However, heat lamps burn a lot of coops down every year, so secure it well, be sure they can't get at it, and be sure there is enough ventilation to keep the dust down.
     
  7. sevenbabychicks

    sevenbabychicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Saint Paul, MN
    Thanks for all the great tips! I can't believe it's gotten so cold here so soon. My coop's basically a strawbale structure, so will be really well insulated but extremely combustible. The idea of putting a heatlamp in there freaks me out, but I was thinking of heating up a big, dense rock and sticking it in the coop at night while the birds are getting adjusted. However, I just read a post on here about a fellow Montanan's young chickens dying because of the weather.... and they even had a heatlamp. Scary!
     
  8. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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    South Georgia
    Your heated rock or any kind of heat sink is a really good idea. A black 5 gallon bucket out in the sun all day works too.

    Haven't seen the thread about the Montana chicks dying. Wonder what the details were.... Yours really should be old enough.
     
  9. squiqwe

    squiqwe Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 16, 2010
    Cortland,Ohio
    I think their to young to try and winterrize. If I'm correct their only 13 weeks old. I would not expose them to temps no lower than mid 40's[​IMG]
     
  10. sevenbabychicks

    sevenbabychicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    At 13 weeks are they not fully feathered yet? At what age should they be able to tolerate single digit temps?
     

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