INTERIOR ALASKA CHICKENS

Discussion in 'Where am I? Where are you!' started by shabbychix, Aug 5, 2013.

  1. shabbychix

    shabbychix Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 10, 2013
    I'm still a "New Egg" and I love BYC! It has already helped me in so many different ways - I am a relatively "new" chicken person (1 yr) with chicken questions that require opinions from chicken owners who live in -60 conditions at times. This is a dramatically different scenario from an "Oh, my temps got below freezing, what do I do" kind of reality. Not trying to be condescending, please understand. I WISH I could say that. But reality at -50+ for weeks is different.

    Let's share how we survive with our chickens at -60. How do we keep them busy/entertained/fed/warm/laying.
     
  2. Rich386

    Rich386 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 21, 2011
    Live Oak, FL
    I am in north FL but get a lot of questions about freezing water. I will be paying close attention to how you guys solve that problem.
     
  3. shabbychix

    shabbychix Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 10, 2013
    I've heard others (who have electricity) say that they use a heated dog bowl or some kind of heat pad under their waterer. Being off the grid, I built a well insulated coop with essentially 8" of insulation in walls, floor and ceiling. Even so I ran the generator quite often, especially at night, when it was below 30 below. I used a red heat lamp and had to be careful not to get it too warm in there, thereby creating condensation on the walls. Last winter was a real learning experience for me. I tried to keep it in the 40's and they seemed fine with that. A couple times it got down to 28 and the water had a thin layer of ice on it but they just pecked through it. Of course I removed the ice.

    One of the tricks is to have enough birds for a good amount of body heat. I heard that from many people so I did that but my chickens didn't like almost 5 months of total confinement. At least that is why I think they started picking each other. Locals say last year was an unusually long/cold winter. Hope they're right and the one coming up is shorter and not soooo cold. But then, I live in Alaska!
     
  4. Rich386

    Rich386 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Live Oak, FL
    Of course this does not compare to you but I do get a freeze. Here is a sketch of my system. The only thing it doesn't show is a Little Giant fountain Pump. The pump circulates the water from the pail through the nipple run and back. Since there is less than a gal. of water, I think that a bird bath heater would add enough heat to keep it thawed where you are. The other thing is the horizontal nipples don't have water in them to freeze. The only part in contact with the water is the back of the pin and that water is moving.

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  5. shabbychix

    shabbychix Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 10, 2013
    This looks like a great system to me, and others may find that it will help them with their water freezing issues, but, I am off-grid. No way could I keep water circulating 24/7. Thanks for the info!

    I would like to hear from people who have solved the condensation build-up in their coops when the outside temp is below -20. How do you have adequate ventilation without losing precious heat?
     
  6. shabbychix

    shabbychix Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 10, 2013
    Anyone try having chickens, like, attached to their house? I mean, sharing heat?
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2013
  7. shabbychix

    shabbychix Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 10, 2013
    Well, it's been about a year since my last post. I lived off-grid at that time and did learn much regarding chickens and low temps/confinement. Living in the Interior, it was not unusual for temps to reach -30 degrees to -60 degrees. It was a challenge for sure. I did get majorly discouraged about keeping chickens.

    I started out with Buckeyes .. a breed bred for colder temps (pea combs) and dual purpose. They did terribly for me. I fed them only organic everything, tried to make "entertainment treats" for them throughout the winter. Had a light on in the coop for at least 10 hours each day. And they did continue laying throughout the winter. But they pecked each other bloody. And they would just "die". I would go into the coop and find one dead. Not pecked ... more, but just dead. So I lost about 10 out of the 24 from "natural causes". Meaning unknown to me.

    There were one or three that were at the bottom of the list and I made them my "pets". I partitioned an area off in my laundry room/entry area and they were very happy there. Throughout the summer I let them free-range outside and they would come in when I called them or when they needed to lay an egg. They provided endless hours of entertainment for my cats and my small dog soon learned that they were not to be trifled with, outside.

    Then my son and daughter-in-law got pregnant with their first child and it was time for me to return to Fairbanks. I kept just the three "pet" chickens but one died during the winter, the next this spring. I got another "companion" chicken for the other but she died just about a month ago. Gave the "companion" chicken back to the wonderful people who gave her to me.

    So that is the end of my Buckeye experiment. I have two theories. One is that they needed a rooster. Does that resonate with anyone? I mean, does a rooster keep the dominant hens in check so that they don't try to massacre the others? The other theory is that they may be wonderful chickens but they do not do well with six months confinement.

    I did research on square footage for the coop, had a great roosting area and nesting area. It is all a dilemma to me but I am getting the hankering for more chickens and do not want to make the same mistakes. I do live "in the hills" outside Fairbanks so the lowest temps would be -20 or -25 that I will have to deal with. What a break!

    If you have experience with chickens in very cold climates or IN THE INTERIOR, I would love to hear how you have figured your chicken situation out!
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  8. HexHinton

    HexHinton Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 23, 2013
    Salcha, Alaska
    I'm not sure if you're still wanting chickens, but I may be able to help a little. I'm outside Fairbanks (Salcha) and this will be my third year with laying hens. Let me know if you're still looking for info.
     
  9. shoebox87

    shoebox87 New Egg

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    I live up in fairbanks and am going to try raising chickens this year. I haven't attempted it in alaska before and am very interested in any advice someone may have.
     
  10. shabbychix

    shabbychix Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 10, 2013
    You are the last post on my thread. Thank you!

    It has been about a year since my last post. Yes, my last two chickens died, I think from eating insulation but am not sure. But I never could get the "need for chickens" out of my mind.

    I seem to really have a THING for chickens. Sooo... I am starting again. This time I have chosen Icelandic chickens. Did some research and bought 6 chicks from a man in Palmer. Was supposed to be 18 but I guess he ran out .during the spring or his hens did not come through for him.

    If anyone has Icelandics in the Interior I would love to hear from you. They are supposedly quite hardy, a little smaller, can fly, and are broody, their DNA is 97% unlike any other chicken! Every chick/chicken is differently colored. INTERESTING BREED! Especially if you are interested in raising chickens naturally(without an incubator).

    The man I bought them from said that 1 day after they are hatched they can be with the whole flock if with their moms and will be safe. Especially draft/wind hardy/tolerant and moisture hardy/tolerant.

    I am in Fairbanks but the Chicks are going to even colder territory soon. Love to hear from fellow Chicken Lovers!

    Keeping warm off-grid? Rocket-stoves??????
     

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