It's freezing! Will they freeze?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ashley6388, Jan 22, 2016.

  1. ashley6388

    ashley6388 Out Of The Brooder

    29
    3
    24
    Jan 21, 2016
    Georgia
    So it rained all night and all day today. For some reason none of my hens took shelter. They're all wet. The temps have dropped now and its 25 degrees. I just checked on them and they're all roosting, but they're still wet.
    Will they be ok?
     
  2. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

    9,868
    2,839
    421
    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Chicken feathers are like down jackets. They insulate extremely well against freezing temps as long as air is trapped among the feathers. Do you have a down sleeping bag or a down jacket? What happens when they get wet? They stop working, right?

    I had a friend who was camping and during the night, his down bag got wet from a sudden rain, but he was so sound asleep it didn't wake him. He froze to death.

    That is what may happen to your chickens if their feathers aren't dry enough to insulate them against the below freezing temps.

    I would bring them in, one at a time, and blow dry them until you see the feathers are lofting again. It's the loft that traps air to insulate against the cold. Pick them right off the roosting perch and you can avoid hassle that way.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. ashley6388

    ashley6388 Out Of The Brooder

    29
    3
    24
    Jan 21, 2016
    Georgia
    Thank you!
     
  4. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    5,387
    915
    291
    Dec 25, 2012
    The old timers said that you could tell how long the rain would last by looking to see if the hens went to shelter. They went in if the rain was going to stop but styed out and foraged if the rain was due to continue
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2016
  5. ashley6388

    ashley6388 Out Of The Brooder

    29
    3
    24
    Jan 21, 2016
    Georgia
    Yeah the rain stopped. It turned to snow for about 2 hours, but now everything is calm.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    33,682
    6,777
    576
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Not sure the sleeping bag analogy is apt, tho it's true that a wet down sleeping bag is not warm.

    If you check underneath the wet feathers on your chickens, you may find that only the outermost feathers are soaked.
    Been thru this before, they looked like the proverbial 'drowned rats', but were toasty and dry under those outer feathers.

    Unless you have frizzlesilkiedizzles, the outer feathers on most chickens are pretty water resistant.
     
  7. ashley6388

    ashley6388 Out Of The Brooder

    29
    3
    24
    Jan 21, 2016
    Georgia
    They're cochins, so no frizzie fluffy feathers here lol.
    I'm about to go check on them so we'll see how they did.
     
  8. trudyg

    trudyg Chillin' With My Peeps

    352
    38
    119
    Jun 3, 2013
    Mine tend to stand out in the rain, dumb clucks. Their feathers shed the rain, I don't usually see them fluffing up in the rain, but once in the coop they fluff and shake off the drops. Mine look like the butt feathers got wet and froze, but they do fine. I make mine go into the coop early when it's wet and close them up so they can eat and drink and get dried off a bit before heading to roost. We had snow yesterday and they all stood out looking at it, it was funny when they tried to fly instead of stepping on it. Fine today, but it's still snowing and they just get into a sheltered spot out of the wind.
     
  9. ashley6388

    ashley6388 Out Of The Brooder

    29
    3
    24
    Jan 21, 2016
    Georgia
    I checked on them and they're all just fine. They were roosting still but were talking to each other so they weren't sleeping lol.
    I refilled their food and threw out some cracked corn for them and they all jumped down and got busy scratching and stuff.
    Their water had frozen though so when I gave them fresh water they all fought over it like they were thirsting to death lol.
     
  10. trudyg

    trudyg Chillin' With My Peeps

    352
    38
    119
    Jun 3, 2013
    my dopes wouldn't walk thru the snow to get to the heated water dish, just kept pecking at the ice in the other waterers. I put hot water in the top of the frozen ones and they lapped it up. I even stomped down the snow and made a path, but no they wouldn't walk over to it.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by