Keeping hens in freezing temperatures... advice for a newbie please!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ghgirls, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. ghgirls

    ghgirls Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 26, 2009
    I'm brand new at this and need some advice! My 4 new laying hens and I live up in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, and it's flipping cold here at the mo! (16F and snowy) The girls are tucked up in their new house (it's an converted play-house, so they have plenty of space to play in there), they have the infra-red light on and they seem happy enough. They only moved in less than a week ago so the fact that they won't go outside or have laid no eggs yet isn't surprising me, I'm guessing that they'll take a little while to settle in ??? My real questions are; if I've left the red light on all night, and probably all of today if it doesn't get any warmer, will that affect their laying cycles/patterns? Will they sleep? And will they get enough hours of daylight... and will it hurt if I leave the windows and door closed to keep them warm, but thereby depriving them of natural light.???!
    Thanks for providing this site by the way, it's wonderful, and you're absolutely right, it's very addictive!
  2. little_grey_bantam

    little_grey_bantam Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 29, 2009
    Russell County
    We're in cold area too, but not as cold as you are... however, we have a coop and covering the coop is a heavy army blanket with about a six inch space in the bottom... the flock will push themselves out and it stays extremely warm in there... try that if you don't want to close the door and "force" them inside lol
  3. greenmulberry

    greenmulberry Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 17, 2007
    It got down to -29 here last winter. My girls have no supplemental heat, although I do have a heater for the waterer.

    My coop is totally draft free. It can be very windy outside, but there is no breeze inside. I didn't have any frostbite of evidence that the birds were unhappy. I would check on them and they would be all lined up and fluffy, but would jump down to greet me and seemed to be doing OK.

    I have fairly hardy breeds though, and they are all adults. No silkies or bantams, I have orpingtons and barred rocks and EE's.
  4. saladin

    saladin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2009
    the South
    You don't need that heat lamp when it is only 16F.

    Draft free is the key for lower temp areas.
  5. ghgirls

    ghgirls Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 26, 2009
    Blimey! These girls are hardier than I am eh?! I just went out to fix their pen and my toes are hurting from the cold... Really? I don't need to put the heat lamp on at 16 degrees?! And it's OK for the door to be open and have them outside? I'm an English bird living out here, so I'm not used to these temperatures! So how cold is too cold for them that I need to heat and worry? Thanks for all of your help by the way! Off for a cup of tea to warm up now![​IMG]
  6. chickensioux

    chickensioux Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2009
    Western North Carolina
    I had chickens in Memphis and moved to VT. I was worried about the climate change and how they would do in VT weather and my chicken vet told me they were going to do much better in VT than Memphis heat and would enjoy the colder weather. I just make sure they are out of the wind and keep their comb and waddles protected from frostbite. Vaseline works fine.
  7. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    It depends on the breed of your birds of course, and and the winds/humidity. It's -1C here today but with high winds, freezing rain and my wanting to be warm when I go down later, I've left the big door closed and given them the pop door. We've been through a bitter winter and you'll get them every year!

    Hubby and I put a timer on our former brooder light, replaced the bulb with 100W and it comes on from 5 am- 8 am to supplement light. Getting 11-12 eggs from 12 hens daily and have, all winter!

    I've put together some thoughts on seasonal care- hope this helps-[​IMG]
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2009
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    The more humid the air is (either because of weather/climate, or because of insufficient ventilation in the coop), the less cold temperatures it takes to cause frostbite. As long as your air is dryish and there are not breezes blowing at the chickens (hint: open only the downwind vents) 16 F is really not that cold for a reasonably cold-hardy breed. Added to which, the coop may well not be as cold as the outside air is (try hanging a max-min thermometer in there - very educational [​IMG])

    Good luck, have fun, welcome to BYC,

  9. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 15, 2008
    16F isn't cold. -20 to -30F is cold. [​IMG] In below -20 my standards turned off their heat lamp overnight and were impatient to be let out the next morning. They stood there in the open door way and just in front of it all day long with the wind blowing and windchill below -30F. I would not worry. The only ones I do worry about are my japanese bantams. They don't take cold well but they still do fine down to 10F with no heat and about 0F with a heat lamp. I brought them in when it hit -20 cause the roos were starting to get frostbite and they were all huddled under the lamp.
  10. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    ghgirls- I'm more concerned about you getting cold!
    Not like the UK, is it...[​IMG]

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