Moving from Arizona to Colorado in Winter - suggestions?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by shesajoy, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. shesajoy

    shesajoy New Egg

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    Dec 7, 2012
    Fort Morgan, CO
    We have six Dixie Rainbows, born in March 2012, so they are around 6-7 mos. old. They are fat and happy little chickens. Unexpectedly, we find ourselves moving from Arizona to Northeastern CO in the middle of winter (67F high/40F low average) to Fort Morgan, CO (39F high/11F low average). I love these girls and want to do what is in their best interest here - any tips or suggestions on the actual move and how they will (or will not) adapt to the weather change? These little girls survived temps upwards of 115 degrees all summer!
     
  2. marlo1968

    marlo1968 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 31, 2012
    Lorenzo, TX
    I'm not familiar with that breed of chicken. I do have a suggestion for you though. Go to the Colorado thread and post this question. There are some very knowledgeable people who frequent that thread and live on the eastern slope. You may get some useful info from them. "wsmith" is a great resource, though he is in down near Pueblo or Colorado Springs, still the weather is very similar. Best wishes in your relocation.
     
  3. marlo1968

    marlo1968 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 31, 2012
    Lorenzo, TX
  4. wsmith

    wsmith Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hey Shesajoy! Welcome (soon) to Colorado! As Marlo suggested, come over to the Colorado Thread and post there as well. Lots of great friendly folk there, and they have lots of great ideas and suggestions. (https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/68894/colorado)

    I had never heard of Dixie Rainbows until I went to the link that Marlo posted, and then to a breeder link. The biggest concern I would have is the initial move and temperature adjustment for your flock. Going from a warm climate to a cold one during the winter will be hard on the birds. They may not have grown sufficient down/feathering to keep them warm. Chickens do fine without heat in the winter, but for those of us that don't heat coops the chickens get used to the cold gradually, and easily adjust. Your birds won't have that opportunity this year. A lot depends on the actual temperatures at the time of your move. If they have a few weeks of mild temps, they will adjust better. Of course, if you are heating your new coop, then the overnight temps won't be so bad, but that presents potential problems as well. That may end up being the best short-term solution. Add a little heat and gradually lower it until they acclimate. I'm not the one to address coop heating methods, as mine isn't heated.

    Do they have a good layer of down? Are the feathers tight to their bodies or is there a lot of fluff? What coop/housing arrangements have you made for them at the new place? How many are there? Could you leave them there with someone and relocate them in the spring, or is that even an option? Is there a possibility of leaving them in AZ, and getting another batch in the spring or summer? These are just thoughts, and I wouldn't presume to make that choice for you or even think that those are all the options available to you.

    Another few questions..., how are you transporting them? What is the coldest they have experienced recently?

    Hope to hear from you soon, and let us know how the move progresses and what your plans are.
     
  5. HouseCat

    HouseCat Chillin' With My Peeps

    From what I've read on the S&G website, I think the Rainbows would find Colorado weather more comfortable than Arizona. Since it's their first winter, they should do alright. I'm in Northern Michigan and have visited my brother in CO a few times. The weather is comparable but CO gets alot more sun and is far less humid than MI- two very good things. I think you could forgo heating the coop if you just insulate it. Is there a coop on property or are you bringing your old one? Anyone who experiences real winters (ie it snows to the point where chickens literally do not leave the coop for 3-6 months), will tell you that the more square footage the better. Since my chickens do not venture past the doorway from December to March/April, I made sure they have plenty of space to scratch, chase each other around, and fly about. On the nights that dip below 20F, I get the petroleum jelly out and rub a very thin coating on their combs and wattles. Now make sure you don't over apply or it will melt and coat the feathers on their head and chest- oily feathers will not keep them warm. Also don't apply it more than twice to three times a week or it will transfer to their breast and wing feathers, getting them oily. Apply it like Chap Stick on your own lips- rub it in, don't coat it on.
    All the best luck to you!
    hc
     
  6. wsmith

    wsmith Chillin' With My Peeps

    LOL... I hope that weeks with the lows in the negative degrees F count towards a "Real Winter". LOL. I've lived in many different states and climates, winter is real no matter where you are. Some have more snow, some it rains almost constantly, and others, liKe Colorado, sometimes get lots of snow, other times its just bitter cold, but the wind ALWAYS blows out of Wyoming. [​IMG]

    The temps given on the weather sites show average temperatures, not how cold it does regularly get. I know that Ft Morgan can get down there, and is much lower in elevation, and more humid that much of the state.

    As I said before, a lot depends on how warm/cold it is in AZ when you get ready to move, and what the temps are for a few weeks after you get to Colorado. If the temps are say 20* F colder here than there, you may need to assist them during the first few weeks. Otherwise they should do fine.
     
  7. shesajoy

    shesajoy New Egg

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    Dec 7, 2012
    Fort Morgan, CO
    Wow! I apologize for my lack of response - I am involved in my last week at work, and our house is a disaster, moving preparations, etc.

    It has suddenly (finally) become "winter" here in Arizona (high of 59 today, low of 37 tonight - nowhere near a real winter, lol). I just moved here from Northern CA last December, so I really have no idea what it is like to make it through actual winters. [​IMG]

    These girls are big, fat, and fluffy. I don't know how much down they have ... We are moving to a rental which already has a chicken coop. We were thinking of putting a heating lamp in there - might that be enough to help them transition? Tonight in Fort Morgan it is getting down to 3 degrees. THREE. The rest of this week appears to be high of low 40's/low 20's. It is a huge, huge temperature difference. *SIGH* We have horses, too. And two dogs and two cats - but they are much less worrisome as they will be indoors.

    As far as transportation, we were thinking a couple of large dog kennels. We have two trucks and are not quite sure yet how we are going to do this. Two trucks and two u-haul trailers, I assume - would it be really dangerous to put them in the trailers (enclosed) if we could ensure there were no danger of the furniture sliding and them being squished? I just don't have the slightest idea how to do this. How do we get them there safely and comfortably, and then how do we keep them safe and comfortable AFTER we arrive. From my own research I agree that the winters in CO are a better bet than the summers in Arizona as far as these girls are concerned; it is the going from one extreme to another at the worst time of year possible that concerns me.

    We have to leave the day after Christmas; the weather is going to be terrible and the change dramatic. I have tried to feel out possible new homes for them, but they are pets - I don't want them to go to someone who is planning to eat them. They are good little egg producers and don't know anything other than having the full run of an acre to do whatever they please, and people that adore them. At this point, if I could find a good home for them I would, just because I am worried we will lose one or more of them in this move. But that has yet to happen and we are running short on time. This entire move is due to a job change that came out of nowhere, so we have had little to no time to prepare.

    I will post on the CO site as well, I didn't realize there was a Colorado specific forum. Thank you very much for the tips, and feel free to keep them coming. :)
     
  8. shesajoy

    shesajoy New Egg

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    Dec 7, 2012
    Fort Morgan, CO
    Here is Miss Ruby during the summer, cooling off in her chicken pool ... just to give an idea of their size and stature. There are six altogether - Lucy, Ethel, Henrietta, Lilah, Ruby, and Freckleneck.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2012
  9. wsmith

    wsmith Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hope you and yours made it to Colorado safely. Please post on the Colorado thread when you get a chance.
     
  10. FHornFrog

    FHornFrog Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 14, 2012
    Hi everyone! I'm posting this in a couple of threads under "Managing Your Flock," hoping for any advice. We are moving from Albuquerque, NM to Fairbanks, AK with 5 dogs and 4 hens. We imagine it will take about 10 days to make the drive. We are definitely concerned with the issues of crossing borders, temperatures and weather, and finding lodging. I'm doing research regarding transporting everone from state to state, and finding a USDA vet in Montana to make sure all of our paperwork is set before we go into Canada. I'm also looking into hotels. I could really use some logistical advice. Has anyone else traveled this route, or part of it? It looks like we will drive up through Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana, then through Alberta and Yukon into Alaska. With a trip this long, I can't imagine keeping the girls in a crate that long, but I also can't imagine letting them out. We will be moving all of the animals together in one large SUV, and the dogs can't be with unkenneled with the chickens. What are your thoughts/experiences? Thanks!
     

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