My Chickens Fight When its Cold!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by KatieG509, Jan 5, 2017.

  1. KatieG509

    KatieG509 Hatching

    Jan 5, 2017
    Westminster, Colorado
    We have 4 hens, 2 Australorps, a Maran, and a California White. We're new to chicken-keeping, and have had them since April.

    When I was researching raising chickens, I read somewhere that most breeds are fine down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit. We live in metro Denver, Colorado, and it only gets that cold a few times a year (so far 3 times this winter). After weighing the pros and cons of heating the coop (frostbite vs. fires, etc) we decided to put a heat lamp on when the temperature goes below zero.

    Each time it's gotten below zero and we have put on the lamp, our chickens fight with each other! It's been a different chicken with pretty nasty pecking injuries each time, and I've never seen them fight or end up with pecking injuries any other time. They are usually chicken BFF's.

    So, I am wondering if you all have any thoughts on why. Is it because it's so cold and they don't like to go into the run and are cooped up (ha), or is it because the heat lamp makes their coop perpetual day and they're going nuts?


  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Crowing

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    By warming their coop, you are making it the prefered place to be. They aren't going out like they would without it. In the confined space of the coop, they are feeling too crowded and acting out. They don't need the heat and it's causing problems. Best to just remove the heat lamp and let them deal with the occasionally colder than usual days. Provide a few sheltered spots in the run, too.
  3. x2.
    And vent the coop to prevent high humidity, which is the cause of frostbite at freezing temps. They will be fine once acclimated.
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

    I vote the sleep deprivation angle.

    My teenager woke me up for no good reason last night and I was ready to peck his head [​IMG].

    Seriously, ditch the heat lamp. Whatever the reason, it's causing issues. Your birds need to be out and about even if it's cold.
  5. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Chicken tender Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    I think they are getting crabby because they are too hot, happens to me all summer.
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    [​IMG] Oh, Me Too!

    But seriously(wipes leaking eyes).....Welcome to BYC @KatieG509 !
    If you see this behavior every time you use the heat lamp,
    that's pretty indicative that it's causing problems and should be removed.

    Could be the 24/7 light, could be it's too warm-or it's scaring them(they don't like change),
    could be the coop is too small, could be the ventilation is not up to par.

    Knowing more about your coop, dimensions and pics really help, might show other issues.
    If you really feel the need to heat, a non light heater might the answer for you.
    There are many on the market.
    1 person likes this.
  7. wamtazlady

    wamtazlady Songster

    Jul 18, 2013
    Kalispell MT
    Cold tolerant chickens can easily stand temperatures way below 0. We just had a -22 F night and the girls came through it without a problem and no added heat. They were out of their coop first thing in the morning, scratching around in their run just the same as if it had been 70 degrees.

  8. KatieG509

    KatieG509 Hatching

    Jan 5, 2017
    Westminster, Colorado
    Thanks everyone! Despite my husbands objections, I turned the light off last night. It got down to -7, and they were just fine! No injuries, and they were even outside in the run when I got home from work!
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Good for you! I hope your husband is okay with how things turned out---harmony in the household is important.

    But, being right feels good too.....[​IMG]
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I am not taking this thread as evidence for or against use of heating lamps with a coop. Does need to be looked at.

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