My Little Flock

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by riverswan, Nov 27, 2015.

  1. riverswan

    riverswan Out Of The Brooder

    Hi, I started raising chickens June of 2015, as we wanted to raise our own organic eggs and meat. I researched the net and am grateful for BYC as this is where I got most of my information. We started with a mix of 25 Columbian Rocks x Reds but added more chicks, a Blue Maran, Olive Egger, Barred Rocks, and a variety of bantams, including Silkies and a Silver Penciled Cochin. Out of this we have 18 hens and are also keeping 4 roosters. So far we are getting between 7 and 9 eggs a day! I was a little disappointed that our Olive Egger is a roo but he is very much a pet and we love him! We built an insulated house (their area being 8' x 10') with a window, two vents, and a storage area. We open the little door during the day so the chickens have a choice to be out or in. It also has a 250 red lamp connected to a thermostat so it turns off on mild days. Their house temp has been sitting at 2 to 4 degrees above freezing. So far our weather is mild (-5C to -15C) but I am a little concerned as our temps can dip to -30C or more. Are we keeping the chicken house too warm, should it be below freezing? I am also concerned about our Silkies, how cold can they handle? Other than that everything else is going great. Here are some recent pictures of a few of our chickens. They like to follow me around very close so was hard getting them to pose for a good shot.

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    Barbie one of our Barred Rock hens.


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    Sparrow our Silver Penciled Cochin bantam hen.


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    Raven our Oliver Egger roo.


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    Pepper our Blue Maran roo.


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    Little Red our bantam roo. A lady gave us a few free hens and this little guy was in the cage too lol. He is so cute we decided to keep him anyway.


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    Shadow was given to us, we were told she is a White Faced Black, but I don't know.


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    Golden Girl was given to us, she is a bantam mix hen. She was very wild when we first got her but is now very much a pet and loves being cuddled.


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    Rockette was given to us as a very small chick. She is bantam cross and very much a pet, preferring to hang out with people instead of chickens.
     
  2. thechxwhisperer

    thechxwhisperer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Beautiful chickens! It sounds like you have a good set up too! I don't think I can answer your question, because I am not experienced with cold weather and heat lamps.[​IMG] I hope you find some answers though!
     
  3. riverswan

    riverswan Out Of The Brooder

    Thank you!
     
  4. blkjak

    blkjak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 18, 2014
    Manitoba Canada
    Everyone here says not to heat your coop but I do heat my silkie room. I have a 2 room coop with 2 brooders in it. So I heat my silkie room with 1 heat lamp and if I have any injured/sick chickens they go into the heated brooder. Last winter I heated my 2nd room also but it has very high rafters so I not sure I helped or hurt my flock. All my birds have access to outside. My silkies have a fenced run, everyone else can free range. This year I purchased guineas so they roost in the rafters.
    My issue is humidity. With ducks on the straw, chickens and guineas roosted in the rafters/roosts the humidity can get high. I have ventilation but maybe not enough.
    Everyone is enjoying the mild temps right now. I have experienced some losses this fall. It seems the weaker birds die at this time of the year. They seem ok while the temps are warm but as it cools the weaker birds don't adjust.
     
  5. riverswan

    riverswan Out Of The Brooder

    Thanks for the info it is greatly appreciated. I am wondering what temp you feel is best for their coop in the winter? Is above freezing ok or should it be below some? With the temps being milder right now, do you even plug in the lamp? I was also wondering what bedding is best for the birds, especially in the coldest of winter? Right now I am using sand on the floor and find it easy for cleaning, as I just sift it like a litter box. My husband keeps telling me we must pile straw in the coop, he thinks the chickens burrow into it to keep warm. Do they or do they just cuddle/sleep on the roosts? So far all our birds have adjusted well to the colder weather, but I still worry some about the Silkies. Are the Silkies considered a weaker bird? What temperature do you think is best for them?
     
  6. blkjak

    blkjak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 18, 2014
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    I use straw because I have ducks so that is easier to clean up. Chickens do not burrow. They huddle on roosts or on the intact bales.
    I do turn on my heat lamp in my silkie room even in the mild winter temps but only because its habit and I have some young birds in there. They really dont need it though.
    My silkies are my strongest genetically, I think. That is what I meant by weaker birds is genetics. I have lost very few of my silkies. This could be because I add some new genetics every year and try to sell the birds I dont want to breed.
    I have pure White Chanteclers, Jersey Giants, Black Swedish Isbars, Plymouth Barred Rocks, EEs, Silkies and Cream Legbars. This fall I have lost about 10 young Chantys (some to accidents and some to illness/weakness), 2 Isbars and 10 Jerseys. Although I just purchased my JG this fall from 1 breeder so I believe I need to add some new genetics to that gene pool.
     
  7. b.hromada

    b.hromada Flock Mistress

    Such beautiful chickens you've got there! [​IMG] I had to laugh. My hubby puts a heat lamp in our girls coop, and it NEVER gets cold, well, not like you get! Wow, those are some COLD temperatures, and you say its mild right now! Amazing. I would love to get some cold weather here, it would be so nice for a change. I'll tell you what, if you get tired of the cold, send some my way, okay? lol! Thanks for sharing.
     
  8. Madisan

    Madisan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lol! I live in Florida too :(
     
  9. riverswan

    riverswan Out Of The Brooder

    Thanks again everyone! We are still enjoying the mild weather, this week is ranging from -1C to +5C during the day. I love this warm weather but prefer it a little cooler just so our snow doesn't melt away, we have some avid snowmobilers in the family and they would be very disappointed if there isn't enough snow when home for Christmas. If the temps aren't too extreme, I actually love the snow and cooler temps, everything is so peaceful. It seems when that first snow falls its like the chapter of summer with its never ending chores and yard work has finished, now on to another.
     
  10. blkjak

    blkjak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 18, 2014
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    Isnt that the truth! No more grass to mow, gardening is over etc. It was coop cleaning day today! Birds are having a great time in the sun picking thru for food.
     

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