Nervous about the cold

Discussion in 'Where am I? Where are you!' started by suzMEchicks, Dec 13, 2013.

  1. suzMEchicks

    suzMEchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 9, 2013
    North Waterboro, Maine
    Hi! I am brand new to this site. I have 6 chickens-2 RIR, 2 Leghorns and 2 Sexlink. They have been laying well and everything has been ok. I can't reconcile myself to the fact that they are outside in the cold. Oh sure they are in a nice little coop, completely enclosed. But it's supposed to get to around 0 degrees tonight. I put a light in the coop when the time changed so they would keep on laying and they have. The other day I put a 60watt bulb in it and it does throw off a little heat. They don't want to go outside since it snowed but before that they were free ranging everywhere. I got a feeling it's gonna be a long winter! They can't possibly stay in that coop all winter? Oh BTW I'm in southern Maine. I guess my question really is can my chickens really make it through a Maine winter in an essentially nonheated coop?
  2. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 24, 2013
    Your birds should be able to withstand 0 degree temperatures without too many problems. My birds have recently experienced -7 degree temperatures, with no problems. Its possible that your Leghorns will get some frostbite on their combs (as they are large-combed birds), but other than that they should be fine. To reduce the chance of frostbite, put some petroleum jelly on their combs and wattles.
  3. suzMEchicks

    suzMEchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 9, 2013
    North Waterboro, Maine
    Thanks . I wish I had paid more attention to the breed when I bought them. I just got 2 brown, 2 white, 2 black!
  4. Coop de Cuse

    Coop de Cuse Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 22, 2013
    East Syracuse, NY
    The key to healthy chickens in the winter is lots of ventilation. If you seal them inside, the moisture from their breathing and the ammonia from their waste will give them a host of problems. If you keep the coop ventilated, the dry air will take out the moisture and the ammonia and will keep the air fresh. For example, the outside air here in NY is 19 degrees and my temp gauge inside reads 34 degrees. I have a lot of ventilation and I have small doors open and it is still a lot warmer inside. You can imagine the yucky, stinky air if everything was sealed up.

    I was worried at first, too and wanted to put in a heat lamp, but found that they are just fine and the temps 2 weeks ago went down to 7 degrees outside. I use different types of bedding around the coop (sand, PDZ, hay, large shavings) and I leave the inside doors open all night. I close off all the drafts with plastic sheeting and everyone is cozy and comfy all night.
    I have 14 Sebrights and 5 Guineas.

    The guineas like to go outside during the day for a little run about. The sebrights wander outside here and there, but mainly stay inside. I can't wait until Spring! [​IMG]

    Depending on how cold it gets where you are, try to avoid using a heat lamp unless absolutely necessary. If they get used to the heat and the lamp fails, the temp will drop drastically and they may be in trouble! They will do much, much better in a cold, dry coop than in a warm, moist coop.

    Adding corn to their diet also helps increase their internal heat while digesting the corn.

    As far as the cold, most breeds are hardy for cold conditions since they are covered with lots and lots of feathers [​IMG]

    I hope this helps [​IMG]

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