Newbie...winter is coming, questions

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by showjumper_girl2002, Oct 22, 2013.

  1. showjumper_girl2002

    showjumper_girl2002 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello everyone! This is my first time owning chickens and this will be our first winter together. I was wondering what all i need to do to prepare my girls? I have 3 mixed hens, 1 Delaware, and 2 silkies chicks (aren't yet in the coop) I read that silkies in particular don't do well with cold. I live in Florida so it doesn't get near as cold here as it does in other places, but we do have nights that can get as low as 28 degrees. Any tips would be great! I was wondering of should put a heat lamp in the coop? And how cold does it need to be before worrying and doing so?
     
  2. MamaDoodle

    MamaDoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    My neighbor and I only use heat lamps for chicks or when it gets below freezing. Otherwise, with a dry coop and sunlight, they do fine as adults.

    We also put tarps up around the run to block wind, and filled the coop and run with either hay or shavings. Like I said, dry chickens do fine, and a heat lamp isn't constantly necessary. Especially in Florida, haha, I'm originally from there.

    If you have any big combs or waddles, you could put Vaseline on them when it gets below freezing to prevent losing them to frostbite.

    Just watch for a sad chicken in a corner huddling or shaking. :)
     
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    I start becoming concerned below zero but I still don't add heat.
    28 degrees is much closer to a chickens sweet spot than your summer heat.
    Chickens' ancestors are jungle fowl and quite adaptable and range from tropical forest to the Himalayan foothills.
    Most chicken breeds were developed in quite cold climates long before heat lamps.
     
  4. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    Most chickens fare well in the cold. After all, they are covered in warm, downy feathers. Your Silkies are the only ones that may have a problem, though they should still be fine if they snuggle with the other hens. Below are a few tips that I have on preparing chickens and coops for winter. I've used them all on my birds, and have so far not experienced many problems with them:

    • If your coop has a wire run attached to it, wrap plastic (clear or solid) around the run. Or you can put hay bales around the run. Both of those things will help protect the inside of the run from bitter wind and snow.
    • Make sure your coop has a good layer (3-4+ inches) of clean, absorbent bedding to protect the birds from drafts. Chopped straw and hay are good beddings, as they are fluffy and generally free from molds. To keep the bedding fresh, stir it often.
    • Cover part of any windows you have in the coop with plastic to help keep the wind off. Don't block them up entirely--that can lead to ventilation problems and moisture buildup.
    • On really cold nights, coat any the combs of any large-combed birds that you have with Vaseline/Petroleum Jelly. This will help protect them from frostbite.
    • At night, before the chickens go to roost, feed them a handful or two of corn or scratch grains. These fat-heavy foods will provide them with energy in order to produce warmth during the night.

    Good luck!
     
  5. showjumper_girl2002

    showjumper_girl2002 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for some great info! =)
     

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