One Cold Chicken

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by busychicks, Jan 24, 2014.

  1. busychicks

    busychicks In the Brooder

    Nov 16, 2013
    Autauga County, Alabama
    In a flock of nine, I have one hen that doesn't seem to tolerate the cold as well as the others. I'm in central Alabama, which means we're getting the rare night in the upper teens and not getting above forty during the day, but most the weather has been twenties and thirties as a low with a high in the forty to sixty range. The chickens have a roosting area shielded from the wind with some tarps, which seemed pretty adequate until we suddenly became arctic down here. We're going to work on make the coop more weather proof and better insulated this weekend, but everyone except Rose seems okay with the cold weather.

    We have three game hens who were given to us who are basically wild and roost in trees, but hang out with everyone else during the day. The other six are Marans, four almost five month olds and two six and a half month old hens. The larger of the older hens, Rose, has been obviously colder than everyone else the last two mornings. While everyone else scratched for food and followed me around the yard, Rose stayed hunched up and showed very little interest in food. As it got warmer she started acting like her normal self, so I was thinking just got too cold. It worries me that she's the only one acting like she's miserably cold when the game hens who have been sleeping in trees all night and the little blue hen that doesn't snuggle up with everyone at night all act like they're fine (meaning we're fluffy and like to stand in the sun, but do all our normal chicken business). Rose still eats and drinks, but she's really obviously not comfortable or happy early in the mornings.

    Is Rose be sick? Is she just not as cold tolerant as her fellow feathered friends? The Marans hen we have that's the same age as Rose started laying first of January, would getting ready to lay make her act this way? Should I consider putting a light in the coop for her for really cold nights, or just make sure their sleeping area is more insulated? Should I consider bringing her inside the house at night when it's really cold(which would be about sixty degrees and probably a shock to go back outside into forty degree weather)? This is my first winter with chickens, and I just find it a little strange the heaviest and fluffiest hen is the one who feels the cold the most.

  2. boskelli1571

    boskelli1571 Crowing

    Mar 7, 2011
    Finger Lakes, NY
    Hello & welcome,
    It does seem unusual for one hen to be cold intolerant like that. Does she sit in a draught? on the end of the line? what breed is she?
    I would certainly make the coop draught proof and better insulated - this will pay benefits for you down the line.
    Since she seems to acting ok when she warms up I would leave it be for now. Just monitor her for signs of sickness and make sure she's eating/drinking ok. See if she acts better when you have better insulation around the coop. Good luck, Sue
  3. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Songster

    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    By all means do watch her. she could just be having a bad reaction to the cold or she could be getting sick. I will throw one other possibility out to consider. When the start to go broody some of them will puff out and change their behavior a few days to a week before they take to the nest.
  4. fiberart57

    fiberart57 Songster

    May 31, 2009
    I hear you, Rose, I'm not a morning person myself.

    Seriously, try giving her (and the rest of them by proximity) some scrambled eggs in the morning, once or twice. They would all benefit and Rose may just need some more fat.

    I have an Andalusian that seems to need more Vitamin D in the winter so I scramble eggs and put an extra drop of Vit D on her portion.


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