Opinions of cold climate chicken keepers needed

Mar 15, 2018
648
1,868
226
SE Wisconsin
It's going to be -7 degrees tonight. I have 4 bantams in a 6 x 3 coop, raised off the ground. Will they be ok? 3 EEs and 1 Cochin. I have a calibrated hygrometer in the coop and there is no problem there. They've been fine down to 4 degrees already. I have ordered a coop heat plate from Amazon, it'll be here Saturday. So I'll at least have some heat for the -15 night coming up next week. I could put a heating pad down for them to stand on if they want. Just thinking of when they were little and stood on the top of the MHP. We don't get these kind of temps very often at all so that's why I'm not prepared.
 
Mar 15, 2018
648
1,868
226
SE Wisconsin
They did fine last night. In fact this morning when it was still below zero, they were all sitting on the outside perch. Tough chickies! Not sure about the -15 coming up though. That is cooooold. I'll have the heat plate by then but I'm not going to open it up till I decide to use it. They love being outside so much, I'd hate for them to have a shock when they went out of the warmer coop that morning. I like that they go out in any weather and don't want to encourage huddling in the coop if they're fine outside.
In case anyone else reads this, I didn't ignore Cyprus' question, I sent her a PM. :)
 

WindingRoad

Songster
Nov 21, 2018
1,007
1,963
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Maine
They did fine last night. In fact this morning when it was still below zero, they were all sitting on the outside perch. Tough chickies! Not sure about the -15 coming up though. That is cooooold. I'll have the heat plate by then but I'm not going to open it up till I decide to use it. They love being outside so much, I'd hate for them to have a shock when they went out of the warmer coop that morning. I like that they go out in any weather and don't want to encourage huddling in the coop if they're fine outside.
In case anyone else reads this, I didn't ignore Cyprus' question, I sent her a PM. :)
Keep your birds DRY. Dry birds are warm birds. They wear a down coat. When they roost they cover their feet with their feathers and keep them warm. Some breeds will tuck their heads under a wing to keep their comb from frostbite. Chickens are very hardy. -20F here in Maine often. Have good ventilation in your coop. NO WET walls or ceiling. That is a sign of moisture.And put a tarp around any windy places. That wind can create a draft. Make your vents above your birds. NO draft. Wet one of you hands and go out side with out gloves or mittens. Notice how quickly that hand gets COLD. And if you stayed out there too long it would get frostbitten. Some roosters I've heard don't tuck their heads at night so their combs might be more of a problem. Your chickens are hardy more so than you think. Look at the wild bird and wonder. Also if you use electricity what happens when you lose power. Then your birds will get a shock. At the cold temps that they haven't gotten used to.
 
Mar 15, 2018
648
1,868
226
SE Wisconsin
Keep your birds DRY. Dry birds are warm birds. They wear a down coat. When they roost they cover their feet with their feathers and keep them warm. Some breeds will tuck their heads under a wing to keep their comb from frostbite. Chickens are very hardy. -20F here in Maine often. Have good ventilation in your coop. NO WET walls or ceiling. That is a sign of moisture.And put a tarp around any windy places. That wind can creat a draft. Make you vent above your birds. NO draft. Wet one of you hands and go out side with out gloves or mittens. Notice how quickly that hand gets COLD. And if you stayed out there too long it would get frostbitten. Some rooster I've heard don't tuck their heads at night so their combs might be more of a problem. Your chickens are hardy more so than you think. Look at the wild bird and wonder.
Thanks! You made me feel even more reassured. My air vent is well above the roost and I have a ribbon hanging near the roost so I can see on the camera if there is a draft. So far I've never seen one. I also have a humidity meter near the roost that shows the high and low until the numbers are cleared. That's never been higher than the ambient humidity. No moisture or frost on the window or ceiling. I also added a few more inches of shavings on the floor yesterday.
This is my first winter with chickens, can you tell, lol? After this one, no normal cold weather will ever worry me again. We don't get down to -15 very often. Single digits below zero are more common.
 

WindingRoad

Songster
Nov 21, 2018
1,007
1,963
213
Maine
Thanks! You made me feel even more reassured. My air vent is well above the roost and I have a ribbon hanging near the roost so I can see on the camera if there is a draft. So far I've never seen one. I also have a humidity meter near the roost that shows the high and low until the numbers are cleared. That's never been higher than the ambient humidity. No moisture or frost on the window or ceiling. I also added a few more inches of shavings on the floor yesterday.
This is my first winter with chickens, can you tell, lol? After this one, no normal cold weather will ever worry me again. We don't get down to -15 very often. Single digits below zero are more common.
My firs winter too but I grew up on a farm And I have this place too. Learnt a lot here. Most will give you excellent advise. Google is your friend too sometimes just to verify.

It got so warm yesterday here close to 50F that I scraped out my coop any poop I had missed before was now THAWED. LOL all new pine shavings and PDZ. Sweet smelling coop now.
 
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