Please calm me down, my northern friends

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by CityGirlintheCountry, Dec 31, 2009.

  1. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

    Jul 7, 2007
    Middle TN
    Okay, so the weather this winter has been freakishly cold already, but now they are saying that the highs all week aren't going above 30 degrees and the lows are consistantly to be around 13 degrees. Tennessee doesn't have weather this cold!!!!! [​IMG]

    My chickens are in three different coops. LF coops have 9 and 10 birds respectively. The banty coop has 12 birds. One LF coop and the banty coop are 4'x4' and are raised about a foot off the ground. The other LF coop is 3'x8' and is raised 2 feet off the ground. None of the coops are insulated and are walled with 1/2" plywood. All have 6-8" of pine shavings on the floor. Windows are covered with clear plastic. There are gaps around the doors and roof though.

    There is no electricity in the coops and no heat. Will they be okay? [​IMG]

    The co-op has a heater that attaches to the gas grill propane tank. Should I invest in it and try to position it so that it hits part of all three runs? Is it safe to run 24/7? There is no way to position it so that it would reach all three coops at night and I can't afford to purchase more than one. I don't want the chickies freezing! Will it help to put hot water bottles (aka hot water in milk jugs) in the coops at night?

    Am I stressing too much?
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2009

  2. slightlyscrambled

    slightlyscrambled Songster

    Mar 30, 2009
    I have 16 chickens in a LARGE barn with no isulation and no extra heat source. We have had temps below zero, mine seem to be doing fine. If I had my druthers I would do things different but.........
  3. they'reHISchickens

    they'reHISchickens Songster

    Oct 31, 2008
    I think they will be fine so long as there are no bad drafts. Ours are surviving nicely in the snow and cold. That's why they have feathers. I would definitely gather up your pretzel cans and make some water heaters, though! Search for the directions on here:) Of course, if you plan on providing warm water morning, noon and night, you can weather the storm without them.
  4. Dar

    Dar Crowing

    Jul 31, 2008
    ok thats only -1*C.... My chickens have gotten down to -18*C (0*F) last year with no issues as long as there is no moisture issues i thing=k you will be fine, although i would see if you could get some of the foam weather stripping or something to stop the draft

    eta: -18*C is when the display on the thermometer stopped working so i am sure it got colder at night but they were all snuggling on the roost at night.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2009

  5. PurpleChicken

    PurpleChicken Tolerated.....Mostly

    Apr 6, 2007
    They are fine. Everything in my barn is frozen, including the pine bedding. Even the white BB turkeys are fine and they are meat birds.

    Your chickens are fine. They would be fine outside in those temps.

    Don't worry or waste your time with a heater.
  6. hollyandty

    hollyandty Songster

    Jun 3, 2009
    North Pole, Alaska
    Would it help to calm you down if I told you it was 25 below zero here last night? LOL I didn't think so.
    But really I think your birds will be fine if you lock them up tight. Bring the waterer in at night and take it out in the am. I beleive as long as they stay hydrated they can handle the cold. Feed some corn for added warmth. My birds do great in weather like yours. I read that someone was putting hot rocks in the coop at night. (Bricks in the oven) don't know how that worked for them. My guys are locked in all day and night during these cold spells. When it warms up to above zero I will let them out again.
    Just what kind of propane heater is it?
    Can you put all the birds into one coop?

    Good luck to you.
    Holly in North Pole
  7. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    If they arent used to that low cold i'd keep them in the coop until this cold snap breaks... but thats just me.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2009

  8. Dar

    Dar Crowing

    Jul 31, 2008
    Quote:if it gets below -10*C i wont let my chickens out unless its a really sunny day, but then its only for a few hours.
  9. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

    Jul 7, 2007
    Middle TN
    They can get back in the coops during the day if they want. Are they smart enough to go back into the coop? Okay... nevermind. That is a silly question. [​IMG]

    I have never had problems before. It has gotten this cold here before, but not for this long a time. Where is the pacing smilie when you need it?

    Holly- The heater looked like two round radient heaters connected to a regulator. I didn't pull it out of the box to check it out. It just caught my attention as a possible outdoor heat source. It attached to the small propane tank like you use for a gas grill. I have no idea if it works well or not. [​IMG]

    Okay... thanks for talking me down. I'll just keep an eye on them.

  10. RocketDad

    RocketDad Songster

    Jul 25, 2008
    Near US 287
    Do NOT
    Do NOT
    Do NOT use a propane heater inside the coop. They use up oxygen, output carbon monoxide (some) and carbon dioxide (mostly) and water (huge amounts).

    They will not keep the coop at a steady temp. The "eyeball" heaters (as I've heard that type called) put out infrared, which turns to heat when it hits a surface. The coop air will still be cold, but the side of the chicken that faces the heater (really, a propane-burning IR lamp) will get too hot. OR the coop will over heat.

    And maybe the chickens will knock it over and burn down the whole building.

    Jugs of hot water will do a better job than you think. Nestle them into the bedding (but keep some underneath to prevent heat loss through the floor) so that the heat will radiate slowly over the night. Don't fill the jugs all the way - leave room for expansion if they freeze.

    Make sure you are ventilating the coop, even at night. Moist air will create worse conditions for frostbite than dry air, and having an open vent won't cool the coop much. You're already losing heat through the uninsulated plywood walls. The chickens will fluff them selves up, hunker down and roost closer together when they're really cold.

    Give the birds fresh warm (not hot) drinking water in the morning, and maybe warm snacks. Some people make them oatmeal, or make warm mash with layer pellets and some scratch mixed in. I like to give mine scratch in the morning, along with the other stuff, to get them moving around.

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