please stop your chickens from freezing to death

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by tammye, Feb 11, 2011.

  1. tammye

    tammye Songster

    Mar 22, 2010
    we who live in a cold climate need to make sure that we have a secure, ENCLOSED-all sides coop for our hens. No expert, but I can't see just a trap as enough to protect in sub below temps. Thick layer of bedding to insulate the floor,fresh water, not frozen, you need a heated bowl or some other way to prevent the water from freezing and fresh feed. You can give your chickens some scratch, cracked corn, bread, before they roost to help them produce body heat to keep them alive during the night. And even a red head lamp when it gets to deadly temps. make SURE you secure a lamp, really secure it to something solid, so that if it gets knocked by one of the hens it won't fall. Protect any hens with exposed skin with an insulated hen apron and bag balm on the skin to insulate it and protect it from frostbite. And last, take a head count at night, make sure everyone is in for the night.

    I am reading to many threds about frozen birds, breaks my heart, I know some times things happen no matter what, but alot of us, myself included, are new to chickens and maybe are learning as we go, any other tips out there.

    remember these chickens depend on us to help they survive, I bet a lot of the breeds we have are not native to freezing climates, so we have to help them out.

  2. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Crowing

    Apr 19, 2009
    In most of the threads you are reading I guarantee there are underlying issues. The keepers won't admit or don't know it, but there is. Chickens don't freeze to death in even frigid, well below zero temperatures unless there are extenuating circumstances. Unfortunately, those threads where people claim their "perfectly healthy, perfectly well taken care of" chickens "froze to death" create panic in those that don't know better and spur posts like these that further create a 'chickens-can't-handle-cold-temperatures' hysteria.

    You've got some good advice here -- pay attention to your chickens, know their individual needs and provide for them. Absolutely, but don't misunderstand -- most chickens are more than capable of withstanding incredibly low temperatures with only very basic accommodations.
  3. Buck Creek Chickens

    Buck Creek Chickens Have Incubator, Will Hatch

    Nov 26, 2008
    Neenah, WI
    Olive hill, is right I have a lone rooster who refuses to get caught, he is out in the cold, we had -15 today, no shelter but what ever he can find, and from what i can see all he has is a little frost bite on his comb, he's a bantam cochin, i leave feed out for him and water its not heated no way to do it
  4. pharmchickrnmom

    pharmchickrnmom Songster

    Apr 13, 2010
    [​IMG] I am a newbie to chickens this year and was concerned about how they would do. However, I believe that most, if not all, problems can be circumvented if you educate yourself and get to know your flock really well. I have a well built, insulated tractor that the girls are locked into every night. They are outside right now even though it is -11. I look them over every day and handle them a bit to check for any problems. I monitor their food intake and supplement accordingly. No matter how cold it is, my girls always have the option of going out and usually do. Chickens can survive in cold climates, including Alaska, if we provide them with the basic care they require. This winter has shown me that good animal husbandry is key to healthy flocks.
  5. tammye

    tammye Songster

    Mar 22, 2010
    I agree with both of you, not trying to say that the chickens are helpless or create temperature hysteria out there. my hens have been subjected to -20 degree nights and are doing well. But we have created domesicated chickens, out in the wild or like your rooster, they will find the shelter they need to survive, but if we confine them to a fenced in pen, without adequate shelter, then they are subjected to the envirronment that we have created, not nature. just thought some of us newbies needed some tips, I know I have learned alot for this forum
    1 person likes this.

  6. To be very honest I'd rather lose a few to the cold then burn my coop down and kill the entire flock, so no heat lamps going in any of my coops.

    I have read that birds who gets heat provided can suffer and die if they lose that source of heat... like say if the power goes out, so even being new to chickens I think heat lamps are bad advice.

    My flock will get a large well insulated, well vented building and the rest of their basic needs met... (food, water, shelter) the rest will be up to them.

    I will keep the breeds who do well and nature will take care of the rest.

    We have had -30F here this year and it will be at least -20F to -30F at night for the next six weeks or so.

    This colder weather most of the time will break around end of March...
    1 person likes this.
  7. babyrnlc

    babyrnlc Songster

    Jan 30, 2011
    Tulsa, Ok
    Quote:I am truly a newbie, (chicken owner 2 weeks), but we have had two blizzards and when I was researching and shuffling through all the different post, we decided not to have a light in the coop. I was worried the first night. I mean inside the coop, the water froze! BUT the girls did not mind, they were happy and even went out to play in the snow. We have had two HUGE cold spells since we have gotten them and they have barely missed a day laying. They laid through out the blizzard. They go out ever day and scratch around and enjoying the day. We have had no frozen aything.

    I have to admit, every time I read a post about a frozen bird, I start worrying and even think about changing what we are doing, but then I feel if it is working, I don't wnat to change it. (We are gonna be int he upper 60's next week, so I will get to relax a little).

    We do have a heat lamp in the shed for the 6 week old chicks. But we are gonna take it off in a week and see how they do without it. We may first leave it on and leave the shed door open, and then take off the lamp a week after that. I want them to learn to handle the cold.
  8. JodyJo

    JodyJo Songster

    Sep 27, 2010
    I live in Colorado and we have -30, even lower, my chickens were smart enough to stay inside, they don't venture out till they feel its warm enough and that can be still in the sub zeros...we did have a few combs freeze, but they were out in the sunlight with minus temps...but inside the coop they are warm and snug...they ARE covered with a down coat remember.

    If they can make it here, they will survive, they do have a heater for their water, and they are given food before they retire for the night. I was worried at first also, but they are hearty and doing great...
    1 person likes this.
  9. HorizonSon

    HorizonSon Songster

    Oct 5, 2010
    Pacific NW
    It's simple, really. Chickens have been kept by man for hundreds to thousands of years... Without de-icer gadgets, high tech insulation, lamps of any kind; nor the most recent phenomena of commercialized "food"...

    One of the biggest mistakes, most often made, is buy chickens that are not ideal for one's climate to begin with.

  10. Mervin

    Mervin Songster

    Jan 25, 2010
    Central Pennsyltucky
    I live in Central PA, so it's not as cold as NH or Northern Ontario. That said, we do get to -10 or -15 for night time lows. My coop is not insulated, it is well ventilated and dry though and not that much warmer than ambient air temperature. I know people around me that house their birds in even less without trouble. I am of the mind that adding heat only sets them up for disaster. They won't feather out and won't be able to withstand low temperatures w/o extra heat. By all means people should provide their birds with rudimentary shelter to get out of the wind and elements, but their down and feathers are designed to be used as personal insulation. When they fluff up, they draw air into their feathers which is warmed and acts as insulation. Provided their coop is dry, well ventilated and that the birds are cold-hardy breeds they should be good to relatively low temperatures. People have kept chickens for centuries in all sorts of cold regions, Sweden, Norway, Russia, Alaska, etc. and before they were able to provide additional heat for them to boot. I think it is important to "rediscover" the information that was learned years ago about poultry/livestock success and not get too carried away with modern convenience. That said, I do use a heated do bowl. That's for my convenience. I just don't want to have to haul water out there 3-4 times a day..
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2011
    1 person likes this.

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