Protecting chickens from unnormally cold weather??

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Margy1, Feb 17, 2015.

  1. Margy1

    Margy1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    132
    2
    61
    Jul 30, 2014
    This is a silly question.... I know chickens can handle some pretty low temperatures without problems....but we live in Florida. The coldest it has gotten this year is low 40's. Tomorrow night it is supposed to get down into the 30s and we will have freeze/frost. Our chickens are not used to these types of temperatures..Do we need to do anything to keep them warm? We can give them some scratch before bed to help with body heat..but what else can we do? Their coop is wood with two windows up at the top and another window on the door. We have another chicken who is completely free range, she will not go into the coop and we can not put her in there because she is mean to the others. She sleeps on our front porch and is pretty exposed to the wind and everything...what can we do for her to protect her from the wind and freezing temps?
    (I know that she should be in a coop at night for her safety please do not lecture me on that...we have tried multiple times, she was a wild chicken when we found her we have tried to put her in a coop before and she will leave and not come back for days..she is safest on our porch or in our tree, rather then out in the woods..)


    Any information would be great! :)

    And I know that these are not usually temperatures that would cause someone up north to worry about, but our chickens are used to weather in the 70's not 30.

    TIA!!
     
  2. JadedPhoenix

    JadedPhoenix Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,208
    122
    206
    Oct 29, 2012
    Tyro-Lexington, NC
    Thirty degrees won't bother them since it is really only a ten degree difference. They will acclimate fine. Now if you were having THREE degrees while they were used to forty, that might be a bit different. Which is exactly what my chickens have been dealing with lately and they've been just fine. I even have some that insist on sleeping outside; including last night in the freezing rain and snow. Tomorrow night it will be four degrees and Thursday night it will be 2 (or less) so after seeing them get used to the cold already, I'm not really worried.

    BTW: Most of my chickens have remained outside all day. Only a few decided to hold up in the coops in this weather so I'm confident your chickens will be out enjoying the weather as well for the most part.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2015
  3. Urban Flock

    Urban Flock Chillin' With My Peeps

    231
    14
    70
    Sep 17, 2014
    Southern Oregon
    It is not a silly question, your just concerned. They should be fine. Remember they are wearing big down coats. A bit of scratch at bedtime will help them. They stay warmer when they are digesting. Not much you can do for the outside one. Maybe some type of open sided box with a towel on the bottom for her to sit in so she is a little more protected. That is if she will go in it. Overall they will be fine.
     
  4. Margy1

    Margy1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    132
    2
    61
    Jul 30, 2014
    What about the one that sleeps outside? Do you think she will be okay? I am just so worried about them, we had one die recently (from illness none of the others are sick) and my sister said hers froze (she lives in Nevada not FL) I just can't loose another chicken right now, that was devastating when we lost the girl a few weeks ago.
     
  5. torilovessmiles

    torilovessmiles Chillin' With My Peeps

    764
    90
    118
    Sep 19, 2014
    Central West Virginia
    In the 30s, they should be okay. They have instincts to huddle together on really cold days. I was in a similar situation, but I went from lows of about 15-20 degrees down to -5 to 2 degrees. All I did was cover the windows (but I left the vents open) so the breeze wasn't directly open, and put Vaseline on their combs. You won't need to put Vaseline on their combs unless its in the single digits, just make sure wind isn't directly on them and they'll be fine. As for the one that sleeps on the porch, you could try moving her to a corner where she is sheltered after she already falls asleep. Mine will usually stay wherever I move them after they've already roosted. Or, if it gets extremely cold, you could bring her in and put her in a dog cage, but I don't think a 10 degree difference will be too much of a shock to them.
    What breeds do you have?
     
  6. Margy1

    Margy1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    132
    2
    61
    Jul 30, 2014
    That is what someone else suggested with the open box. ( I also posted to a farming group on Facebook) I think as long as she knows she can get out if she wants to she will be fine.

    I wish she was still broody...when she was broody and it got cold we brought her basket she sleeps on into the laundry room and she stayed put all night lol
     
  7. Margy1

    Margy1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    132
    2
    61
    Jul 30, 2014
    We have EE. The one who sleeps on the porch does sleep in a corner but she is exposed to wind from the top and on two sides. The ones who sleep in the coop I am not as concerned about because I know they will huddle together. I don't know how badly she will freak out if we bring her inside. She really HATES being locked in somewhere [​IMG]. I wish she would just let us put her in the coop and not try to attack the other girls!!
     
  8. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    8,667
    3,337
    441
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    I have a feeling your sister's chicken may have had other problems. It takes a lot for a chicken to freeze to death if it's dry, protected from the elements and healthy. Your chickens will be fine. The one that sleeps outside should be fine, too.
     
  9. song of joy

    song of joy Chillin' With My Peeps

    903
    173
    181
    Apr 22, 2012
    Central Pennsylvania
    I think they will all be fine. Continue to leave windows open in the coop to allow for air circulation, as frostbite on combs and wattles happens most often when moist air (from chicken respiration, waterers, etc) is trapped in the coop, settles on combs and wattles, and freezes.

    The porch-roosting hen may adjust her position on the porch if it's too windy and cold. Alternatively, if you can put a wind break next to her typical roosting position, that may help. I've done temporary wind breaks using everything from cardboard to blankets to old, vinyl tablecloths to feed bags. They can be stapled, clamped, or anchored in place with heavy objects - whatever works to ensure it will not fall or blow down.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2015
  10. torilovessmiles

    torilovessmiles Chillin' With My Peeps

    764
    90
    118
    Sep 19, 2014
    Central West Virginia
    Easter Eggers are usually pretty cold-hardy birds to my knowledge, so I'm sure she will be fine :) just give her a little box to get out of the wind.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by