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Providing Warmth for Leghorns in Winter

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by tinkerbelle, Aug 15, 2010.

  1. tinkerbelle

    tinkerbelle Hatching

    Jul 29, 2010
    Hi There

    I'm new to this forum and new to the Northern mountains of Vermont. Last May we got chickens and because the climate is so harsh here, I checked out the neighbors' flocks to see what breeds would tolerate the long cold winter. We decided on RI Reds, Orpingtons & Leghorns. I ordered them from the local feed store and they have done very well. However, as the Leghorns have gotten older, I've noticed they are NOT Rosecomb Leghorns. I'm not happy with the feed store because I was told I was getting Rosecomb Leghorns. That aside I have 5 healthy birds and want to provide a warm happy place for them this winter.

    I just insulated the coop really well, provided perches wide enough so they can keep their feet warm.... and when it starts getting cold, plan to section off part of the roosting area to trap the heat from a heat lamp. Also, I read applying glycerine to their combs help to prevent frostbite.... I also read I could put a hood on them (Yes, I am making them winter hats!).

    So, my questions are:

    Am I doing all I can to keep these chickens warm? Would it be best to just find a new home for them somewhere in a warmer climate? Also, should I worry about my other chickens getting frostbite/cold?

    I have 1 Rhode Island Red, 5 Orpingtons, 5 Leghorns and I will be chicken sitting 4 other birds over winter for a friend who lost most of her flock recently (Not sure what breed, but she said winter-hardy). My coop is roughly 7x7x8 and is insulated with R19 and R22 fiberglass insulation. It sits on stilts about 2 feet off the ground and I live a few miles from Canada at the foot of a mountain.

    All feed back appreciated! My chickens thank you!

  2. Kismet

    Kismet Songster

    Jul 3, 2008
    New Hampshire, USA
    The most important thing is keeping your chickens dry and out of drafts. They will be just fine. Don't close your coop up too much, because ventilation is vital to their health. Without it, condensation forms and water drips down on your hens - pneumonia can develop. There is a very informative thread on here about ventilation from Pat who lives in Nova Scotia, I think. It is worth reading several times. I'll see if I can find the link.

    Unless you use it for a brooder with baby chicks, I would not use a heat lamp. Three reasons immediately occur: expensive, fire hazard, and it creates dependency. Chickens are hardy birds and they will huddle together if it is really cold.

    I had a Blue Andulusian cock who had an incredible comb. On the coldest nights I would put Vaseline on his comb, but I think it made me feel better than it did him. I also have been known to feed warm oatmeal on cold weekend mornings, because I hate the cold and was feeling sorry for them. Again, not something they needed, but it made me feel good. I would take my hot coffee out and sit and watch them - now that did have purpose - if anything was amiss, I noticed it.
    1 person likes this.
  3. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Welcome to BYC. I wish I could help you. Ours is just the opposite, extreme heat. There are plenty of BYC'ers here who live up north that I'm sure will help you! Good luck.

    NYREDS Crowing

    Jan 14, 2008
    I'm in upstate NY & I don't know if our winters equal yours but they're pleanty cold enough for me. Twenty below isn't uncommon.
    I've had Leghorns at various times & they've done fine. The only problem I ever had with them was the male's combs freezing. This was never a problem for the females.
  5. featherz

    featherz Veggie Chick

    Mar 22, 2010
    Saratoga County, NY
    Oh good to know. I live in upstate NY also and have four leghorn pullets. I didn't do my research early enough just picked 'I want eggs' and there ya go. [​IMG] So do I need to coat the pullet combs with vaseline or not? Our coops have tons of ventilation.

    NYREDS Crowing

    Jan 14, 2008
    Quote:I've never coated any combs with Vaseline & I'm not convinced it offers much protection from the cold.

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