Raising Chickens at 10,000 feet?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by GlacierNan, Mar 22, 2008.

  1. GlacierNan

    GlacierNan Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 22, 2008
    Colorado
    I live in the Rockies and want to raise egg layers.
    Is that so crazy??
    I have info on good cold weather breeds, but I am hoping to actually hear from some one that has been successful at getting eggs and keeping your flock happy!
    When I ask around here I get the strangest looks! I have checked my teeth in the mirror incase lunch hung around longer than I thought!
    Do I open the coop and let them out in the winter?
    Do they have enough common sense to know when to stay in?
    Things like that I have no idea about, darn it and I really want home grown eggs!
    Help Me Pleeaassee!!
     
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Welcome!

    Tell us a bit more about your weather patterns. What are the lows in the winter?

    If it is really cold, you'll just have to make a bigger insulated coop to keep your girls in when it gets too cold. Draft free and ventilated are two keys to keeping birds at cold temps. I would suggest a heavier dual purpose breed without single combs which can be prone to frost bite. Something like a Dominique or cochin. However, these breeds won't lay as many eggs as a sexlink or production red. If they have a sheltered place to go, their single combs aren't that large so they may work out just fine. Since you want just egg layers, I'm sure it can be done. Meat birds would have oxygen problems. Best of luck!
     
  3. d.k

    d.k red-headed stepchild

    *Light plays a significant role in the production of eggs, too, so you may need to consider full-spectrum lighting to 'lengthen the day' for your hens.
     
  4. GlacierNan

    GlacierNan Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 22, 2008
    Colorado
    Living at 10,00 feet is an adventure!
    Our weather is pretty consistent.
    The snow is mostly gone by Mid June, hails each afternoon in June, July, and first two weeks in August. Last two weeks it is actual rain. The highs are aroung 55-65, with early AM temps about 30-45. September the day temps are still up there and it is beautiful. Not too much wind during summer and Fall (Fall =Sept and first week of Oct). October starts the wind and it blows steady through till end of March, then it just visits us two or three times a week. The pines don't grow branches on the windy side of the tree.
    The winter temps go down to -10 to -15 or so for a month at a time, well, mostly all of Dec and Jan. Then they climb up to 0 to 20, which is when we break into song.

    So the weather is pretty cold and very windy during most of the winter. I do have a good coop and run area that was used by previous owners as dog run. However it is sort of shaded and partially exposed to the wind. It could be in a much more exposed location, but where it is is the best possible place. We live on a mountain with Pine all around, and did I mention we have wind?

    So any information you have to share would be terrific! Thanks!!
     
  5. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    I have a friend who lives in Colorado at 9600 ft. She's had laying hens as long as I've known her which is 25+ years. I think they're free to go out in the winter, but I'm sure it's the same there as it is here.....when the weather is bad they probably don't care to go out as much. Her hen house is down by one of their cattle barns and pens so I'm sure the hens make use of that area too. I know lack of enough daylight hours is an issue for her hens laying just like it is for mine.
     
  6. MountainRoseBud

    MountainRoseBud New Egg

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    Feb 26, 2013
    We've just ordered 3 Road Island Red's from a friend that purchased a few dozen. We live in Dillon, almost 9,300 feet. We've got a well build green house, and plan on keeping the chickens in there. It's been very exciting to read about raising chickens in extreme temperatures. We didn't expect to keep them past October, but now I'm hoping we can. I forget sometimes that birds live outside year round up here, so with a little care and extra warmth, they can be just fine. I raised chickens through the winter in Fairplay 5 years ago through the summer, but we slaughtered them in the winter, so I hope to keep these little ladies through this time. I'd be excited to see some updates on this post, and as the next season comes, I'll be sure to post successes, failures, and experiences of our three little birds! :) Happy farming everyone!
     

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