REALLY cold weather

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Kathie816, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. Kathie816

    Kathie816 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 21, 2013
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    We are expecting temps as low as -15 to -20 next week. How cold hardy are cold hardty chickens? Two Buff Orps and a Rhode Island Red share a tractor coop. My chicken dealer (I'm new) said they don't need any heat source during the winter, but seriously??
     
  2. MaineMooseChick

    MaineMooseChick Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 19, 2013
    I live in northwestern Maine and we've already seen -30 air temps and -60 windchills. I also was told by several people in the area that have chickens that it was not necessary to insulate their coop. One lady told me that her chickens get frostbite on their combs, but otherwise are usually fine. She says once in a while she'll find one poor frozen chicken that had died during the night. Well, needless to say, I went ahead and fully insulated my coop. I have a 250 watt red heat bulb in there to boot, and it is still cold in there. I use wood shavings as a substrate and even insulated under the floor, and the poo and shavings is completely frozen. It's -11 here right now and the wind is blowing and I feel so bad for the poor things. I too have cold hardy chickens: 9 red stars and 6 buff orpingtons. Despite the cold wave we've had, they seem to be alright. I just didn't have the heart to leave them in an uninsulated coop knowing what kind of winters we have. But that's just me.
     
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  3. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Uninsulated and no heat here in Northern NH. Got to -20F mid December, today's high was 1F and will dip to -16 or so tonight. No worries. I've never lost a bird to cold weather. Summer heat? Yes, was not diligent enough refreshing cold drinking water and lack of ample shade. Lost a black Rock.

    I've no idea why people state the wind chill. Yes wind does matter if your in the elements but your run should have the prevailing wind sides covered with a tarp hence the wind does not matter. And there should not be "wind" in your coop. For bragging rights I'll say the wind chill was -25F while I was bringing water to the chickens this morning.
     
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  4. queenofrichmond

    queenofrichmond Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 10, 2013
    Chickens need some cold and ventilation to avoid sickness in the winter. I live in Wisconsin and we do not heat our coop.
    My bantams i do take to the garage hutch when its so low because of how small they are. Still no heat.
    If they get too used to heat and the bulb burns out they can parrish. They need to adjust.
    Ive been feeding oatmeal mash, worms and cracked corn to help them heat them selves.

    Its below zero and they will just huddle together.
     
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  5. Naturegirl44

    Naturegirl44 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 11, 2013
    Powassan, Ontario
    Its been -25c to -32c every day here in Northern Ontario (NW Algonquin Park area) for the last week and we don't have an insulated coop. Being first time chicken parents we were really worried. We put straw bales around the outside of the coop for a bit of insulation. We have a small heater hanging from the ceiling but it doesn't do much as the water is frozen every morning. (its hanging right over the water) They get a new fresh bucket of water every morning and again at about 5:30pm before it gets really dark. I have found that the pine chips are a pain in the butt! frozen solid!! so I have started using straw in the nesting boxes instead.
    So far so good! they seem really happy and comfortable. I screwed a meal worm suet to the wall and they are peeking away at it. I have heard suets should only be used in really cold weather for added fat so it won't be a regular thing. I have also added black oil sunflower seeds to there feed and scratch and they love them!!
    Today I gave them a dinner treat. lol they ate it all in 5 minutes flat!! (I have 15 hens and 1 Roo)

    It has a can of cooked ham, chopped up bread, blueberries, sunflower seeds, celery and lettuce topped up with some probiotic yogurt lol

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Black oil seeds are a great winter treat. It's all I feed extra in winter excepting when I'm cleaning out storage containers from the fridge. A few handfuls of those seeds is a great source of fat, can be as much as 30% fat and still has 14% protein. Excellent cold day source of energy for converting to body heat.

    Alright, I got to do some math here...-32C is...-25.6F. Yup, that be COLD.
     
  7. Naturegirl44

    Naturegirl44 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    lol yup its darn cold alright!! with wind chill its about -39c!!! bbbrrrr we are going through a serious cold spell that is not normal....these temps are usually February for a few weeks but to have it this early for this amount of time is seriously frigid man lol poor chickens.

    I plan on going to buy a huge bag of the black oil sunflower seeds tomorrow and make it a regular part of their winter feed. I bought a small bag last week as a treat but have since read, and heard from people like yourself, how good it is for them in winter.
     
  8. dandelionheart

    dandelionheart Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lafayette, Indiana
    Our heater that goes under the waterer is having a very hard time with these super cold temperatures, and it is going to get even colder! I've been pouring hot water on the frozen ring, then lifting it out. What other options are there?
     
  9. fiberart57

    fiberart57 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've not had much luck with those water heaters, if you read the specs some are only good to 15 degrees. A heated dog water bowl is a better option. I've never had mine freeze completely.

    Three chickens in a coop might be okay depending upon how big the tractor house is. If they're snug and can heat each other, they should be okay. If there's more room than, say 12 square feet, you might try to protect them. Buffs and RRs are pretty cold tolerant, but have their limits.

    I've had success by boiling water, pouring it into a one gallon plastic container, water jug is fine, and burying it in the sawdust or shavings up to the cap. It actually has stayed liquid at 15 below here in Colorado throughout the night. Water loses its heat more slowly, so the bigger the container, like two gallon maybe, the better.

    Good luck, stay warm, Mary
     
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  10. Naturegirl44

    Naturegirl44 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 11, 2013
    Powassan, Ontario
    not having a water heater like yours, I am not sure what other options we have. I read about putting a plastic golf ball in the water to float around. Apparently it keeps the water moving and breaks it up hence less freezing. We did that for awhile until one really cold morning the golf ball was frozen solid in the water lol

    I am just extra vigilant until this cold snap breaks and go out a few times a day to change the water with a fresh bucket full.
     

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