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REALLY cold weather

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Kathie816, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. Kathie816

    Kathie816 In the Brooder

    May 21, 2013
    We are expecting temps as low as -15 to -20 next week. How cold hardy are cold hardy 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. Ghenri

    Ghenri In the Brooder

    Oct 15, 2013
    I have six very small chickens and this is their first winter (we are new too). Yesterday was -28 Celsius with windchill. My chickens don't seem affected by it very much! You only have two chickens? Do the snuggle together in the night? We have zero heat source in the coop and they have survived so far. Put down lots of hay, and sometimes I give them extra food in the night to fill their bellies. If the wind is really high you could put a bale of hay on the walls of the coop. Putting a heat lamp up is risky sometimes, considering most coops are made of wood. Hope this helps.
  3. BurchFunnyFarm

    BurchFunnyFarm In the Brooder

    Jan 3, 2014
    Deweyville, Texas
    I would definitely give them a heat source! Either make sure their coop/shelter is able to be closed at night and full of clean warm bedding and draft free. It would be even better if you could put a heat lamp for them and base the bulb on the amount of space you have. I don't know how big your coop is or how drafty it is, but I would be alarmed if it was -20 in my coop. During the day when they are up and active they will probably be okay, but I wouldn't leave them in that weather at night.
  4. Ghenri

    Ghenri In the Brooder

    Oct 15, 2013

    Somehow mine do fine in this weather, without a heat source. I think if the coop is insulated with lots of hay they will do fine. If a heating lamp is an option, then go for that, but if not I wouldn't worry. Mine stay huddled all night and they are fine.
  5. Flora Vale Fowl

    Flora Vale Fowl In the Brooder

    Apr 16, 2013
    Mount Savage, MD
    My Coop
    If you read extensively, across the boards, from all the old timer experienced poultry keepers, you'll find that don't recommend any heating at all. It dangerous, for your birds and you.
  6. ChucktheChick

    ChucktheChick Songster

    Sep 24, 2012
    The coop
    If your birds stay together and your coop is sealed, they will be ok. Heat causes a fire hazard for you and your birds, but heating is a personal choice. Good luck!
  7. ten chicks

    ten chicks Songster

    May 9, 2013
    Best advice i can give is observe your birds,only you know if the cold is becoming an issue. When deciding whether to heat/not heat your coop,you have to factor in what breeds of chickens you have,how many chickens you have and your climate. What system works for one person,may not work for another. Pay no attention to what others say as you are the only person who will know if the cold is causing them issues.

    I heat my coops,but b/c of the severe cold i have been experiencing lately,my birds are now in the house. I have a small flock of 10(6 silkies and 4 orpingtons)so it is easy to bring them in. They have the run of a converted mudroom into their coop.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014
    2 people like this.

  8. Janet Pesaturo

    Janet Pesaturo Chirping

    Sep 30, 2013
    Bolton, MA, USA
    If you are providing draft free (but well ventilated), dry conditions with plenty of food and water, and thick, soft dry bedding, they can tolerate that level of cold quite well, except for maybe frostbite to the combs. The best protection against that is to keep birds with rose, walnut, or pea combs. The body type and feathering of the birds you have are good for overall cold tolerance, but single combs are more vulnerable to frostbite.
  9. Mammachix

    Mammachix In the Brooder

    Sep 14, 2013
    Hi, I posted elsewhere too, but it looks like our rooster got a few small spots of frostbite last night, despite clean bedding, no water in the coop at night, no drafts, etc. It was about negative five outside. We put vaseline on his comb and wattles, but still too cold for him. The hens and guinea hens seem just fine by the way, but we went and got Mr. Big Guy a small space heater for tonight, as it's supposed to be even colder out. It's up to 23 inside the coop, so hope that preserves his studly good looks (that's what his girls say at least).

    I read a lot of older posts from people up in Canada who swear by no heat, and we have gone with that. But, I hate to see our great rooster lose his comb if I can help him out a bit. We plan to turn the heater off when the temp outside goes back up into the teens. We ended up getting a small forced air heater than automatically shuts off when tipped over, so no worries about fire.

    Stay warm!
  10. Ghenri

    Ghenri In the Brooder

    Oct 15, 2013
    Yeah, that definitely seems best. It's strange that the chicken isn't responding well at all to the heat, and if it's only -5 out and there is no draft in the coop it's weird that it got frostbite. Wish you the best with the heater and I hope your chicken is feeling better. I always keep my fingers crossed with the cold weather we get in Canada :)

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