Roosting

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by bumble bee, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. bumble bee

    bumble bee New Egg

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    I have 2 hens and 1 rooster. I have a small coop with an attached run that is then surrounded by a very large dog pen. The coop has no place for the birds to roost so they sleep outside on top of the run and are doing fine. They do this even when it is 20 degrees outside. When I go out to supply new water and feed in the morning they are frisky and running around but usually have frost on their backs! Anyway, my concern is that here in Middle TN in the next few days it is going to be very cold. The low on Monday night is supposed to be around 1 degree. Are my birds going to freeze to death? Should I close them up in the coop? Should I try to hurry and build a new shelter with a roost in it? Any advice from anyone is greatly appreciated! Thank you!
     
  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    In my opinion, if they have acclimated to the temps so far this long, then they will probably be fine. Yes, they will probably be very cold, but they will survive. Most likely, since they are used to sleeping out of doors, would probably be uncomfortable being cooped up. BUT...all this being said, if I were in your position, I would work to get them indoors eventually. At some point, some predator could get them in the night. I would also be worried about frost bite at some point.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2014
  3. Bogtown Chick

    Bogtown Chick Overrun With Chickens

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    Your birds would no doubt survive a 1 degree night outside. But being dry in a draft free shelter for a night like that would be more comfortable for them. And safer, as Two Crows has said. Is there any way to nail a roosting board in your coop so they can keep their toes warm? That may make it more appealing for a sleeping/roosting spot as well.
     
  4. bumble bee

    bumble bee New Egg

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    Jul 25, 2013
    I went home for lunch today and 2 of them were actually in the coop! I am going to do my best to coax them to stay in the coop but I don't think I will close them up inside. I'm going to position the opening of coop where the wind won't blow in the door as much. Thank you for your comments and I am definitely going to check into improving my coop situation.
     
  5. bumble bee

    bumble bee New Egg

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    I'm sorry to sound so dumb but what do you mean by a roosting board? The inside of the coop is probable only 2 feet from the floor to the ceiling. Would I just nail a board to the floor or just barely above it? This is my first winter with chickens and it is rare that it gets down to 1 degree in my area. I appreciate your help!
     
  6. CasadasHens

    CasadasHens Out Of The Brooder

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    In one of my smaller coops, I just have a roosting bar made from 3 sticks of wood (thin branches). 2 are for the uprights, the 3rd goes across to make a perch. I just lashed it together with string. The uprights rest against the wall of the coop and the hens roost on the perch which is about 9 inches off floor level. Once you have got bits of wood cut to size, just takes 5 minutes to make. I probably could have used screws, but lashing is easier for me.
     
  7. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    A roosting bar can be large tree branches, 2x4's or even platforms. I would be also concerned that they could die of exposure. Not able to produce enough heat to survive 1 degree, especially if it snows. I would do your best to coax them into the coop. Even if they sleep on the floor.
     
  8. bumble bee

    bumble bee New Egg

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    I just don't understand why they won't go in and stay when it is so cold out. All I can think of is that it is the lack of a place to roost. Again thank you for your opinions :)
     
  9. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Chickens love to roost. Especially up high. So they may be trying to get up as high as they can outside. Try putting some roost bars up in your coop. Lock them inside for one full day and night so they get comfortable with the new digs and maybe they will roost at night in the coop.

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2014
  10. Bogtown Chick

    Bogtown Chick Overrun With Chickens

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    It sounds like they are finding the coop attractive with the lowering temps. [​IMG] This is a good thing. Even if the coop is 2 feet high, yes you could just make a roost say 6 inches off the ground, 2 to 4 inches wide to curl their toes around would be good inside the coop. They say the broadside of a 2 x 4 is best for cold temps (this is what I use). Make sure you leave venting holes open in your small coop though...as condensation from breathing warm birds will give frostbite in the cold.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2014

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