Sad Update : Chicken may not be tolerating the cold well. . .

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by KristyAz, Jan 13, 2015.

  1. KristyAz

    KristyAz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a tiny little easter egger, she is a runt I'm sure because she is so much smaller than the others, hatched 6/16/2014, so about 7 months old. Anyway, the past few mornings she has been very, very vocal when I've gone out there to open up the coop. She will not go out into the run for food or water at first, so I grab her and bring her out. Today, she ran right back in and when I went through the people door, she ran over to me squawking like crazy.

    It's cold here in Northern Indiana, right now it is 2 degrees with snow on the ground.

    Against my better judgment, I brought her in to have a bite to eat and get some water with vitamins and electrolytes, and some warmth, but I don't want her to stay inside for long this morning because I don't want any trouble out there with the other girls when she goes back out and I don't want her to lose any acclimation she has for the cold weather. She started eating and drinking right away.

    I'm I doing the right thing?
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I would leave her out, going from cold to warm to cold (and a new environment) is stressful...not helpful when they are already stressed from dealing with the cold.

    Put the food and water in the coop where it's dry and out of any wind or precipitation.

    Is she laying? Maybe getting ready to start, they act pretty goofy around then.

    Tell us more about your flock, coop, feeds, pecking orders etc. so we can help figure out what her behavior might be indicating.
     
  3. KristyAz

    KristyAz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You have a good point. I'm getting ready to take her back out there. I only wanted to bring her in long enough to get some food down her. She doesn't seemed stressed at all and has eaten good (actually is still eating) and had a good amount water. She isn't acting sick at all.

    I have about 70ish chickens out there ranging in age from 1 or 2 years old to 7 months old. Although she is small, she does fine, has a sassy attitude, hangs with everyone else, and no one picks on her. She has not layed yet, they are all still a bit young in my experience with easter eggers, only 7 months old.

    I feed them layer crumble. The coop is very nice, we built it last year. I cannot remember the size, but plenty enough space for the 70 and room for more. It's a frame built structure.

    I do have 2 built in brooders out there as well, empty at the moment.

    Here she is, in case you wanted to see her.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I bet she's getting ready to lay...but who knows why chickens act goofy sometimes.<shrug>
     
  5. KristyAz

    KristyAz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh my gosh, they are ridiculous. Always something and I always have a chicken story.

    Thank you for the reply. She is back outside now.
     
  6. mortie

    mortie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She probably doesn't care much for the snow. This is my chickens' first winter and they don't care for it and some of them are more finicky about it than others. I have one that only leaves the coop to drink. 2 degrees isn't much bother to a fully feathered chicken. Mine have been in -30 or so and the only sign they show is they stand on one leg sometimes. I'd leave her outside. You can put food and water near her if you like but I have found with mine that they'll go outside to get their water when they get thirsty, even if they would prefer not to.
     
  7. KristyAz

    KristyAz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, most of mine do not like to touch the snow, so I shovel the run for them, they are spoiled rotten chickens. I'm glad to know that 2 degrees doesn't feel as cold to them as to us. That makes me feel better.

    I do have one though who will trek through the snow from the coop to way over on the side of my house to lay an egg. I only know this because when it snowed I saw her tracks across the yard. There were 4 eggs over there. All frozen and cracked. Now I'm on to her and I get them before it's too late [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2015
  8. mortie

    mortie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would shovel if we had more than a couple of inches in the run (it's kinda covered, we have several inches on the ground just not in the run) but right now there is just a firmly packed coating on the ground where everyone has been walking in the run. Most of them just don't like snow period. Doesn't seem to matter if it's a dusting or a couple of inches. I've been lucky enough to not have to shovel the run at all but I'm sure I'll have to before this is all over.

    My princess bird will sit in the doorway of the coop at the top of the ramp and watch everyone else eat treats but I know when she gets thirsty enough she'll come down. She's a good girl, lays almost every day. She misses a day every couple of weeks. Dainty though lol.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I shovel part of my run too.
    Why did the woman shovel the chicken run??......to get to the other end!
    It's partially for access to outside of the pop door, partially for easier access to run mesh in case of snow load problems......
    ........and partially for birds to be able to wander around a bit, coop gets 'smaller' as the winter goes on.

    We've gotten 2 feet of snow in the last week or two......if I don't keep parts cleared we could be locked in and/or out for a few months.

    Most of mine won't walk on the snow at all, there are 2-3 who will if it's not more than 1/4" deep.
    Most will come out if I spread a bit of straw around, almost wonder if it's more of a visual thing rather than a cold feet thing.
     
  10. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    I picked up on the mention of feeding this little pre-layer layer feed. All of your pre-layers should not be exposed to layer feed until they actually begin to lay. It's a simple matter to switch to a high-protein all purpose flock raiser feed during this period, with oyster shell on the side for those that require the extra calcium.

    I commend you for being able to monitor 70 chickens and being able to see when one is uncomfortable. Do they have an area that is sheltered from the wind when they go out of the coop? I think the others have pretty much advised you on how to handle your little, cold sensitive girl, and I'm glad you understand how exposure to extremes of temperature can be more harmful than the freezing cold.

    You could hang a heat lamp in the coop if you think this little pullet or others may need a place to come inside to take the chill off. I have a couple who are going through a very difficult molt, and they spend a lot of time warming up under the heat lamp I've hung for them out in their run. It doesn't heat the entire area, just the space directly underneath. It seems to be enough for them, and for my peace of mind, also.

    Is it just me, or is this winter harsher than usual?
     

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