Scared they are too cold....!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by fushalilly, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. fushalilly

    fushalilly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 9, 2008
    Rhode Island
    Here in RI is is about -2 degrees. I have three Black Star hens. They have a small draft free well constructed coop with TONS of hay to nest in inside of it. There is a small tiny light in there but it gives off no heat. The water in the coop is constanatly freezing so twice a day I change it with warm water. Obviosly, the temperature in the coop is below freezing temperatures.

    What kills me is that rather than being in the draft free coop, the three of them keep leaving to run around the freezing snow covered yard. I put vaseline on there large combs yesterday night, but it seems it came off since this morning.

    Should I be concerned? How much cold can they take?! I am very nervous about them. What can I do!?
     
  2. rooster0209

    rooster0209 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 7, 2008
    North Dakota
    It was -35 here this morning. I wouldnt mind -2F

    I think you are doing great with your birds. They have a draft free coop, bedding, food & water. Can you put a heated dog dish out for them to keep the water from freezing? If you keep water avail every few hours they will do fine too. I wish I could vaseline combs but my chickens wont let me get that close. Besides, their bodies are insulated with down feathers, if out of the wind they will be fine.

    I guess if they are running around the cold yard, they arent very cold.
     
  3. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    I was somewhat dismayed that some folks were suggesting that subzero temperatures were of little concern back before we began to have subzero temperatures. I've also noted that at least one of these chicken-keepers now has fewer chickens to keep because of deaths related to severe cold.

    Fushalilly, it became obvious to me many years ago that chickens are under some stress when temps go below zero but I don't think the behavior of your birds indicates that it is too difficult for them, so I agree with the Rooster.

    I leave my birds in the coop when it is below zero.

    Good feed and plenty of it is important. About the best that I can determine, my hens increase their consumption about 30% above summertime when the temps are at freezing. And, yes it freezes in my tight/insulated/unheated coop when it goes below about 15°F nights/days.

    I change out the ice for water in the morning, then around 4 PM if it's frozen, and finally about 8 PM. The light goes off at 9 PM and I think that evening water and feed is really important.

    Steve

    Edited to add: Rooster 0209 has a husband?!?
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2009
  4. rooster0209

    rooster0209 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 7, 2008
    North Dakota
    rooster0209 is a girl [​IMG] ands its not because i have red hair either [​IMG]

    I have not opened my coop in almost two weeks. Its too darn cold











    my mom nicknamed my doxie rooster when she was young because she got up at dawn to go pee and the whole house got up with her. by the time you got yourself a cup of coffee, she was snoozing in your lap. At 14 she is not so ready to get up that early. 02-09 (95) is her birthday.
    Maybe I should change my name
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2009
  5. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Tell you what, Rooster0209,

    What I really notice is your avatar. I hope you don't change that, I'm sure that it has real appeal to more than just 1 BYC'er. Whatever you do, don't replace it with a snarling dachshund (unless she has a cute ribbon behind her ear, or maybe a pink scarf for this time of year [​IMG]).

    The addition of a really feminine name like: Stevie, could help avoid any any confusion.

    Steve
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2009
  6. Mrs MIA

    Mrs MIA Chick Magnet

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    Mar 3, 2008
    Everyone's situation/conditions are different, so best thing is to watch your hens for signs of discomfort. As someone who lives in the extreme cold temps (and yes, I lost one very small young chicken to the effects of cold out of about 100 birds - it happens sometimes despite your best efforts) I can vouch for the fact that they seem to be pretty comfortable outside at temps around 0 to -10°F... I had several hens that chose to sleep outside at 0F (I have pop-doors covered with towels that are open all the time, even at -35°F). Any colder or windier than -10°F and they start staying inside on their own. But just because they can handle those temps, doesn't necessarily mean they can handle them for long periods of time (weeks). You'll be amazed at how low the temps will go before they start showing signs of discomfort, but watch them... you'll know when it's too cold for them because they won't be outside anymore, and they'll huddle together and cover their feet. [​IMG] With the nice coop setup it sounds like you have, though, they should be fine for a few days. If it stays at that temp, though, you might need to help them out with a little heat.
    Good luck!
     

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