Severe temps?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ydkjenn, Dec 13, 2016.

  1. ydkjenn

    ydkjenn Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 27, 2013
    For the next few days we will have temperatures in the negatives. High of 5F with wind chills -15 to -20. Low temps even colder. This is the first winter with half our flock and a couple are still molting, especially around their heads and necks. The rest of the flock is almost three. This is the first winter it's getting this cold. I 'winterized' the coop the best I could by puttin clear plastic over the Windows and door to try to eliminate drafts (there's still plenty of vents at the top of the coop). With these kinds of temps, is there anything else I should be doing?
  2. dragonthehunter

    dragonthehunter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 8, 2016
    New brunswick Canada
    If you have any birds with big crowns Put Petroleum jelly on their crowns and waddles so they dont get frostbite
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Not much you can do but keep the wind off them, but maintain good ventilation, as you have already done....and make sure they have liquid water at all times.
    When it's that cold I check on them more often, maybe throw out a bit of scratch grains to check their mobility.
    Petroleum jelly will not do much to protect against frostbite...and applying it might just stress them out.
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    That sounds like you are going to have some pretty strong winds to get those wind chills. My forecast includes single digits with wind chill below 0 F in a few days. Not as bad as yours but I’m not looking forward to it.

    My chickens don’t like a cold wind hitting them. I leave the pop door open during the day and let them decide if they want to go out or not. If they can get out of the wind, they go out. If they can’t, they stay in. If you can create a wind-protected area in the run, assuming you don’t already have one, it can help reduce boredom, especially if your coop is small or crowded. I have a corner where the coop and a solid gate created a protected area. They are often out in that when a cold wind is blowing.

    I have some in molt too, one in particular is pretty bare. I’m not planning on doing anything special for her, I’ve had hens in molt go through similar stuff before. It’s never been a problem.

    I don’t know what you are doing to see that they have water. I use black rubber bowls and set those in the sun, when I have sunshine. In good sun those stay thawed in the teens. Since they are rubber I can bust the ice out without breaking the bowl. But think on your water situation.
  5. ydkjenn

    ydkjenn Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 27, 2013
    There's about 3-4 inches of snow on the ground, which probably won't be melting any time soon with these temps. I opened the run door yesterday and it didn't look like anyone went out in the snow, except for a very small bare patch near the coop wall. The coop itself is a 6' x8' garden shed with only 9 chickens so I think I'll just keep the run door closed when it gets colder as they have plenty of room to move around. I'll need to put some boredom busters in the coop then.
    I just have a typical plastic waterer that hangs. It freezes up most days by the afternoon. I will have to look into an alternative. :-/
  6. I am in Alberta, Canada........I run a cord to my Coop and run a heat lamp all winter.....Never summer in the coop....My water ices up but my Birds do great......I also have sand on the coop floor....less of a fire hazard....

  7. RichM

    RichM Just Hatched

    Sep 7, 2016
    I am also a bit worried about the upcoming weekend. It's going to get down to 2 degrees and we are using a rather cheap chinese made small coop for 3 birds. This is my first winter with them so I'm a little nervous about it.
  8. That is not Cold......They will be fine.....

  9. wyofam

    wyofam Just Hatched

    Jun 12, 2016
    I have same the same concerns. It has been about 20 below here in Wyoming and isn't expected to get a lot warmer. My coop is insulated and the water has never frozen with my bucket heater but my chickens Coombs did get frost bit. When I looked in my coop last night there was blood splattered all over the coop I would assume from a bleeding comb. I checked everybody out and couldn't find an open wound but I am very concerned now about the cold. I placed a heat lamp in the coop last night and will keep it in there until the lows reach the teens. I read so much stuff that says don't heat the coop but I can't imagine frostbite can be good for the birds. I want them used to the cold but not being injured. they seem to be laying everyday even in extreme weather. They seem to do fine with the teens but single digits and below zero seems like torture. Would love to hear advice from other cold weather people. This is my first winter with the chickens.
  10. I run heat all winter for my Birds.......The other posters can back off a bit when telling Chicken people to not run heat......Chickens do get COLD, they suffer stress only because of no heat......

    Ask me......I will say, always run heat and have vents open.........I wont sit in my warm house while any of my animals are outside struggling to keep warm.....I do not care how thick their feather are......


BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by