Should I bring my birds inside during extreme cold?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by echildress81, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. echildress81

    echildress81 New Egg

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    May 21, 2013
    There have been a lot of very helpful posts about how to handle chickens in cold temperatures so thank you in advance to everyone who takes the time to reply! This is my first year with chickens and we only have 4 hens in a small backyard coop. We have had snow and temperatures in the 10s and 20s recently, but in the next few days it is predicted to be record cold – down to -35 at times! I don’t have the option to heat the hutch, but could move them into our basement where it is about 60 degrees. After reading the other posts on here, I worry that would be more detrimental to them than helpful? They have a little hutch that is closed on 4 sides (except for the opening for them to get in and out) and then a little run underneath that is surrounded by chicken wire. I have put a tarp up on 3 sides of the chicken wire run to protect from wind. They just stay in their little hutch when it is so cold and I worry they get bored (maybe that is silly), plus I don’t see them come down for water so I worry they aren’t drinking. What is the best way to handle these frigid temperatures in my little flock? Do nothing? I feed them their normal feed plus as much cracked corn as they want, and some cat food and suet for extra protein. Any ways to heat their hutch without electricity?
     
  2. TwoCrows

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

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    If they have made it this far, I would not go to the point of bringing them inside. You are correct, that would be more detrimental. However you might try to enclose their area completely. A coop does not have to be insulated for them to survive, even in the most brutal temps. Just so they can get out of the wind, rain and snow. But they should have a 4 walled, secure coop.

    However, if you are keeping their water outside, you say you don't see them coming out to get water. I would worry that the water is freezing. You either need to bring the water inside or use a heated waterer. Sometimes chickens need food and water in their faces and won't go searching for it. So try to make it more convenient for them. Becoming dehydrated can lead to egg binding and other health issues.
     
  3. echildress81

    echildress81 New Egg

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    May 21, 2013
    Sorry, good point. I should have said - I do have a heater for their water, but maybe I need to make it more available to them (i.e. more 'in their face'). I can do that!
     
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    I believe it would be detrimental to bring them inside. They have already been outside in the cold, and their bodies have been adjusting accordingly. To bring them in would be like you sitting in your heated house with your coat, boots, snow pants, gloves and hat on without the option of taking them off to be more comfortable. I would make the water more accessible if you can. They will be fine.
     

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