Should I bring my chickens in the house?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Secretlyspotted, Jan 4, 2014.

  1. Secretlyspotted

    Secretlyspotted Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 22, 2013
    Carrollton GA
    I live in GA and it is getting coolllddd here tomorrow night! Like a low of 12 degrees F! I know that is downright balmy to some of you Canadian folks, but that is the coldest it has been here in years. I have four chickens in a fairly large coop. I don't have a heat lamp and I'm not interested in getting one. But should I let them have a one night only stay in the house? I have a dog kennel they could sleep in. My GA hens are not used to this weather!!! If the general consensus is that they will be fine, I would rather leave them out. But, I don't want to wake up on Tuesday morning to four chicken-icicle pops.
  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Just make sure your coop is dry, draft free and clean. You might clean out the coop and put down fresh bedding, maybe bed them deeper than you would, as you don't want any moisture from old poop. Do NOT close off all your venting so that the moisture from the breathing and poop can STILL rise and leave the coop instead of falling back down on the combs as frost.

    You might tack an old towel or piece of carpeting to the roost bar to keep the feet warm. Warm feet mean warmer birds.

    Bringing them inside will make them more uncomfortable than to leave them out in the coop. They will be much happier out there.

    They should be fine. Chickens can take brutal temps. And all over the country they are in the deep freeze tonight. Good luck!
  3. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Flock Master Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    How cool has it gotten so far? I think they would be fine in their coop for one night. But then, I'm in MN and expecting lows of -30 tonight and tomorrow night, so who am I to say what your chickens can handle? I just think that if you have already had cooler weather, they have been acclimating and will be OK. They'll puff up to trap the warm air in between their feathers and down and probably cuddle together on the roost. When I checked on mine this evening, that's where they all were - snuggled up together on their "roosts". Some roost in the rafters, some on top of the nest boxes, but everyone had someone close by. [​IMG]

    TwoCrows has good advice - do not block off the vents. They need good airflow to keep the humidity in the coop down, or they stand a greater chance of getting frostbite.
  4. Secretlyspotted

    Secretlyspotted Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 22, 2013
    Carrollton GA
    Thanks for your responses!! Tonight will be the REALLY cold night- lows in the single digits. I can't even remember when it has been that cold here. But I think I will leave them in the coop. We have decent sized windows on the coop, but I'm gonna cover the one they sleep in front of with some plastic sheeting. Good idea? No? Even if I block off one window there are three others to let moisture out. Their coop is bedded in sand, so I don't think adding more of that would make a difference, and I don't have any anyway. And only one of my girls has a comb and wattles. One has a pea comb and the other two are the slowest developing pullets ever.
    Now I just need to psych myself up to go clean out the coop with highs in the 20s today! Yikes. How in the world do you Northerners do it?! I would take temps over 100 any day.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I agree with the others. Yours should be OK outside. Just try to set it up so the wind does not hit them on the roosts. Think “wind chill”. I don’t know how your coop is laid out or what your ventilation looks like, but you might need to block off more than one window.

    How do northerners handle it? It’s all in what you get used to and how you set up your coop. I used to work in -20 Fahrenheit weather. As long as you dressed for it and the wind was not blowing, it wasn’t bad once you got used to it. If you don’t have the clothes and are not used to it, even what you are seeing can be vicious.

    Where you are, heat in summer is more a danger than cold in winter, even this cold snap. It sounds like you are counting on windows at the level they are sleeping for ventilation. If so, I’d suggest sometime before summer you put in some permanent ventilation above their roosts to let the hot air out. Maybe a roof vent, a gable vent, or cut out some area under an overhang and frame that in with hardware cloth to stop predators. Ammonia and hot air rises. Ventilation over their heads really helps get rid of both and any breezes from that is over their heads. You can block off the windows in cold weather and you are covered. You can open those windows in the summer and you are covered.

    Something else to consider. Some people a lot further north than you have coops with one wall totally wire. As long as the chickens are roosting back in that protected alcove formed by the three solid walls, they are OK. I’ve seen chickens sleep outside in trees in zero degree weather. These chickens were not on a dead tree limb overlooking a ridge top squawking defiantly in the teeth of a blizzard. That would be a Disney cartoon. They were in a protected valley in a thicket out of the worst of the wind. It’s things like this that make me think your chickens will be fine.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by