Single digit weather! Need advise!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ashrich6, Dec 29, 2016.

  1. ashrich6

    ashrich6 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2014
    Salt Lake City, Utah

    I am in Salt Lake City and next week it is suppose to be a high of 12 and a low of -2. I am a little nervous about the girls. They are in a dry coop with hay and no heat lamp. I am just worried about the -2 degree part. Any tips or suggestions? Last year we rarely used the heat lamp. I don't want them to get use to the warmth and not be able to adjust to the drastic temps but with the -2 I might have to. The lamp is outside the coop, by their door. Thoughts?
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Flock Master Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    They will be fine without the heat lamp. They have been acclimating for several months already, growing their down coats to help keep them warm. If their coop is dry and well-ventilated, they have everything they need to stay warm. They will fluff up those down coats, trapping their body heat to themselves. It got down to -25 here a couple of weeks ago - it had been in the teens above 0 (these are Farenhiet temperatures) just days before, so that's a 30+ degree drop in temperature. They were in the coop, scratching and pecking around in the straw like it was any other day.
  3. ashrich6

    ashrich6 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2014
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Thank you for the response! I feel better :) haha for some reason, I am nervous this winter haha
  4. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    -23 below here last week. Mine are fine, and have been every year without supplemental heat.
  5. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Not only is there the strong temptation to use the heat lamp. But there is another temptation to shut the coop up tight and keep the heat in!

    As tough as it sounds, keep the ventilation open. Allowing damp warm air to leave the coop, keeps chickens dry, and dry chickens are warm chickens!

    Mrs K
  6. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Mine went through two stretches of single digits already this winter, one where it was down ten below zero F. Chickens do just fine bundled up in their classy down jackets.

    You might take a few simple precautions. If you have any individuals with rather large single combs, grease them up with Bag Balm. It may help to prevent moisture from condensing on the combs and freezing. The only casualty in my flock was my rooster's large comb. He got a bad case of frostbite. Even when that happens, it won't kill them.

    Another thing is to make sure the water is accessible without wattles getting dipped into it and becoming wet. Another is to rig something to catch the drips from nipple waterers so the water doesn't end up wetting chicken feet and freezing. I have my water tanks sitting on tree stumps and I screwed some old plastic ice trays to the wood stumps about ten inches below the nipples to catch the dribble.

    When it gets so cold the nipples freeze, I break out the gallon plastic waterers with the narrow basin that keeps wattles from dunking in the water.

    Other than frostbite on wattles, combs and feet that have gotten wet, chickens are freeze-proof as long as they have enough calories to fire up their inner boilers.
    1 person likes this.

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