1. imnukensc

    imnukensc Crowing

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    SC Midlands
    Birds don't need a 2X4 laid flat to keep their feet warm at night. Ask the chicken on the steering wheel if that's true or not.
    Chicken Roost.jpeg
     
    Folly's place, Acre4Me and gtaus like this.
  2. gtaus

    gtaus Crowing

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    I guess maybe I've read too many articles online like How Do Chickens Stay Warm in the Winter. Here's an excerpt...

    "A Leg Up

    Chickens' legs and feet are thin and featherless (at least most breeds are), so therefore they lose heat rapidly. You might notice your chickens standing on one foot during the day in the winter.

    They do this to reduce heat loss and to warm up one foot at a time, tucking it into the feathers on their abdomen, and then switching feet. In the coop, wide wooden roosts are best to keep the toes and feet warm through the night, completely covered by the hens' body.

    A 2x4 board with the 4" side facing up is perfect. That way the roosting chickens' toes don't hang over the edge where they would be exposed to the cold."
     
  3. gtaus

    gtaus Crowing

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    Very nice photo. I don't know how cold it gets there in SC Midlands, but here in northern MN we got down to -45F for almost a 2 week stretch last winter. That was bitter cold. Lots of people lost birds last year during that stretch. That was an unusually long cold spell, but we typically get a short week of -25F once or twice a winter.
     
  4. imnukensc

    imnukensc Crowing

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    That picture is not from my coop here in SC. It was from another poster here on BYC. Don't remember the poster's name, but if I recall correctly it wasn't from a "warm" climate. In any case, the photo completely debunks the fallacy that chickens need a flat 2X4 to keep their feet warm.
     
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  5. gtaus

    gtaus Crowing

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    And this photo completely debunks the fallacy that chickens can't drive! :eek:

    chicken driving car.jpg

    I think she's driving a new version of a coop de ville, or maybe a Ford Eggsplorer! :lau
     
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  6. gtaus

    gtaus Crowing

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    Yet another chicken driving a car, for your amusement! :wee

    Chicken-Driving-Car.gif

    OK, I'll stop now.
     
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  7. Zach123

    Zach123 Songster

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    From my observation, chickens seem to prefer to roost and perch so that their toes curl around rather than lay flat, even when it’s cold (and while we don’t get into the -40’s, NE Colorado is not what I would describe as warm haha). In any case, in cold weather, the feathers along the flanks and breast seem to do an adequate job of covering feet and toes on a narrower roost in order to provide warmth.

    While it’s definitely true that birds have specialized circulatory systems in their legs to prevent cold damage, it also works both ways. The exposed legs, along with combs and wattles, are one of the ways in which chickens rid themselves of excess heat.

    I have always suspected the heat conserving qualities of leg veins are less developed in species that evolved in tropical climates, like chickens, as opposed to colder climate species like say, waterfowl. Looking at a flock of mallards or Canada’s in winter blissfully hanging out on frozen lakes and wading through snow covered corn fields goes to show how much more adapted to temperate climates these birds are. Back in the barnyard I watch my own ducks completely unphased by the snow and ice in their run. Meanwhile the chickens are regularly seen standing on one leg, warming one foot at a time and gingerly tiptoeing around. And that’s if they can be convinced to leave the coop at all. Again, this seems to reinforce the idea that their ability to regulate cold temperatures around their legs and feet is not as developed as other species. Not a scientific truth by any means, but if your ancestors came the from hot, steamy jungles of SE Asia there would be little reason to have the same level of cold protection as a bird who’s closest relatives often breed north of the arctic circle. In fact, it would be for more important that they can effectively and efficiently dissipate heat.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019
  8. Acre4Me

    Acre4Me Crowing

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    Personal experience with a very large breed, is that wide roosts are bad for the bird. We had a large black Jersey Giant with a big breast blister caused by the wide roost (and verified by the long time breeder). We doctored him for awhile, and he finally healed after a few months. We turned all roosts to narrow side. Amazingly, their feet are still covered, and stay warm. Smaller breeds may not be a problem, but I don’t recommend wide roosts for very large breeds based on experience.
     
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  9. Zach123

    Zach123 Songster

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    Okay so I had to do some research based on my hypothesis and it turns out that the circulatory system in the legs of ducks (or any other temperate bird) and chickens (or any other tropical bird) does not greatly differ. The reason ducks are more comfortable at lower temperatures has more to do to do with everything above the leg.

    Anyway, the complex circulatory network in bird legs (called the “rete mirabile”) doesn’t actually keep legs “warm.” While the arteries being close to the veins does warm the blood returning to the heat, the cooler blood in the veins, in turn, decrease the temperature of the arteries. By having the blood traveling to the extremities pre-chilled, it minimizes the total loss of heat. It also facilitates heat loss from the arteries which helps cool the bird in hot weather and actually helps prevent overheating of well insulated animals in cold conditions. So, really the fact is that chickens, or any other birds, feet aren’t warmed per se, but rather kept cool so that they don’t lose heat.
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Great and why chickens can go 'barefoot in the snow'...which is what started this kinda off topic-topic:
     

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