So Sad! Lost a Hen Last Night to the Cold. Need Advice.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by KatieKitt, Nov 13, 2013.

  1. KatieKitt

    KatieKitt Out Of The Brooder

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    Two nights ago we got our first winter snowfall and I went out and put the girls in the coop. They were covered in snow, huddled up together outside. I've been fighting with this flock of three bantam hens every night to go collect them and get them into the coop. They have a tendency to want to roost on the deck railing under the porch light and I take them there and put them to bed. Last night, there were no girls to be seen on the deck and I went looking for them. It was 22 degrees outside at this point and I was really worried. The dog found one, which he actually picked up, brought it over to me and dropped her at my feet (he's a soft mouthed spaniel and didn't hurt her at all and she must have been cold/stunned because she didn't fight!). The other one I found huddled under the front bushes. The third I just couldn't find. She's black and with it already being nightfall.... I just couldn't find her. I spent an hour looking but had no luck. :-( Well, I found her this morning frozen to death. I'm very upset and am now wondering what I need to do differently to have these girls survive the winter. The black hen that died had recently gone broody and I'm wondering if the fact that she wasn't eating well contributed to her loss. Do I need to put a light or some sort of heat in the coop to ensure that they go there to get out of the elements? Please give me some guidance! I'm beside myself that this happened and don't want a repeat of last night/this morning.
     
  2. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    Sorry for your loss. Chickens are not necessarily bright about what is best for them. Keep your birds confined strictly to the coop for several days, until they learn to put themselves to roost in there. Then for another week or so lure them into the coop in the afternoon, and close them in for the night, again so that they learn to go in at night. If you have a run, keep them in it until they are reliably cooping themselves at night.
     
  3. KatieKitt

    KatieKitt Out Of The Brooder

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    I made the mistake of buying a store bought coop and a big design flaw is that the coop doesn't actually have a door! This is what I have:

    http://www.waremfginc.com/b-detaildisplay.aspx?itemno=14061

    I took the run off because it was too difficult to get to the chickens and to clean it out and the birds were free ranging anyway. I'm wondering if I install a small pet door there that has a plastic piece that slides into it to close it off would be a suitable cheap fix until the spring when I get a new, bigger, better coop.
     
  4. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Your girls should be fine without any heat source as long as they can get out of the elements. I would find a way to attach a door to your coop. Make sure they have lots of clean dry bedding inside, and lock them in at night every night. You may have to go find them at dusk for a few nights and put them where they belong until they finally get it and go in by themselves.

    I once had a hen die of cold, too. Instead of going into the hen house with the others, she would go hide underneath, where no one could get to her. If she'd even had friends to huddle with she would have been OK, but she was just plain dumb about where she chose to spend the night.

    Sorry you lost your hen.
     
  5. Poor hen, I am so sorry for your loss. You can put a heat lamp in the coop, they will then go in the coop if they get cold. And 1muttsfan chickens are actually the 3rd smartest type of animal according to recent studies.
    Good Luck, sorry about your hen!
     
  6. rowdydouillard

    rowdydouillard Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 13, 2013
    This has me worried because I have four hens and two roos. Lately I have left them free range with aces to the coup. I have noticed one roo and two hens will go to the coop and the other trio likes to get in my bull pine above the coop. Will the tree dwellers freeze if the huddle together
     
  7. urbanchange90

    urbanchange90 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Intelligence and common sense are miles apart. Sorry to hear about your hen though, at least if its anything like when people freeze to death it wasn't unpleasant, just get warm and fall asleep
     
  8. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    I have heard about people on BYC who have birds that sleep in trees right through the winter and come out OK. Personally, I'd be catching them and locking them into the coop at night. They should start going into the coop by themselves after a few nights of this. Sometimes they make the transition more easily if you put a light in the coop right about the time they're going to bed.
     
  9. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    It would be best if you had a small wattage light in the coop that comes on in late afternoon then goes off an hour or less after dark. My big coop is very dark inside, and the chickens who wait later to come inside won't if the light isn't on. Perhaps leaving your porch light off for a few days at dusk will make them go to the coop.Your girls need to be kept inside the coop and run 24/7 for a few days to make them know where home is and to come in at night. Sorry for your loss.
     
  10. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    I don't find it necessary to put a light in the coop if I take the time to put the birds where they belong for a couple of days in a row. We acclimate 2-5 cohorts of new pullets to the chicken house per year, and have never had to add a light. We DO have to go find the silly pullets and put them into the chicken coop for a couple of nights, though.
     

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