Texas Cold Snap

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by BWchicken, Jan 11, 2011.

  1. BWchicken

    BWchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2009
    Texas
    I actually posted this earlier on someone else's thread about the hard freeze in TX tonight, but thought I should start my own thread. I know it seems silly to some up north, but I'm worried about my little bantam flock tonight!
    [​IMG]

    I live in East TX (piney woods region) and we're forecasted for the teens tonight and I am so worried about my flock (11 bantams) and 2 of them are molting. They are loved pets. I know it gets much colder in the north, but our southern birds are NOT USED to this kind of cold snap. It was 70 degrees a few days ago and I worry they haven't had time to acclimate. My coop is enclosed, no drafts, somewhat ventilated, it's 6x8 but it's 6 feet tall, not a small area, so doesn't hold in the heat around the 11 bantams well. I used a red heat lamp last year but my little roo got frostbite at 30 degrees, probably from the moisture caused by the lamp and they squabbled with each other since it wasn't dark in the coop.

    I've been reading how well northern birds do in below 0 temps and decided not to use the heat lamp this year. I really wanted to go natural this winter, no heat. We've been down around 25 degrees so far and they've done okay, but at 15 degrees I am so worried they are going to literally freeze to death on the roost. They're bantams so that makes me worry more. I just don't know what to do. If I use the lamp, they'll squabble and peck each other all night, plus the moisture could cause frostbite. But I don't want to end up regretting my decision to go the natural route just because it works for northern birds, then have mine freeze to death. What's the right thing to do?


    UPDATE: Well it's now chicken bed time so I don't have time to think about it anymore. We're not going to add heat tonight. They do seem cold, puffing their feathers out to keep warm. Man, I hope I'm doing the right thing. They'll be okay, right?
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2011
  2. AKsmama

    AKsmama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 20, 2010
    South Carolina
    As long as your coop is not drafty, they'll be fine. It got down to the single digits here a night or two in December, and my flock was fine. You may want to read through the thread titled "Think it's too cold for your chickens? Think again" I cannot find it at the moment, but that one has some good info and reassurances for you. If it makes you feel better, my flock (standards, not bantams, but Southern chickens nonetheless) walked around in the ice and snow today and yesterday and they are perfectly fine. They didn't like the fact that all their scratching areas were all covered with that white stuff, but they stayed out all day. Don't worry, they'll be ok!
     
  3. maizey

    maizey Chillin' With My Peeps

    im feelin ya BW...that cold air is headed my way now and I was worried too..but I keep hearing the voice of BYCers telling me they will be fine. I decied to believe them when I walked out tonight and disturbed some wild birds roosting in a bush..surely if they can make it in a bush, my gals should be fine in the coop with a nice straw layer for insulation. I did close my vent though, hubby didnt place it well for winter.. it opens right on the roost [​IMG]
     
  4. buckaroo's wife

    buckaroo's wife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 10, 2009
    North Central Texas
    If you haven't added heat thus far, I think you'll be ok. I'm just west of the DFW Metroplex and we're COLD right now. Like it was said above, as long as the coop is draft free and they can cover their toes, they will be fine. In fact, this morning, my 9 hens (mixed breeds) were ready and willing to come out of the coop when it was 15....I, on the other hand, wasn't too sure [​IMG]
     
  5. BWchicken

    BWchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2009
    Texas
    Everybody was okay this morning, I was so relieved! They were cold and puffed up but they happily came out of the coop into their run. It was below freezing most of the day and they huddled together some when they weren't scratching around. One more night of teens and then it's supposed to warm a bit. I'm sure being cold isn't comfortable for them and I feel bad about that, but I've learned the heat lamp can do more harm than good. My roo has NO frostbite from the teens last night with no heat lamp. But last year he lost a comb tip to frostbite at 30 degrees with a heat lamp because the heat lamp caused moisture. A dry, draft-free coop was all they needed, just like you all said! Thanks for the reassurances you all gave me. I know I worry too much about my feathered babies!
     

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