Think it's too cold for your chickens? Think again...

superchemicalgirl

HEN PECKED
10 Years
Jan 10, 2010
11,790
14,902
691
Vacationland, Maine
I keep all kinds of chickens here. Amazingly ones that were purported to be "cold hardy" ie brahma were wimps. All survived, but the brahma didn't like to go outside, she mostly sat in the pop door and stared at all the other chickens out playing on the ice and snow. The ones that surprised me the most for their hardiness were white leghorns. Every morning those girls were some of the first to run outside, often in the dark. Their combs had a few spots of frostbite, but nothing severe. My teeny tiny banty mutt was usually the next out. I also keep a plethora of turkens.

I also had a moisture issue last year. I keep all my windows and vents all the way open unless it's really snowing hard. Unfortunately my screens clog up easily due to all the dust from the chickens. If I don't keep up with it the litter gets damp and then freezes into a horrible block. Last winter I had a chicken go broody and hatch chicks, but her cage was frozen to the coop floor for months after they hatched.
 

featherz

Veggie Chick
Mar 22, 2010
5,376
494
346
Saratoga County, NY
Quote:I gotta agree. I didn't pick well when I got my first chicks last year and picked out white leghorns. Then realized they weren't supposed to be good in the winter and they'd end up with frostbite. They did get a bit on the tips, but they seemed the LEAST bothered about the cold out of all my chickens. They were rarin to get out each morning although they'd only jump on shoveled areas. Even at minus double digits the skinny white leghorns seemed to not even notice. Oh yah, and mine run out in the dark too. My production reds will sit on the roost until they can see, but the leghorns are up at 4AM pecking at the run door when I'm out on the way to work.
 

WoodlandWoman

Crowing
12 Years
May 8, 2007
5,717
77
283
Wisconsin
My feather footed breeds don't seem to like walking in deeper snow. I've always wondered if when they sink in, it puts stress on the feathers of their feet and lower legs. Especially if it's not a light and fluffy snow.
 

ChickieBooBoo

Cold Canadian Chick
10 Years
Dec 2, 2009
28,316
36
374
Canada
I often shake my head at the people who want to give heat to their birds when its hardly below freezing. Temps here can get down to -30 quite often and even -40 sometimes. I've never provided all the birds heat, just a draft-free, well ventilated coop. I've never lost one to the cold.
 

Mrs MIA

Chick Magnet
11 Years
Mar 3, 2008
7,988
62
303
Quote:I think part of the misinformation is given at most of the hatcheries and websites, starting with the brooding of the chicks. According to the "chart", at 6 weeks the chicks should only be down to 60-65°F temps... mine are just now 7 weeks old, and in a coop that is reading...... 26.6°F (had to stretch over to see the wireless weather station base on the wall)
Throw all that out the window, and WATCH your birds. Experiment. Test the theories/recommendations. I'm guessing these 3 chicks will be the hardiest of them all this winter.
 

ChickieBooBoo

Cold Canadian Chick
10 Years
Dec 2, 2009
28,316
36
374
Canada
Mrs. AK-Bird-Brain :

Quote:I think part of the misinformation is given at most of the hatcheries and websites, starting with the brooding of the chicks. According to the "chart", at 6 weeks the chicks should only be down to 60-65°F temps... mine are just now 7 weeks old, and in a coop that is reading...... 26.6°F (had to stretch over to see the wireless weather station base on the wall)
Throw all that out the window, and WATCH your birds. Experiment. Test the theories/recommendations. I'm guessing these 3 chicks will be the hardiest of them all this winter.

Exactly, momma hens don't baby their chicks, so why should we?​
 

superchemicalgirl

HEN PECKED
10 Years
Jan 10, 2010
11,790
14,902
691
Vacationland, Maine
It was my GLW that hatched out chicks the first week of January last year that really opened my eyes to the hardiness of chicks and chickens. It was -15 the first few days they hatched, and they were running around and then zoomed back under Momma. Their water froze after just a few minutes outside. Because it was so dark so early by the time I got home from work everyone was in bed, so I had to use a lantern in the coop for them to come out and drink. Momma had them pretty much weaned from her body heat by about week 3 (they were getting too big to fit under her).
 

gophert

In the Brooder
8 Years
Sep 20, 2011
89
2
39
On a similar but oppsite note, chickens can do fine in heat, too. It is in the 90s here every day in summer and chickens do just fine and keep laying with no fans or a/c, as I have seen some doing. Some of it may be acclimatization, I guess.
 

Mrs MIA

Chick Magnet
11 Years
Mar 3, 2008
7,988
62
303
Kinda crazy... I'm here in AK discussing our freezing temps (got down to 19F again this morning, didn't get over freezing until about an hour ago) and my family in So. Cal is sweltering away in 100°F heat.
This time of the year is crazy weather-wise!
 

wyododge

Chirping
8 Years
Sep 30, 2011
485
17
90
Wyoming
Quote:You are 100% accurate. Fans do the same thing as heaters do. They don't allow the bird to fully adapt to their natural surroundings. It was 100 here this summer, and it will get down to -30 this winter. Same birds, same reaction, Adapt.
 
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