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


8 Years
I lived in Northern CO for awhile, with chickens and peafowl. We had some brutally cold days with awful winds, remember one storm with actual temps down to -30 and windchills to -60. Didn't have any added heat, all birds were fine. Peafowl lived in a large, open barn and the chickens in a small coop with good ventilation. No frostbite. Choose your breeds well as far as combs, feathering, hardiness. Build the coop for the climate and keep them healthy with veggie and fruit scraps, quality food.
I would consider a heat lamp with below zero extended temps depending on breeds and ages but otherwise, no. Insulation would be really nice, though and building your coop with a good windbreak is the best help.


Chick Magnet
11 Years
Mar 3, 2008
Keeping excess moisture down in the winter will help save the combs from frostbite.
That's where the ventilation comes in.
Jul 7, 2010
Memphis, TN
I wonder if the cold weather rules might be different for those in exceptionally wet/cold climates? Even with good ventilation, with high humidity they might still need more help?

(Don't know why I'm chiming relieved I don't have to worry about this this winter!)


9 Years
May 5, 2010
Chickaloon, Alaska
I'm sure they would have to do more, anyone in Michigan, or Upstate NY would have horrible humidity troubles. That's one of the reasons that the Army moved their cold weather camp from here to NY... wetter and much more brutal than our cold!

Fred's Hens

Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Michigan is not all that humid, once the really cold weather hits. The higher humidity, damp, awful stuff corresponds more to November or March than it does in mid-winter. Once the air is flowing down from Alberta, CA, it is very cold and very, very dry at the same time. I live in the coldest area of the state and keep hens with no heat, no insulation just fine. No frost bite. The barn is an open eve construction to allow for great ventilation.

Fred's Hens

Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Quote:Point taken. The humidity canbe somewhat higher nearer the shorelines of the Great Lakes, but again, once mid-winter comes, the RH is rather low across the state. One reason is that very cold air, anything below 25F just cannot hold moisture to the extent slightly warmer air can.


8 Years
Oct 14, 2011
Fairbanks, Alaska
Somebody (sorry I can't find the post) asked what breeds are kept in really cold climates without heat. This being my first time with chickens the heat issue is up in the air, though I do believe I will providing heat when it is needed. I have 6 Chanteclers and 4 Buff Orpintons. It will be interesting to see if cushion comb Chanteclers do better with the cold than the BO's. Those combs and wattles on the BO's are larger than I thought they would be. About the heat issue, exactly where I live, I get no sun *at all* for at least 2 full months and my place is kind of a cold sink. It's always colder and snowier than everywhere else. This winter is going to be interesting for sure!


Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Nov 23, 2010
St. Louis, MO
Quote:Where are you?

It gets below 0 here and always high humidity. My BOs have no trouble. Small combs are better.
I have big combed birds, anconas, minorcas and others and had little frostbite.
As much ventilation as possible and no added heat.

One of the best birds for cold is the Jaerhon. Compact birds with small combs and wattles bred for Norwegian winters.
JGs, Rocks and Wyandottes have no problem either.


8 Years
Sep 27, 2011
Fairbanks, Alaska
Here the feed store only stocks winter hardy breeds for laying pullets. Their list includes brahmas, wyandottes, plymouth rocks, chanteclers, dominiques, australorps, orpingtons, jersey giants, easter eggers, silkies, red stars, black stars, and some others that I don't remember because I wasn't interested in them. My buddy has barred rocks, and they haven't had a problem with frostbite. Their coop is not heated, it's fairly small, and they can go outside at will, although when it's really cold they don't go out much.

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