Thirteen below zero! Are they okay?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by azygous, Feb 1, 2011.

  1. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Here in So Colorado at 7500 feet, I'm having a thirteen below morning. My girls are huddled on the ground or on perches and not interested in eating the hot oatmeal I served them. One rooster is in his coop with the heat lamp on and refusing to come out at all. The other roo is out in his plastic shrouded pen monitoring the girls on the other side in their plastic-covered pen. They're all protected from the wind-chill, but it's still thirteen-below.

    Do I need to worry about frost bite?
     
  2. telehillco

    telehillco Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 15, 2009
    Front Range, CO
    I'm down in Boulder and it hit -10 last night. A couple of our chickens got frostbite last year when it got this cold. From what I read, it's the humidity and drafts that really contribute to frostbite so you should make sure that the coop isn't drafty, but still has plenty of ventilation to keep moisture from building up. I've read mixed reviews about coating the combs with vaseline. This site (http://www.shagbarkbantams.com/page16.htm) suggested that the massaging of the vaseline into the combs helps increase circulation that can help prevent frostbite. They also suggest a full crop adn well watered chicken before bed (though I guess that's harder if they're not even eating your oatmeal offering).

    Good luck!
     
  3. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    It's warmed up to -10 at 9 am. The girls that were huddled on the ground, clucking a painful sound, I grabbed up and stuffed into the coop where there's a heat lamp on and south facing large window to let in a very meager sun. I warmed the oatmeal up in the microwave and put it inside the coop where they're now eating it. This is a real challenge, I must admit. I've lived here seventeen years, and this is the coldest I've seen.

    Most of the flock have rose combs, and the ones with tall combs just refuse to come out of the coop, so, maybe we'll be okay with frostbite.

    It crossed my mind to bring them all into the garage, but I quickly recalled what the garage looked like after the last time I did that when we were under an intense bear siege and I needed to keep them from being eaten.

    The entire flock of fifteen is now inside their coops with food and water, so I think they'll be okay.
     
  4. crittergarden

    crittergarden Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 30, 2012
    Pittsburgh
    I'm brand new here and I'd love to hear how this worked out for you.
    I live in Pittsburgh (zone 5) and have not yet started with chickens because I am afraid of the winters.
    If you tell me how you fared through this ordeal and maybe give me some tips and suggestions of things to have on hand, maybe I'll go for it....
    Just 3 hens, for starters.
     
  5. EmAbTo48

    EmAbTo48 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 9, 2011
    Northern Wisconsin
    Northern Wisconsin here! We have very hearty breeds besides for one bantam and 3 silkies (who actually seem to fair better then the larger breeds in the cold honestly) We had 2 weeks straight of negatives here about 3 weeks ago. They stayed in the coop most of the time- we run a heat lamp all winter long for them! Only problems I have had here is I have had some frostbitten combs and have had to cut the dead parts off so they will grow back. Usually ends up being my Roo who gets the worst poor guy!

    Otherwise they seem to do fine! I think I lose more eggs then anything else from cracking GRR!
     
  6. crittergarden

    crittergarden Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 30, 2012
    Pittsburgh
    Good to know!
    I'm going to build my own coop so I can provide a large south facing, double plexiglass paned window.
    I'll get a plug in water bowl and either a heat lamp or a heat mat I can put under a layer of plexiglass.
    Any other preparatory suggestions?
     

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