Too cold to let the girls out?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Leah S, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. Leah S

    Leah S Chirping

    Jun 13, 2011
    Hi all. Here in the NE area it's chilly. The eggs are freezing and my water heater can't keep up, frozen water. the wind is wicked too! I kept the girls in for 2 days now. they have a big coop, plenty of room. Is that ok for them or should I let them out? how cold is too cold for a chicken? I know that they have feathers and such but last year was so mild and up until now this year has been mild too. What do you do with your chickens when it so cold?
  2. Block the north wind as best you can. Put a heat lamp in the coop with them, but make sure they have room to get away from the heat if they want. Try putting your waterer on an electric heating pad if you don't have a submersible heater.

    As long as they can get up and move around, and there is SOME ventilation in the coop I wouldn't worry too much about keeping them in. Ventilation is the key though, you do want to let at least a little fresh air in from time to time to keep things from getting bacteria ridden.
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    Be extremely careful about electric devices such as heating pads and especially heat lamps. Fire is your number one enemy here, not the cold. The cold spell will pass. Meanwhile, don't worry about them going outside. On a calm, sunny day, even if it is very cold, near zero, they'll still pop out for a bit. They don't normally stay out too long at any one stretch.

    If your heated water system isn't working, that gives you something you need to improve. There are multiple threads here discussing the dozens of way people accomplish this task. Until the matter is resolved, you'll want to carry water daily to be sure they are being properly hydrated.
    Again, these cold days pass, keep your chin up. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
  4. lorain's fids

    lorain's fids Songster

    Jul 9, 2011
    New Jersey
    It has been cold here in New Jersey for the past few days. My chickens seem to know what to do and when to do it. They have been staying in the coop (not heated) or they hang out in their run ( which I did put plastic up to block the wind), they haven' t wanted to venture out of the run even when the door is open. In the coop there is plenty of clean pine shavings for them to snuggle in, and in their run they have a pile of straw to lay in. As for their water, I just keep changing it every 2 hours or so.
  5. Leah S

    Leah S Chirping

    Jun 13, 2011
    like the idea of straw in the run. due to new town rules they have to be confined at all times. it's completely bare now!! great idea for when things start to thaw and get muddy.
  6. marritimer

    marritimer In the Brooder

    Mar 21, 2012
    New Brunswick, Canada

    It's -35*C here with the wind chill in New Brunswick. These guys don't seem to mind considering they have an insulated coop that stays above 0*C. If thay get cold, they go stand under the heat lamp for a minute and head right back out. Too cold for me!
    1 person likes this.
  7. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    What do you use for a waterer Leah? I went with a heated dog dish instead of a poultry waterer this winter, and it kicks butt! Of course I keep it inside the housing, so that helps. Since your coop has plenty of space, you could keep yours inside too (maybe you already do?). The icy winds freeze things over so much quicker.
    I'd give the girls an option to go outside, even if just for a bit. If you find that they're staying inside the housing though, I'd probably just go ahead and close the pop door to conserve warmth. Mine don't like the cold, but will venture out in really low temps as long as it's not too windy.
    It isn't pretty, but tarping the prevailing wind side(s) of the run gives them more opportunities to enjoy the fresh air outside...
  8. AVintageLife

    AVintageLife Chirping

    Jun 7, 2012
    New Hampshire
    I used clear shower curtains on the sides of the run to block the wind but my flock can still see out into the yard. I think there's a little solar effect with the sun is out and the run feels comfortable. I put down bales of hay for them to sit on, break up. They've done a great job spreading them around, lol.
  9. Leah S

    Leah S Chirping

    Jun 13, 2011
    i have made a heater from a cookie tin with a bulb in it. i can go to a higher wattage bulb, but worry about roasting the girls if it was too high. I did have a shower curtain, cut into strips, that covered the opening of the door. that way most of the wind was kept out and they could still go as they pleased. I forget why it is no longer there, but an other super idea!
    love thisforum for all it's help :)
    Thanks guys

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by