Unusual cold in Alabama

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by melwaddell, Jan 4, 2014.

  1. melwaddell

    melwaddell New Egg

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    We are bracing for some very cold weather that my animals are not use to. I am concerned that my young hens will be severely stressed with the temperature dipping to 5 degrees and a windchill of -11. I have one heat lamp in the 7 x 7 coop but should I add a second one? Their water kept freezing yesterday at 29 for a high and we will not get above 20 on Monday or Tuesday.
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Chickens with their built in down comforters can better handle cold temperatures than they can excessive heat. If your coop is dry and draft free, they will be just fine. Some folks in Alaska keep chickens with no supplemental heat at all.
     
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Hi there, [​IMG] and welcome to BYC!

    It is never a good idea to add heat to a coop on a normal basis. However if your average over night low is 30 or 40 degrees higher than it is going to be tonight, then it can shock birds that are not acclimated to such cold temps. Especially very young, old or sick birds. So I personally do add heat if it is going to dip 30 or 40 degrees colder than what they are used to at night. You don't want over heat, but raising the temp around the air where they are roosting, and getting it up 10 or so degrees won't hurt anything for this cold spell.

    Just remember to keep your vents open during this cold spell and adding heat can cause more moisture to build up, which can, in cold air, fall back down as frost on the combs. So make sure your venting system is up to par. Add the lamps you think you need to keep them from chilling too much. You can also staple an old towel to the roost bar to help keep feet warm. Warm feet means warmer birds.

    Good luck and enjoy BYC!
     
  4. liz9910

    liz9910 Overrun With Chickens

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    [​IMG] I agree with the above advice, a heat lamp in the coup could be dangerous and may start a fire.
     
  5. BigECarter

    BigECarter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a similar question. I'm on the gulf coast, so heat during summers is the main concern. I have an open coop/covered run nestled in trees. The roost area is ~2.5' deep, 7' wide, siding on three sides, wide open to the south.

    I am concerned about my 12-week old pullets. They've been in the coop for over a month. They have a cozy area with the EcoGlow, but I think they've outgrown it as most are roosting with the big girls now. Temps have gotten down to barely freezing and everyone is fine.

    Monday temps are forecast to get down to 20°. Obviously I don't have a draught free set-up. I'm thinking about maybe hanging a tarp on the open end. Maybe filling some gallon jugs with hot water (sealed) and setting those on the poop boards.
     
  6. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    I think the tarp would be a good idea.
     
  7. melwaddell

    melwaddell New Egg

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    I am definitely putting old towels on the roosting spots to keep their feet warm.
     
  8. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life Out of the Woods Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC!
     
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  9. craftiekids

    craftiekids Chillin' With My Peeps

    I add the towels too but for young birds, I keep a light on in there not a heat lamp but it's just enough to keep them a bit warmer especially in below freezing temps. I just put a fresh thick layer of chips under them and that seems to help too. My coop is small and I think cozy. I'll be expanding it this spring when I get more pullets. But in very cold temps a wind break is a huge advantage so a tarp is great. Wild fowl find cozy places inside hollows with leaves for insulation. They crowd together in these little spots, out of drafts and stay warm that way. That's how mine are. Even my 3 ducks cuddle together inside a big dog crate inside our coop. During the winter I throw a towel over it to keep out drafts. When I was very young I remember my mother putting a tarp over the small coop we had and keeping a light on all winter because it was so bitter cold up north. She said if we kept them out the wind and gave them a small light they'd be fine. She was right. Oh and they don't poop on the roosts so the old towels don't get really soiled or wet

    I hope you have success with your birds! Everyone does something slightly different, do what feels right for you! Does that help? Susie Q
     
    2 people like this.
  10. Mr MKK FARMS

    Mr MKK FARMS Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC! Glad you joined us! [​IMG]
     
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