Very Cold and Only 3 Hens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by kjfrogster41, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. kjfrogster41

    kjfrogster41 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 30, 2011
    Belfast, ME
    So, have read most threads regarding cold weather strategies for hens. I agree the RIR's are very hardy birds and seem to do well in the Maine winters. However, I only have 3 hens and collectively they are not producing much body heat. Last winter, when they were still pretty young, not fully feathered, I made them go inside their smallish hen house for the night (rather than staying on a roost in the coop) when night temps got down to single digits. They were crowded, some feathers got bent but they did stay warm. Now they are past a year old but I do wonder about the danger of frost bite. We have some pretty cold nights slated for next week. Should they be forced inside their laying house or left to fend for themselves on a roost in an unheated, uninsulated coop?[​IMG]
     
  2. Makomd

    Makomd Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 24, 2011
    ES of MD , USA
    I would push them into the unheated coop, until they make it a habit. We do not heat either and have had no issues but we do lay alot of wood shavings and occasionally a bale or 2 of hay incase they want to snuggle in, but they always roost anyway.

    Sorry re-read it. The coop should be fine, I would think close quarters would eventually lead to a trampling death.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
  3. Makomd

    Makomd Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 24, 2011
    ES of MD , USA
    Besides 3 hen will give off a lot of humidity which is the real enemy in the cold and if it is tight quarters leaves little room for escape without endangering frostbite.
     
  4. Mattemma

    Mattemma Overrun With Chickens

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    I had 3 red sex link hens in a 6x8 metal coop.I put bales of straw along the walls on the inside.Bedding was pine shavings.They sat and walked on those bales. I gave warm water am and again in pm.Sometimes I would put in milk jugs filled with hot water.Just 2.Did that the first year.They did fine.Even got eggs!
     
  5. HouseCat

    HouseCat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Petroleum Jelly is all you need to ward off frostbite. It also insulates their combs and wattles and acts as a little hat. Put it on really thin, like you would chapstick on your lips. Also, you only need to apply it every 2-3 days so that it doesn't melt and build-up on their head and chest feathers.
     
  6. kjfrogster41

    kjfrogster41 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 30, 2011
    Belfast, ME
    Thanks to all who gave advice regarding cold weather. Just an update.

    We really have had record MAJOR cold the past couple of weeks. Temps have been minus F, with one night going to a minus 26F! Poor babies, but they seemed fine the next morning. I did tuck all 3 into the hen house (their laying spot). They do all fit in there and the door and ramp are left open for ventilation and escape. Once inside though they seemed quite okay with spending the night that way. I have had to put them inside their house the last week or so due to such extreme cold. They go to their coop roost once it's dark but will not put themselves inside their hen house, which is much warmer. It's a mystery to me that they seem quite content to be inside the smaller hen house when it's that cold but need to get put there.

    Hens do keep one amused and challenged. [​IMG]

    By the way, all 3 are regularly laying in spite of the cold.
     

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