we are having COLD weather here in alabama i noticed something weird with my girls....

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by the3ofus+oursixchicks, Jan 6, 2014.

  1. the3ofus+oursixchicks

    the3ofus+oursixchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2011
    alabama
    I went out and let everyone out of the coop this morning as usual. the wind chill here today is like 0 or -1. I noticed they are wanting to lay down. why?
     
  2. deacons

    deacons Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 8, 2013
    New Hampshire
    Are they "crouching" down, like in a sitting position? They will do this to warm up their feet, and also to pull their wattles into their feathers against their neck to warm up. You may even see them crouch and shiver a little for a minute or so. Mine do this occasionally in the very cold and then jump up and start running around again after getting warmed up. I have to admit, it tugs at my heartstrings to see them shiver, but I know that is nature's way of getting warm.
     
  3. the3ofus+oursixchicks

    the3ofus+oursixchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2011
    alabama
    no, well sometime they are doing the normal of what I have seen of keeping warm but, they havnt been in this kind of cold before. they are actually laying down not all the time but some. just a few minutes after letting them out o the coop 2 of the hens were laying down.
     
  4. deacons

    deacons Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 8, 2013
    New Hampshire
    Hmm, I'm having trouble picturing what you mean by full on laying down, so I'm not sure how to explain why they might be doing it. Maybe others with more experience can help?

    I know the weather is really extreme for you (and really, for everyone around the country), but with yours being so unaccustomed to such cold, I would just be sure they have a place to go to get out of the wind. Do you have the ability to put down some straw for them to nestle into in a place that is well-protected from the wind?
     
  5. the3ofus+oursixchicks

    the3ofus+oursixchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2011
    alabama
    Oh yes they have a great coop. I have covered all the windows and left a little openings for venting. they free range most of the time but I am thinking maybe I should force them to stay in the coop. when I say laying down I mean it just looks like they are resting but it cant be resting cause they haven't been doing anything to rest from. I was thinking they might be warming their legs.
     
  6. Belinda7

    Belinda7 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 28, 2013
    Michigan, USA
    I am a first time chicken lady...and it is going to be 22 below zero tonight! Although the coop is fairly draft free....that just seems too cold for any animal .....so I wimped out today, set up the big dog cage, and carried all the chickens into my mudroom for the day/night.
     
  7. the3ofus+oursixchicks

    the3ofus+oursixchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2011
    alabama
    really!!! I know what you mean :) I was watching mine on the porch and they were laying down and I did notice the shivering Deacons. well......there are 5 chickens in my living room.i have 7 but the other two venture off by themselves some. I will have to go round them up. of course I know they cant stay in my living room. do yall think I should make them stay in the coop. I mean I can tell they aent enjoying running around outside.
     
  8. Belinda7

    Belinda7 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 28, 2013
    Michigan, USA
    Being my first winter with chickens, I may be going overboard....but I'm looking at it this way...I don't want frozen chicken for dinner tomorrow......LOL
     
  9. deacons

    deacons Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 8, 2013
    New Hampshire
    I've left mine outside throughout this cold weather, in an uninsulated, unheated coop. The worst it got was down to -13F outside (without windchill), and during that night, their body heat kept the coop at right about 0F. Now, being in NH, mine have had time to get relatively acclimated to the cold, at least to below freezing temps. Last week was the first time they experienced temps consistently in the single digits or below zero. During the day, I did move them into my garage rather than keeping them out in their run. They refused to go into the coop during the day, so for my own piece of mind, I thought having them in the garage would allow them to move around as though "free-ranging", while at least being protected from the windchill. The garage is not heated or insulated either, but it was more protected than their run. My husband is a saint for not saying a word about the straw that is now covering 3/4 of the garage ;)

    For those of you in the south experiencing this unexpected arctic blast, I really don't know what to say. Since the chickens haven't had a chance to prepare for the cold, I can sympathize with why you'd want to bring them into warmer conditions until this passes. I think you just have to use your best judgement- and, tons of threads have popped up on here over the past couple of days, you can try to read through for advice from people living in your area. I will say that I am personally terrified of adding heat lamps to the coop for fear of fire, so that isn't an option I'd personally pursue- I'd probably bring them indoors (in dog crates in the basement/bathroom) before going that route.
     
  10. the3ofus+oursixchicks

    the3ofus+oursixchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2011
    alabama
    it is a hard decision. part of me is like they are chickens and the Lord equipped them with the tools they need to survive.....BUT!!! its just so cold. I just decided to put them all in the pen and they can get in the coop if they want to. of course they don't want to. Ethel is blessed right now she is on the nest laying an egg ha ha. I don't want to force them in the coop. when i first started doing chickens which was about 3 and half years ago I thought the rain might make them sick, so I would try to coax them out of the rain and they wouldn't listen ha ha. my husband said the rain isn't going to hurt them im like I don't want them to get wet. I will be glad to see wed its supposed to be 37 in the day.
     

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