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Well, I did it. The chickens are OUT!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by sevenbabychicks, Dec 6, 2010.

  1. sevenbabychicks

    sevenbabychicks Songster

    Sep 9, 2010
    Saint Paul, MN
    Last night was my chickens' first outdoors. They are three months old and it's it got down to the single digits last night. I was soooo worried (they'd only experienced comfy indoor temps), and woke up and went out every couple hours to check on them. I built a really well insulated strawbale structure, but even so it got down to about 20 in there - and they all did just fine. Grumpy, but alive.
    I made sure they ate a whole bunch before turning them in; the one that didn't seemed to be a lot colder this morning.

    I'm wondering, though... I was hoping that my coop would stay warmer than it did. it's only about 5X5X6 and with 7 chickens in it I thought that I could maintain temps above freezing. No? Should I put plastic over the glass window? Build up the floor more? It's basically just sitting on the ground with a bunch of dry dirt shoveled in (the dirt here is clay-rich and GREAT at absorbing chicken poop).

    Any tips? Are there any battery-powered heating devices that I could use if temps dip really low? I dont like the idea of running an extension cord through straw in the mouse-filled woods [​IMG]

  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio

    The thing with a small coop like that, is that chickens really do produce alot of body heat, and if you don't have a little bit of ventilation, then it will get damp in there and then you'll have sick chickens. Is your coop ventilated at all? Also, some bedding besides dirt would be good for them. Do they have a roost? A 2x4 with the broad side up is good, so they can sit on their feet and keep them from getting frostbite.
  3. NonnasBabies

    NonnasBabies Muddy Acre Farms Premium Member

    Sep 20, 2009
    On the Farm!
    My coop is completly built on the ground with a dirt floor! In the winter time I add either a big bag of pines shavings or a big bag of shredded paper once a week. It helps a whole lot. By spring you have some serious compost!!
  4. jcbydesign

    jcbydesign In the Brooder

    Sep 21, 2010
    Portland, OR
    Mine, too. First time out in coop for mine and they are the same age. But the little darlings ran into the run, when I opened pop door, looked around and ran back inside. LOL! After a few minutes they came back out and fluffed their tails and you could tell they were happy chickens.
  5. Joyst

    Joyst Chirping

    Nov 1, 2010
    Centreville, MD
    You just took them from inside and put them out in the coop? I've got eight 6 week olds in my laundry room where it's 70 degrees and I've been wondering how I'm going to transition them to being outside birds. I'm going to give them another couple of weeks at least inside, but by then it'll be really cold out there!
  6. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Are you taking them outside during the daytime? That would be a good first step. Rather than waiting until it's really cold outside and putting them out, might be better to put them out soon - maybe a week after spending their entire day out there - than to wait until it's really cold and stick them out. They'll transition better if they have time to get used to the cold before it gets colder. Just MHO.
  7. Joyst

    Joyst Chirping

    Nov 1, 2010
    Centreville, MD
    I haven't taken them outside yet. It's been in the 30's and 40's during the day and that seems like it would be a shock coming from 70. Maybe when they've got all their feathers? I really wasn't thinking of just suddenly leaving them out there!
    I thought that maybe it would work to move them out to the garage for a week or so to get accustomed to lower temps.

  8. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Songster

    Nov 8, 2008
    Portage County, Ohio
    Cold is fine, even below freezing guys, as long as it's draft free (or nearly so)! If when you get inside, and close the door, the air is for the most part 'still' you're all good.

    Even though getting them out there before the worst of the weather does give them some time to get used to things... this winter has been a strange one, so they'll just have to manage.

    I don't know how many hundreds of times it's been said here, chickens do FINE in the cold with good (even if cold) shelter where they can stay DRY, DRAFT FREE, plenty of nutritious FOOD, plenty of clean WATER and safety in the way of being PREDATOR FREE.
  9. palochknldy

    palochknldy Chirping

    Jun 7, 2010
    Palo, Iowa
    Our temps in Iowa on Sunday were 6 and windchill of -25 and my girls were out. No heat in their coop or run. We did just add a bunch of straw and it really seemed to warm both up and the girls love it. It keeps them occupied with all the scratching.
  10. Joyst

    Joyst Chirping

    Nov 1, 2010
    Centreville, MD
    Thank you all for the encouragement. I'm sure the girls will be just fine in the new Garden Coop I built them out in the yard. They're all cold-hardy breeds and it's not really all that cold here in Maryland. I haven't done this before, though, and I'm not sure of how and when to get them out there.
    I probably should have waited to get chicks until the spring but I was so eager to get started!
    The questions that I have are:
    1) They are only 6 weeks old and don't have all their feathers yet. How much longer til they are old enough to be outside full time? They're getting pretty bored inside.
    and 2) They haven't been exposed to temps below 65 degrees in their lives. It wouldn't be a shock to their little chicken systems to suddenly drop the temperature on them 40 degrees? [​IMG] You all have chickens that had been outside already as it got colder!
    Maybe I'm identifying with them too much...

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