What is TOO cold?


12 Years
May 8, 2010
Texas City, TX
I live in Texas close to Houston. My question is: What is too cold for a chicken? I was thinking about closing up the coop vents during winter but I am worried about ventilation. Should I just close the windows on cold nights and then open them during the day? Do they need a heat lamp? These are my first chickens and I don't know what to do. It is only low temps in the 50s right now, so I am sure that they are fine, but I am trying to plan for the winter.
You should not have to worry about cold where you are. Unless you have chicks. If your birds are feathered they can handle cold temps.
When nighttime temps. drop to below 40 I start closing the windows at night - actually shutters over the windows. Unless the weather is really nasty, cold and wet, I open them back up during the day. I never close off the ventilation at the roofline.
ETA: Grown chickens, with the exception of very delicate breeds, should not need a heat lamp during winter in Texas. In fact, a heat lamp could do more harm than good. Going from a warm coop to a cold outdoors is not good for them. Also, think about power failures. Get them used to a warm coop and have a winter power failure and they could get chilled, then sick.
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Relax! There are members of this forum even up in Alaska who keep chickens without supplemental heat. Chickens come with their own down coats, after all.

I'm in North Texas and last winter was my first winter with chickens, too. I have cold sensitive small bantams, so I fretted over them. They managed beautifully, even during a cold spell when daytime temps stayed in the 20's.

All chickens really need is a dry, draft free roosting spot with adequate ventilation. If your vents are up above roost level, you can leave them open all winter (maybe only closing down some of them if you get a freezing night). If you have windows down at roost level where wind can blow over your birds, I'd go ahead and close those down at night during winter time.
Thats good to know!What about your silkies with rain?Do they cope ok?I have had to put shelter up for mine as I read they are not waterproof?Mind you Im forgetting-do you get rain in Texas!!!!Its very cold and wet here in the north of england!

I live in Colorado and this will be my first winter with chickens. It sometimes gets to -10 at night during the winter here. Will mine be ok without a heating source?
All birds need someplace to get shelter from rain, especially when it's cold. If a bird gets soaked its down feathers can no longer provide insulation. With silkies, I would imagine this is even more true since all of their feathers are like fluffy down feathers.
I'm in Canada, and we often have -40 for a while in January. This will be my first winter with chickens, this time around ( had them when my children were young, but that was almost 20 years ago). I did not insulate, nor will I have heat out there. I have 3 almost 17 weeks-old Welsummers and I hope they will acclimatize slowly as the weather becomes colder...

I'll let you know In April if they made it

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