What temps are too cold?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by stitch81, Dec 10, 2011.

  1. stitch81

    stitch81 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2011
    I have Barred Rocks, Buff Orpingtons, Rhode Island Reds, and some mixed breeds. These guys have had access to the run up until about a week ago when we got our first snowfall. They refuse to enter the run. One chicken hopped out of the coup, but as soon as he hit the snow, he high tailed it back into the coup and won't go out. I have a heat light in the coup, and for the last week have decided to leave the run door shut to conserve the warmth in the coup. Just curious what temps these guys can handle? It's been -8 here at it's worst this week and about 15 degrees at it's warmest. It does get colder than that the further into winter we are. The chickens are almost 6 months old, none of them laying yet. The heat light is also in there to prevent the water container from freezing.
  2. NYChicks345

    NYChicks345 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 25, 2011
    Danube, NY
    You selected very good, cold hardy chickens. They should be fine with the cold temps. However there combs might get frostbitten. You can always put petroleum jelly (vasaline) on there combs to prevent this. I have many of the same breeds and they do fine in the winter and snow. My guess is that it was the chickens first time seeing snow and when they went outside they got nervouse because there surroundings looked different ( everything was white) [​IMG]. Give them time and they will adjust. I live in upstate New York and get temps below zero often... I only keep them locked up if it is windy and nasty weather. Good luck and enjoy your chicks.
  3. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 19, 2011
    Escanaba, MI
    Wind chill had us at -20 here, and this is only the beginning of the wintery season. My chickens were acting like it was no big deal, pecking, scratching, and romping as per usual. I don't supplement them with heat in the coop, and it is warm, dry, and draft free in there when they are all in there for the night.

    Chickens are tougher than a lot of people think they are. Your breeds are good winter breeds, with thick, fluffy feathers.
  4. Ole and Lena

    Ole and Lena Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2011
    Wright Co Minnesota
    I'm in central MN. We have 17 barred rocks and SL Wyandottes that were hatched around June 1. It's been below zero here. Ours don't seem to mind. They're spending more time in the coop than before but they still range around the farm to pick over the horse's hay for seeds and look for tidbits. We've got some lilac bushes that catch sun all day out of the wind and they like to roost in them. They also hang out under my canoe (it's duck hunter green and really warms up in the sun). I open the door in the morning and let 'em do what they want. Haven't put in a heat light yet. Just a draft baffle in front of the door (shredded carpet). Their coop is well insulated and 2 walls are inside barn and catches aftn sun to trap a lot of heat that holds most of the night. Might add a heat light when it gets really cold. They're laying 10-14 eggs a day so seems all is well.

    Mine were fussy about the snow at first until I threw a scoop of scratch grain into it. Now they go around the yard scratching the snow looking for more grain.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2011
  5. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    I don't heat my coops. Here is some of my brother's chickens. They roost in his barn.

  6. NYChicks345

    NYChicks345 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 25, 2011
    Danube, NY
    I just read the book Fresh Air Housing for Poultry. It was written like a hundred years ago. They used open front housing all year long. Even in Canada! Is says that the chicken were healthier and layed better. Moister and condensation in the winter time is the worse think for you chickens. The wetness is what will cause frostbite on the combs and feet/legs. My coop is not open front but very well ventilated and I never heat it. I have not ever had a condensation issue or frost on the windows, there fore i have never had a frostbitten hen or rooster. I think we care more how cold it is. The chickens don't really seem to care how cold it gets. [​IMG]
  7. stcroixusvi

    stcroixusvi Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 5, 2011
    Western NC
    My Coop
    Mine are ok with the cold, but they HATE the snow. It takes a while if it has snowed for any of them to come out of the coop.
  8. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Too cold for what?? Survival? Most adult, healthy chickens can survive temps well below zero if they're in a draft free area. That doesn't mean they LIKE cold temperatures, or that cold temperatures don't stress their bodies.
    Most chickens avoid snow too - so it'll help a lot to lure them out if you shovel the snow and throw down some straw or hay, and then toss some scratch down. Wind breaks will help a lot too to lure them out.
    My youngers hens/pullets seem to be more willing to brave the cold much moreso than my older birds. My d'uccles really don't like it (I think because they have such a small body mass).
  9. karlamaria

    karlamaria Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 30, 2011
    Western montana
    We have a pen that is covered so no snow gets in, also when we let them out they run for the erea's that have no snow under them. Our coop is not heated so we let them decide to come out or not, who cares if they want to stay in lol, heck last week we left them in the coop all morning as it was-5 and I thought with the food and water in the coop they might as well stay a bit warmer in there coop. I'm having a new coop built now with electricity, this way I can get more eggs from a light source. The pen my chickens have is covered all sides with a white top for light, we added a board on the front of the gate so we can block out snow and rain and wind if it's bad out there.
  10. sparrker

    sparrker Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 12, 2011
    Baldwinsville, NY
    Mine also hate the snow. Will not even go out the door, so I just keep them locked in to conserve the little heat that's in there for the water. We have 18" of snow today and 10 deg F

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