When is it too cold for a chicken?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mirjam, Dec 19, 2008.

  1. mirjam

    mirjam Out Of The Brooder

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    May 13, 2008
    Vermont
    It is supposed to get real cold the next few nights (down to 0 degrees). My 7 girls and 1 roo are in an insulated and draft free coop and have done very well so far. We have had nights in the lower teens and they did fine, but I have been wondering how much cold they can take.
     
  2. Omran

    Omran Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2008
    Bagdad KY
    More than what we think, if you have your coop as you described, so really don,t worry about them they will be just fine.

    Merry Christmas.

    Omran
     
  3. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    My Coop
    There are several Alaskan BYC members. Hopefully they will reply too. I think they will be ok. There is warmth in numbers.
     
  4. Debo's Chickens

    Debo's Chickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 6, 2008
    Everett, WA
    I'm getting worried about this too, though it's not quite as cold here. Below are pictures of my coop & run from the summer time. It's not very big & I only have 3 chickens. It's cedar boards & comp roofing. Temps have been down in the low 20's, maybe even teens sometimes overnight, and around or below freezing during the day. I'm going to get some kind of insulation tomorrow to put in the upper portion (the walls & roof - any suggestions?). I'm also thinking I'm going to cover the "window" in the upper portion w/ plastic, at least for the next couple days - we're supposed to have a windstorm.

    I know my chickens don't like this weather. They only come down once or twice a day to eat. I've been bringing them warm oatmeal or cornmeal mash mixed w/ a seed mixture I made every morning. They go nuts for it, but it seems like that's pretty much all they eat all day. Otherwise they just pick at the pellets. I think I'll put some pellets up top too, maybe that will entice them to eat more (if they need to?).

    Anyone see any problems in what I'm doing, or have suggestions?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    If your birds sleep inside, they'll be fine... my silly birds are up in Everett sleeping OUTSIDE their hutch portion....
     
  6. Debo's Chickens

    Debo's Chickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 6, 2008
    Everett, WA
    Yes, they certainly sleep inside their coop! They do not like to go outside! I forgot to mention, their roosts are up top, in the "roof" section of the coop. There are two roosts, which are round (maybe flattened on top?) & about 2" in diameter. I've been reading in the other threads about using flat 2x4 for roosts. Is this better? Should I add a flat roost too?

    I also forgot to mention that the three I have are a RIR, Barred Rock & a Black Australorp, so they're all supposed to be hardy. However, the RIR & BR are molting & the BA's feathers aren't in the greatest shape. She got quite muddy before I got her & had some feathers cut off because of mud stuck to them. Some feathers are still matted w/ mud. But she's been laying for close to a month now, about 5 eggs a week. Even in this crazy weather!

    I still worry a bit, since there are only 3 to keep eachother warm & their feathers aren't in tip top shape at the moment. But they're still alive & it's supposed to warm up a bit in a couple days. I read in other threads how some people in much colder areas than here have chickens who are still going out & ranging around in the snow! Mine want no part of that. They won't even go into their run, which is covered w/ plastic, so the ground isn't covered in snow. I open the door to the outside when I go out there & do stuff, but they certainly don't want to go out into the snow. I guess if I threw some food down, they might. But I figure why bother - if they don't want to, why make them? [​IMG]
     
  7. Debo's Chickens

    Debo's Chickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 6, 2008
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    I got the insulation put in. It looks like bubble wrap sandwiched between 2 sheets of aluminum foil. I put it on the roof & walls in the main part of the upper coop. Problem is, now the chickens won't go upstairs! I guess they're afraid of the new shiny stuff???? We only have an hour of daylight left . . . . [​IMG]
     
  8. redoak

    redoak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Russia, NY
    We've had 4 nights so far this winter with subzero temps. The coldest night it was very windy and without windchill it was negative 8 degrees F. That night one of our roosters got just a touch of frostbite on the tips of his comb.
     
  9. chookchick

    chookchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Try wrapping the coop with insulation on the outside, then cover that with plastic, and bungy the whole thing on! I did that, not pretty, but it makes me feel better. Your chickens are probably fine, I wouldn't completely close off the ventilation, leave a bit open near the top. I also put a thermometer inside (without the red stuff) to check the temp. I leaned boards around the outside of the run to cut on snow drifting in, they liked that, and put a (chick) feeder inside the enclosed area so they didn't have to come outside to eat if they didn't want too. A heated concrete paver under the water keeps it from freezing quite as quickly. I'm about done with this weather!
     
  10. Debo's Chickens

    Debo's Chickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 6, 2008
    Everett, WA
    Debo's Chickens :

    I got the insulation put in. It looks like bubble wrap sandwiched between 2 sheets of aluminum foil. I put it on the roof & walls in the main part of the upper coop. Problem is, now the chickens won't go upstairs! I guess they're afraid of the new shiny stuff???? We only have an hour of daylight left . . . . [​IMG]

    They went up! Forgot to mention earlier, that we also took out one of the roosting poles & replaced it w/ a 2x4. They were on the other pole, but I'm sure they'll check out the new 2x4 in time. [​IMG]
     

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