When is it TOO cold for them?!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by aoxa, Nov 22, 2011.

  1. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    So when is cold, too cold for my chickens (& duck)? My breeds are listed in my signature. My chickens are holding one foot up. Is this a cold thing? No signs of frostbite. It's 13 Fahrenheit right now, but it was colder overnight. If it is dry and draft free, should I still worry?

    This is my first winter, and I don't have heat or insulation for them. They have a small coop at night with adequate ventelation and during the day they have free run of my garage and fenced in yard. I can close the door to the outdoors and let them just use the garage, but my fiancée says they should have the choice to go outdoors or not. The side door to the garage is people sized. This could let in wind/drafts.

    I'm hoping all goes well and I don't lose a single chicken [​IMG]

    Again, I do not provide heat. I live in Canada. We get pretty cold in January around here... Hoping this year isn't as bad as last...
     
  2. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    I don't know much about the silkies, cochin, and polish, but all the others should be fine in a dry, draft free coop during the kind of cold you get. There is a thread around here somewhere about someone in Alaska who uses no supplemental heat, at temps way below zero (F). Just make sure they have unfrozen water, and lots of nice pine shavings, deep, under them at night. If your coop is on the ground you can also put some hay bales around the coop for extra warmth.

    I'm sure others will chime in. Keep some perspective. There are people in FL who heat their coops during winter....completely not necessary.
     
  3. JodyJo

    JodyJo Chillin' With My Peeps

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  4. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:My production red is who I am most worried about. Her comb is huge, and she was looking really cold this morning when I let her out. The others were scratching around like normal.

    Thanks [​IMG] I wouldn't have been able to add heat anyway. I'll just have to feed them some warm oatmeal in the morning to warm them up or something [​IMG]
     
  5. JodyJo

    JodyJo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 27, 2010
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    Quote:My production red is who I am most worried about. Her comb is huge, and she was looking really cold this morning when I let her out. The others were scratching around like normal.

    Thanks [​IMG] I wouldn't have been able to add heat anyway. I'll just have to feed them some warm oatmeal in the morning to warm them up or something [​IMG]

    I had a rooster shaking the other morning, wouldn't really stand up and walk around...I offer warm water and oatmeal in the cold am...that works...
    the one foot thing is cute, its just a chicken thing....
     
  6. Chemguy

    Chemguy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm starting to believe that the answer to your question is that "it depends." I might be way off base here, but it seems to me that in many cases a standard hen in, say, Brownsville TX might benefit from a heat source when temps dip into the 30's. A hen in Nome, AK might benefit only when temps dip well below zero. Basically, what I am saying is that if temps dip suddenly and significantly below normal temps for your area, then the birds might like some heat or protection. If they have time to adjust to progressively lower temps, then they could be fine. This is, of course, just my opinion and I hope that others will chime in.
     
  7. ninabeast

    ninabeast Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There is a wonderful LONG post on here started by an Alaskan chicken daddy, and it is amazing how cold these girls can take it. I figure, if hens can take winter (and decreased light!) in Alaska and Minnesota, they'll manage our Upstate New York winter just fine.

    That said, I DO give them warm oatmeal in the morning. [​IMG]
     
  8. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    I keep hens in an area that regularly gets to -30F which is about the same on either the F or C scale. Cold. No heat and no insulation, but great ventilation.

    Fact is that individual chickens vary, along breed lines to some degree, but it's more about the individual. The RSL, bred primarily for the industry, is closely feathered and is not as hardy as a White Rock or Orpington, for example. Heating is sooooo expensive if you have a barn or larger coup. It isn't just practical, it's impossible. While it may be difficult for some, because they may be emotionally attached to their particular hens, but being a flock keeper in the far north, as you and I are, requires good judgement and a clear head and steady hand.

    It is important not to merely beat the drum of "no heat" without also stressing the need to keep cold hardy breeds and individuals.
     
  9. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Fred's Hens :

    I keep hens in an area that regularly gets to -30F which is about the same on either the F or C scale. Cold. No heat and no insulation, but great ventilation.

    Fact is that individual chickens vary, along breed lines to some degree, but it's more about the individual. The RSL, bred primarily for the industry, is closely feathered and is not as hardy as a White Rock or Orpington, for example. Heating is sooooo expensive if you have a barn or larger coup. It isn't just practical, it's impossible. While it may be difficult for some, because they may be emotionally attached to their particular hens, but being a flock keeper in the far north, as you and I are, requires good judgement and a clear head and steady hand.

    It is important not to merely beat the drum of "no heat" without also stressing the need to keep cold hardy breeds and individuals.

    I tried to get cold hardy breeds. The only one that I would think would have issues would be the polish, but those two are doing wonderful. I am watching that their crests aren't freezing. It was -16 celcius last night. Our temperature is varying a lot this past week. On Sunday it was +11 and it is going up to that again this weekend. [​IMG] It's going up to 48 Fahrenheit on the weekend, if that is less confusing for those in the US. Hope this dramatic temperature variation doesn't phase them.​
     
  10. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:Can't be any harm in that, can there? [​IMG] I'd say our winters are about the same. I am not in Western Canada, so it's not as bad as one would think [​IMG] I just checked out the stats of our normal weather. Average low in January & Feb doesn't even hit 0 Fahrenheit. Record low was around -35. BRR! We can vary a lot. This fall has been really warm though.
     

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