Will my chickens freeze??!!


In the Brooder
7 Years
Apr 27, 2012
This is my first winter with our chickens and ducks, and it's starting to get very cold. We have a 4x6' coop, 3 reg wooden nest boxes ( sitting about 1 ft off the ground ) one 3x3' wooden box ( also 1ft high ) and a lg dog igloo. All of them are filled with hay for them to pick and chose their sleeping/laying spot. I have winterised all of them, no drafts or leaks, and the temp is starting to drop down to the 30's at night. However ALL of them still sleep on the summer perches. I have them in a 20x30' run so I've never had to lock them up at night, but now I'm getting worried. They all huddle close together at night and look very cold. The ducks just sleep on the ground and my 2nd rooster and 1 of his hens sleep by themselves on perches with no buddy to share body heat. Will they eventually move into the coops or will they be fine? The walls in the coop are just 8' cattle fencing and I have it lined with chicken wire so there really isn't any wind block in the run part. I'm still new and don't want them to freeze to death so if you need to see pics or need more info I will gladly supply it. Thank you so much for your help and advice.

I have 4 Black Coppers, 1 RIR, 2 Jersey Giants, 2 Americana's, and 2 feed store chickens ( no idea what they are )
3 pekins, 1 black swedish, 1 blue swedish
And one Very loving Bantam Big Mama

I filled all the gaps on the coop in the top right side of this pic

This is where 2 of my chickens sleep on either side of the pole
I love your set up, I wouldn't worry too much as you have provided a lot of places for them to go if cold. And they are pretty hardy, lovely down undercoats and all

Keep in mind that birds are prey animals and so sleeping on the ground although not unheard of, may be difficult for them.

We have an open run design as well and in the winters, I staple heavy duty plastic sheeting to whatever side the wind blows into. The snow will pile up and provide extra insulation to the whole run and the plastic will keep the wind off of them. Might be something for you to think of adding.
Snow really isn't too much of a danger here, I live in Georgia, we get maybe 1 inch here or there but nothing major. The chickens don't sleep on the ground, it's just the ducks that do...EVERY NIGHT. I will defiantly get our tarp out and wrap it on the side of the run that isn't blocked by our pine tree. That pine makes a really good wind break for one side. Thanks so much for the help :)
I bet pines do make a GREAT windbreak! Our ducks like to sleep on the ground up here in KY too. That might be cause their butts are too big to fit in the hen house... Straw is a great insulator though so I don't worry about them too much. Best of luck this winter! Let's hope it's not as bad as they expect!
If the chickens are out of the draft, they should be fine. They have the wonderful down comforters with them all the time. When I see mine lined up cheek by jowl on the roost, I feel sure that they keep each other warm as well.

I would suggest that there be enough room for each chicken in their house, sounds like there is. My experience is that they will do what's best for themselves. They will go where it is warm enough, unless there are maybe other birds not letting them in? Where I live there is an old part of town that has wild hens and roosters, in a residential area. They sleep in the trees year round. We have the same 28-30 degree lows in the winter.
In Canada I am subject to -40º cold snaps. I do NOT heat my coop. Murphy's law says my birds will find out what -40 is all about when my hydro goes out. Regardless what you decide feed extra Corn over the winter you will not be sorry.

Or something like this may help also; You could even knit a hoodie for those extra cold days..

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They should be fine. I've seen people whose chickens have slept outside and awoken with an inch of snow on top of them and shook it off and walked away fine. Good to provide them a place for shelter though
, which you have done well.
I read all of this yesterday, so I thought we were safe. Woke up this morning to 5 dead chickens. I have One rooster left he is wrapped in blankets on my lap. Now what? What do I do with him now???

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