Windchill and chickens being outside

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Going Quackers, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    Do poultry feel windchills? or do you just go by the real temperature? My run is not attached so it's not a matter of they go in the coop or come out.

    Small wooden box is provided in the run but it's nothing high grade, doesn't even have a floor. The one side of the pen however is covered in cedar trees that tower well beyond it's height, so i wouldn't call it wide open.

    Just trying to figure this windchill vs real temp thing. Forgot, their coop has no artificial light or heat.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
  2. nova022

    nova022 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How cold does it get where you are? Fully feathered chickens can take pretty cold weather, as long as they have fresh water and their combs are protected from frost bite. I put a tarp along a section of my fence to block the prevailing wind and they seem happy and healthy but the lowest the temp has been here is 19 degrees f.
     
  3. DTchickens

    DTchickens Overrun With Chickens

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    I would say yes, they do feel wind chills. For some time I was told that my Shamo's needed extra winter care as Oriental gamefowl having such sparse feathering can die from the cold temps.I questioned how cold was too cold for a long time with no answer and I'm not someone to supply artificial heat except in the case of chicks without a mother.

    I had the temps get around 10 degrees I believe it was the first year I had them, it hasn't gotten quite that low again ( I didn't even wrap their pens this year) and they survived perfectly just having tarps around their pens. I mentioned this to a friend and she mentioned that she believes it is all in the wind mostly and that temp itself is usually not too bad except maybe in really cold climates.

    That being said though, for many breeds windchill doesn't matter. Most are perfectly capable of withstanding temperatures below 0 if they are in good shape and never need any supplemental heat, it can result in frostbite for the single combed breeds if you're not careful but it really all plays into knowing your breeds.

    God bless,
    Daniel.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Sure they know when it's cold and windy. They'll blink, squint and if the wind whistles through their feathers they'll only enjoy being outside for spurts. Ours can come and go. They decide. A lot depends on whether the sun is shining. I notice they love to come out, even if it is zero weather, if they can "catch some rays".

    Truth be told, the winter ground is frozen and covered with snow here. There's little to nothing to do outside anyhow, so they wander out, then wander back in. Spring is coming, just not fast enough. Supposed to be -8 F tonight again.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
  5. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    A strong, cold wInd seems to be the one thing that does drive my hens back into their coop. They may be technically able to withstand it but they just don't seem to like it. They go out for a bit then head back inside, or they hang out on whatever side of the barn is out of the wind, especially if it's sunny.

    So if your birds don't have access to get back to their coop from their run I'd make sure they have a good place to get out of the wind when they get tired of it.
     
  6. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    Thanks for the input. It;s overcast and snowing, -7C with a windchill of -16C so... 19F but feels like 3F the ground is solid, we did get most of the snow out the way but the entire perimeter has at least 10 inches of piled up snow/ice, plus since it is snowing the ground is covering up anyways.

    They do have branches and so forth to mimic trees but there is nothing out there in way of scratching, frankly i am not sure if the water will even stay open. I had them outside yesterday but the weather was more stable and sunny. They are a cold hardy, small comb flock of birds but i see i am on the right track with my way of doing things.

    I hope to have a pen attached for this winter coming to avoid the conflict of deciding.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
  7. DogChickenDad

    DogChickenDad Out Of The Brooder

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    We are supposed to have 30 mph gusts and wind chills here tonight that are below zero. I have about 15 birds that open air camp every night even though they have a big house where the rest of the flock sleeps. Should I lock them in the house tonight or let them sleep outside?
     
  8. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    I have a couple birds that sleep semi in the open, on top of my coops but they are under the roof of an open barn. But when we get bad north winds I put them in the coop at night. I just sleep better knowing they are not sitting there with the wind blasting on them all night long, and I live in central CA where nighttime wind chill factors might be in the 20's, nothing in the negatives.
     
  9. DogChickenDad

    DogChickenDad Out Of The Brooder

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    I don't know why these birds sleep outside, heck, they could also go under a dry lean to next to their room but they open air, one even sleeps on top of the cage like Snoopy! I do not lock my birds in their pen at night. Their room is a 12 x 12 with shavings and perches and their food, plenty of room for all of them.
     
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Yes, chickens feel wind chill. Wind Chill is a matter of physics. There are some different risks for chickens.

    One big risk is frostbite. Chickens with larger combs and wattles are more at risk, but even these chickens can usually handle some pretty cold temperatures to us without a big problem as long as the comb and wattles are dry and they are out of the wind. But in extreme cold or if they are wet or in the wind, they are at risk of frostbite.

    Chickens can handle really cold weather because they are wearing a down coat. That down coat traps tiny pockets of air, that air gets warmed up, and it keeps them warm. But if a wind ruffles the feathers and lets that warmed air escape, they can get dangerously cold. I guess technically that’s not a wind chill effect, but wind chill can make it even colder to them.

    From what you describe, I’d put them in tonight. Not because of wind chill, but because of wind.
     

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