"Winter Survival "

Minister Marc C

Chirping
Jun 28, 2021
28
59
54
quote20211113061914.jpg
Will our chickens survive the winter. . .?

(Brace yourselves) --- it turns out ~ They CAN -and- They WILL !!


Despite our efforts and desire to control everything,
“chickens” are able to survive the winter months.
Truth is, chickens are VERY well equipped to keep themselves warm
(because), after all, they (are) “woodland birds”.

Chickens have downy under feathers (fluff), trapping warm air against
their body. The outer feathers keep the cold air from penetrating.
If the chickens are on a perch, they will cover their feet with the belly feathers.

Do not add heat lamps ! It’s simply not necessary.
A Chickens average body-Temp is 106 F. (41.1 C) --

What about the comb and wattles?
Won’t they be exposed and possibly have frostbite?
Not if the coop is well built, has ventilation at the top and is relatively
draft free. (The coop should not be air tight).
In fact that would definitely lead to frost bite. The coop needs ventilation
to carry the warm moist air up and out of the coop. Otherwise the moist air
will lie on the surface of the combs, leading to frost bite.
Frost bite looks like black blemishes on the chicken’s comb.

Our coop consists mainly of 2 parts:
A nesting box where they lay eggs, which sits on top of a 6 ft. long,
metal frame, wooden top folding table, with lean-to style sides on 4 sides -
a ramp going up to the top of the table, and a gap for them to access
underneath. This gives em a place to go when it rains or when its
very windy / blustery. There is a food tray in there, and a layer of wood
shavings, dried grass / hay - and places to perch.
And when it's windy, wet or blustery cold, they are in there !

If you are wondering ‘why’ you have less eggs in the fall & winter --
It's just part of their seasonal-cycle.
Chickens lay less in the fall and winter for a reason.
Starting in late summer, as the days begin to shorten,
your chickens lose feathers in the annual molting process.
If the chickens have eaten enough ‘insects’ or other protein sources,
the feathers will be almost fully regrown.

Adding extra lights and so forth disrupts their natural cycle.
Artificial lighting holds the chickens back from getting a natural break.
Your hens (may) still be recovering from the “big-molt” ~ (rebuilding the feathers).
Even though they may look smooth and glossy on the outside,
the annual molt can take a toll on the inside.
This is why egg production is still off. Left to their own time table,
and with good nutrition, your hens will gradually regain the protein
and calcium reserves that they need to produce eggs.

Unless they are ill, egg production will naturally pick up again.
You will notice this generally (after) the Winter solstice.
The amount of daylight is a determining factor, don’t misunderstand.
They take notice of everything and they (will) take notice of the natural sun light
shining. When hens will notice the gradual increase in daylight,
egg production will increase again.

Make SURE you check their “WATER”(especially) in the winter!!
Water is a necessary nutrient all year long. Check it EVERYDAY.
Especially if you live where the winter months are extra-cold,
and below freezing.


Make sure that your flock has a source of fresh water through out
the day. This can be a little challenging, especially when temperatures
drop well below freezing. There are a number of founts designed to keep
the water above freezing. Submersible water heaters,
heated bases for metal waterers and electric heated bowls are all helpful,
“if” you have electric power in the coop. (And we don’t).

We generally just keep an eye on their water.
At night they are hunkered down and asleep. Come day-break,
they get fresh water. During the winter our outside hose is in storage.
When it’s below freezing (even below zero), we tote water from the house
out to the pen /coop.

Remember: They ARE feathered, “woodland Birds” -
well equipped by a “competent designer”
(GOD).
They’ve lived a long time year after year,
generation after generation - without interference (from us) -
without “us” putting “shoes” and “sweaters” on them -
without us tying little knit “hats” on their little feathery heads !
They simply DON’T REQUIRE that sort of interference from “us” !


FOOD ~ WATER ~ SHELTER. Easy peasy, 1,2,3.
Feed and water birds more often when it’s below freezing.
Energy needs increase in winter. Animals expend a considerable
amount of energy to stay warm and will eat more feed.
 
Last edited:

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
8,662
18,968
726
USA
Will our chickens survive the winter. . .?

(Brace yourselves) --- it turns out ~ They CAN -and- They WILL !!
:goodpost:



chickens are VERY well equipped to keep themselves warm...

Chickens have downy under feathers (fluff), trapping warm air against
their body. The outer feathers keep the cold air from penetrating.
If the chickens are on a perch, they will cover their feet with the belly feathers.

Do not add heat lamps ! It’s simply not necessary.
A Chickens average body-Temp is 106 F. (41.1 C) --
:goodpost::thumbsup


Also, don’t feed them “oatmeal”. (Some people do this…)
Oats contain some types of fiber that chickens can’t digest which can
cause the contents of the digestive tract to thicken. This leads to a
reduction in the bird’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients.
Not really true.

A warm mash of chicken food and water is a much better choice than oatmeal (and the chickens love it!), but chickens digest oats just fine. Oats are an ingredient in many chicken feeds.

Greens through the winter are also unnecessary.

If the chickens have a good, complete feed they don't NEED greens at any time of the year, although they enjoy having greens at any season.

Hens may pick at hay and spread it around, but they are not going to eat it.
They do eat some of it. Not enough to make a big difference in their diet, and not the big stems, but they definitely do eat small bits of hay.


Make SURE you check their “WATER”(especially) in the winter!!
Water is a necessary nutrient all year long. Check it EVERYDAY.
Especially if you live where the winter months are extra-cold,
and below freezing.
:yesss::thumbsup

Like you, I've always made it a point to give fresh water first thing in the morning, because they wake up thirsty and that is when it is most likely to be frozen. And I also make sure they have water in the last hour before dark, so they can have plenty to drink as they are trying to fill their crops before bedtime. Heated waterers might be nice, but I have always carried water from the house for my chickens in winter and they did just fine.

One benefit to a coop with no electricity: you don't have to worry about the chickens when the electric power goes out, because nothing changes for them!
 

Egg Snatcher

Crowing
May 11, 2020
1,712
3,124
311
What about whole corn? Should I feed them that? It can get done to -20. I gave them corn through the winter last year and started to give it to them now to get them ready for winter. Is that a good idea?
 

Minister Marc C

Chirping
Jun 28, 2021
28
59
54
View attachment 2897235 Will our chickens survive the winter. . .?

(Brace yourselves) --- it turns out ~ They CAN -and- They WILL !!


Despite our efforts and desire to control everything,
“chickens” are able to survive the winter months.
Truth is, chickens are VERY well equipped to keep themselves warm
(because), after all, they (are) “woodland birds”.

Chickens have downy under feathers (fluff), trapping warm air against
their body. The outer feathers keep the cold air from penetrating.
If the chickens are on a perch, they will cover their feet with the belly feathers.

Do not add heat lamps ! It’s simply not necessary.
A Chickens average body-Temp is 106 F. (41.1 C) --

Also, don’t feed them “oatmeal”. (Some people do this…)
Oats contain some types of fiber that chickens can’t digest which can
cause the contents of the digestive tract to thicken. This leads to a
reduction in the bird’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients.
Greens through the winter are also unnecessary.
Hens may pick at hay and spread it around, but they are not going to eat it.

What about the comb and wattles?
Won’t they be exposed and possibly have frostbite?
Not if the coop is well built, has ventilation at the top and is relatively
draft free. (The coop should not be air tight).
In fact that would definitely lead to frost bite. The coop needs ventilation
to carry the warm moist air up and out of the coop. Otherwise the moist air
will lie on the surface of the combs, leading to frost bite.
Frost bite looks like black blemishes on the chicken’s comb.

Our coop consists mainly of 2 parts:
A nesting box where they lay eggs, which sits on top of a 6 ft. long,
metal frame, wooden top folding table, with lean-to style sides on 4 sides -
a ramp going up to the top of the table, and a gap for them to access
underneath. This gives em a place to go when it rains or when its
very windy / blustery. There is a food tray in there, and a layer of wood
shavings, dried grass / hay - and places to perch.
And when it's windy, wet or blustery cold, they are in there !

If you are wondering ‘why’ you have less eggs in the fall & winter --
It's just part of their seasonal-cycle.
Chickens lay less in the fall and winter for a reason.
Starting in late summer, as the days begin to shorten,
your chickens lose feathers in the annual molting process.
If the chickens have eaten enough ‘insects’ or other protein sources,
the feathers will be almost fully regrown.

Adding extra lights and so forth disrupts their natural cycle.
Artificial lighting holds the chickens back from getting a natural break.
Your hens (may) still be recovering from the “big-molt” ~ (rebuilding the feathers).
Even though they may look smooth and glossy on the outside,
the annual molt can take a toll on the inside.
This is why egg production is still off. Left to their own time table,
and with good nutrition, your hens will gradually regain the protein
and calcium reserves that they need to produce eggs.

Unless they are ill, egg production will naturally pick up again.
You will notice this generally (after) the Winter solstice.
The amount of daylight is a determining factor, don’t misunderstand.
They take notice of everything and they (will) take notice of the natural sun light
shining. When hens will notice the gradual increase in daylight,
egg production will increase again.

Make SURE you check their “WATER”(especially) in the winter!!
Water is a necessary nutrient all year long. Check it EVERYDAY.
Especially if you live where the winter months are extra-cold,
and below freezing.


Make sure that your flock has a source of fresh water through out
the day. This can be a little challenging, especially when temperatures
drop well below freezing. There are a number of founts designed to keep
the water above freezing. Submersible water heaters,
heated bases for metal waterers and electric heated bowls are all helpful,
“if” you have electric power in the coop. (And we don’t).

We generally just keep an eye on their water.
At night they are hunkered down and asleep. Come day-break,
they get fresh water. During the winter our outside hose is in storage.
When it’s below freezing (even below zero), we tote water from the house
out to the pen /coop.

Remember: They ARE feathered, “woodland Birds” -
well equipped by a “competent designer”
(GOD).
They’ve lived a long time year after year,
generation after generation - without interference (from us) -
without “us” putting “shoes” and “sweaters” on them -
without us tying little knit “hats” on their little feathery heads !
They simply DON’T REQUIRE that sort of interference from “us” !


FOOD ~ WATER ~ SHELTER. Easy peasy, 1,2,3.
Feed and water birds more often when it’s below freezing.
Energy needs increase in winter. Animals expend a considerable
amount of energy to stay warm and will eat more feed.
There are certain types of "rolled oat" fibers (high fibers)
that chickens simply cannot digest. It cause the contents of
the digestive tract to thicken. This leads to a
(reduction) in the bird’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients.
Rolled Oat fibers contain "Beta-glucons" which bind with water...
It (can) lead to death by obstruction. Whole oats are about 2.3 - 8.5%
Beta-glucan. Oat bran is an even higher concentration.
When "oats" are made into oatmeal, water is added. It's more bulk with less
the nutrition volume. It can be fed as a treat, but not a supplement - and certainly
not in place of.
 
Last edited:

Minister Marc C

Chirping
Jun 28, 2021
28
59
54
What about whole corn? Should I feed them that? It can get done to -20. I gave them corn through the winter last year and started to give it to them now to get them ready for winter. Is that a good idea?
Chickens prefer whole corn over cracked corn. They'll eat any type of corn but prefer whole corn. They'll eat cracked corn to, but spend more time pecking for the cracked versus whole.
If it's on the cob, they'll eat it just as well.
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
8,662
18,968
726
USA
There are certain types of "rolled oat" fibers (high fibers)
that chickens simply cannot digest.
Rolled oats are the same as whole oats, except they get rolled. So if whole oats are fine for chickens, so are rolled oats.

It cause the contents of
the digestive tract to thicken. This leads to a
(reduction) in the bird’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients.
Rolled Oat fibers contain "Beta-glucons" which bind with water...
It (can) lead to death by obstruction.
Do you have a source for that?

(And "the chicken chick" is not a good source. She has footnotes/links to articles that do not actually say what she claims they say.)
 

Minister Marc C

Chirping
Jun 28, 2021
28
59
54
Rolled oats are the same as whole oats, except they get rolled. So if whole oats are fine for chickens, so are rolled oats.


Do you have a source for that?

(And "the chicken chick" is not a good source. She has footnotes/links to articles that do not actually say what she claims they say.)
A source for what? Ask a vet familiar with glucan-fiber / nutrition as it pertains to chickens.
Been raising chickens for many, many years. A little research goes a long ways.
Beyond that -- stop reading online nonsense and contact:

University of Minnesota Extension for starters..​

 

Minister Marc C

Chirping
Jun 28, 2021
28
59
54
A source for what? Ask a vet familiar with glucan-fiber / nutrition as it pertains to chickens.
Been raising chickens for many, many years. A little research goes a long ways.
Beyond that -- stop reading online nonsense and contact:

University of Minnesota Extension for starters..​

https://extension.umn.edu/poultry/small-scale-poultry
https://extension.missouri.edu/publications/g8350
https://aces.illinois.edu/research/facilities/feed-technology-center

Save the oatmeal and "you" eat it ! Buy bushels of Corn and shuck or grind your own.
You can buy a rough mill grinder for about $40.00 dollars - start grinding.
It's not hard. None of this is difficult. Chickens couldn't be any easier to raise !
Keep em safe, give em water daily ~they give you eggs & meat in return.
Simple.
Bushel prices for corn are averaging, as of November 11, 2021:
$5.69. 1 - Bushel of corn equates to approx. 55-56 lbs.
The price for (1) Bushel of oats is:

1 Bushel ≈ 0,035 m³Oats Price Per 1 m³208.29 USD
So what's cheaper? Groceries and all consumer goods are up 60%.
Better save the ''rolled oats''.
 
Last edited:

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