"Winter Survival "

Vicker

Songster
7 Years
Jun 28, 2014
250
454
168
Texas
I do not have access to any vets that know about chickens. Most vets know little or nothing about chickens. The ones that do know about chickens are not available to me.


And so have I, and my parents and grandparents before me. Which proves nothing about whether oats are harmful to chickens or not.


Yes, it does. But apparently my "research" and your "research" have found different things.


Can I look on their website?

The University of Minnesota Extension says:
"Scratch-cracked corn and oats are a nice treat for the chickens that does not supply all their nutritional needs but is fine in moderation."
https://extension.umn.edu/small-scale-poultry/raising-chickens-eggs

The University of Maine Extension says:
"Chicks can be fed wheat, oats or barley. The oats or barley need to be limited to 25% of the starter diet. After six weeks of age, the birds can be fed rations with oats or barley as the whole source of grain,"
https://www.mofga.org/resources/poultry/chickens/

And, for a source that is not online, I have the book Practical Poultry Management, by James E. Rice and Harold E Botsford, published in 1925. (Both of those authors are listed as professors of Poultry Husbandry at Cornell University. Rice was head of the department.)

It says,
"Oats, if heavy, are very desirable for poultry. Light oats are of little value. They have a heavy shuck and contain too much fiber, which is largely indigestible. Oats should not exceed 20 per cent of the grain mixture." (page 89)
"Ground heavy oats are a desirable constituent of the mash. They are rather bulky. Because of their high fiber content, they should not exceed 25 per cent of the mash mixture." (page 90)

So yes, there is quite a history of including oats as part of the diet of chickens, and of oats being considered a good food for chickens (but not as a complete diet.)

And logically, I see no reason why rolling oats should be any worse than feeding them whole, or grinding them and mixing into the feed. It's just a change of shape. I recognize that oatmeal is usually cooked, and I do not know whether cooking makes a difference to the digestibility-- but cooking increases digestibility for most foods, and I have not seen aynthing saying oats are different.


I am talking about a blogger who puts up articles with pretty pictures, that new chicken keepers like to read and quote and recommend. But some of her information is just plain wrong, and I don't trust anything she writes unless it is verified by other sources.

She wrote an article on oatmeal:
https://the-chicken-chick.com/the-shocking-effect-of-oatmeal/
Every fall, some newbie posts about how wonderful it is :rolleyes:
Her "research" is awful ("beta glucans are bad" has footnotes that lead to a definition of beta glucans, and to a paper that says they harm different species in different ways while never mentioning chickens or oats.)
And the "nutritionist" quoted in that same article thinks you can validly compare nutrient percentages of dry chicken food and wet oats. Gee, he better not let his chickens have any water to dilute their complete feed!

But I am very tired of seeing people quote that article, and what you initially said sounded almost exaclty like what that article said.

Which is why I asked for sources. If a GOOD source shows that oats have problems, then I am happy to listen to it.

But so far, the sources I have seen that appear to be good or reputable do NOT say anything about oats being worse than other grains (like wheat, barley, and rye which also contain beta glucans and also have a history of being used in chicken food.)


I like facts. That is why I asked for a source.
The internet has plenty of facts, and even more lies, and the difficulty is to figure out which are which (which is part of why I also quoted a physical book that predates the internet.)
I have the same issue with gardening information on the web. Wanna-be experts write blogs with information they've gleaned from other sites. They pick up the same misinformation and spread it like a bad cold.
 

Sheri460

Chirping
Mar 11, 2021
62
39
61
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) --

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.

This may be a silly question, but this is my first winter with my flock of 5. I do not keep water and food inside their coop, it's in their fenced in run area. We're supposed to have temps in the teens and single digits for the next couple of days, should I move some food and water into the coop? Or is it still okay for them to come out and eat and drink, and will they? So far my experience has been that they prefer to be in the run regardless of the weather, wind, cold, rain, etc. I always think they'll go hang out in the coop in bad weather, but I rarely see them do that, maybe since we have a covered portion of the run and they can get out of some of the weather. Thanks in advance!
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
11,954
31,377
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North Carolina Sandhills
My Coop
My Coop
This may be a silly question, but this is my first winter with my flock of 5. I do not keep water and food inside their coop, it's in their fenced in run area. We're supposed to have temps in the teens and single digits for the next couple of days, should I move some food and water into the coop? Or is it still okay for them to come out and eat and drink, and will they? So far my experience has been that they prefer to be in the run regardless of the weather, wind, cold, rain, etc. I always think they'll go hang out in the coop in bad weather, but I rarely see them do that, maybe since we have a covered portion of the run and they can get out of some of the weather. Thanks in advance!

If the food and water are under the cover they should be fine there.

Is there a windblock for that portion of the run?
 

Sheri460

Chirping
Mar 11, 2021
62
39
61
If the food and water are under the cover they should be fine there.

Is there a windblock for that portion of the run?
It is under the covered portion. I do have a wind block but it's in a different corner, maybe I'll move their food to that spot. I hadn't thought of that. Thank you!
 

amarisarie

In the Brooder
Jul 9, 2019
3
4
18
This may be a silly question, but this is my first winter with my flock of 5. I do not keep water and food inside their coop, it's in their fenced in run area. We're supposed to have temps in the teens and single digits for the next couple of days, should I move some food and water into the coop? Or is it still okay for them to come out and eat and drink, and will they? So far my experience has been that they prefer to be in the run regardless of the weather, wind, cold, rain, etc. I always think they'll go hang out in the coop in bad weather, but I rarely see them do that, maybe since we have a covered portion of the run and they can get out of some of the weather. Thanks in advance!
I have a similar set up with a small coop inside a larger run where their food and water sits. I created a windbreak by just hanging clear tarps around the exterior. It makes a big difference when it's single digits with -12 wind chill.
20220105_134214.jpg
 
Nov 11, 2020
1,610
2,748
286
West Virginia
This may be a silly question, but this is my first winter with my flock of 5. I do not keep water and food inside their coop, it's in their fenced in run area. We're supposed to have temps in the teens and single digits for the next couple of days, should I move some food and water into the coop? Or is it still okay for them to come out and eat and drink, and will they? So far my experience has been that they prefer to be in the run regardless of the weather, wind, cold, rain, etc. I always think they'll go hang out in the coop in bad weather, but I rarely see them do that, maybe since we have a covered portion of the run and they can get out of some of the weather. Thanks in advance!
It was 14 degrees F outside this morning, the first snow my chickens have ever seen! I'm not sure what they think about it because they can't get out in the snow. Their runs covered and has a tarp on it so they won't get wet. They can go in and out of the coop anytime they want but they usually stay in the run until dark.
 

Sheri460

Chirping
Mar 11, 2021
62
39
61
It was 14 degrees F outside this morning, the first snow my chickens have ever seen! I'm not sure what they think about it because they can't get out in the snow. Their runs covered and has a tarp on it so they won't get wet. They can go in and out of the coop anytime they want but they usually stay in the run until dark.
Last week it ended up snowing 8 inches and it got down to 8 degrees outside and my girls were just fine. They started to walk out of the coop in the morning when I opened the coop door (still 8 degrees) and then they saw the white ground, looked around, and walked back into the coop. It was a bit comical. They never got off the ramp. I set their food and water inside the coop for a few hours, then they decided to venture out. I put straw down on the ground under the covered portion of the run (where there was little snow) and they seemed happy as could be. But they did not go near the snowy side of the run. The second day, I cleared them a path where they could see the green grass underneath and wherever the path was, they walked, so they came out of the run and into the yard for awhile eating grass, but they didn't venture into the snow at all. It was so funny watching them walk on the path only.
 

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