Winter temps and chickens

Kaesi2020

Songster
Premium Feather Member
Hi all! We live in upstate NY with our six pullets (BO, RSL and EE's). Temps are going down to close to 0 F overnight the next few nights. The coop is dry and insulated with ventilation on top. Should they be OK? I have read a lot about their cold hardiness but this will be their first experience with such cold temps.
 

Aapomp831

Crowing
Oct 4, 2017
3,670
6,223
471
Lincolnton, NC
Thank you! I'm sure I'll grow more comfortable with them out there in those temps. Once they experience it a few times! I appreciate your feedback.
No problem! Just remind yourself that chickens evolved and survived many, many years before humans started caring for them; they used to roost up in trees at night. They have a layer of down that helps kept them like little walking furnaces. One thing I do is give my girls scratch in the winter, since the digestion of the carbs helps generate heat in their bodies.
 

Kaesi2020

Songster
Premium Feather Member
No problem! Just remind yourself that chickens evolved and survived many, many years before humans started caring for them; they used to roost up in trees at night. They have a layer of down that helps kept them like little walking furnaces. One thing I do is give my girls scratch in the winter, since the digestion of the carbs helps generate heat in their bodies.
Awesome Thanks! I may take your advice on the scratch!
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
100,758
144,149
1,867
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
The first winter is tough...and scary.
But you'll be amazed at how tough they are.

Pics of your coop, inside and out might help us help you make things better/easier.
Do you also have a weather proof(solid roof, wind blocked walls) run?

Worst part about winter here is when it rages snow storm for days and they can't go outside,
my run is not weather proof. Lots of coop space helps on those days.
I watch closely for lethargy from cold stress during prolonged extreme temps and give electrolytes/vitamins during those times. I soak up the solution with rolled oats so no wattle dipping.

Any digestion will create' heat'. Better they fill their crops at night with good a chicken ration than lower nutrition scratch grains.
 

Kaesi2020

Songster
Premium Feather Member
The first winter is tough...and scary.
But you'll be amazed at how tough they are.

Pics of your coop, inside and out might help us help you make things better/easier.
Do you also have a weather proof(solid roof, wind blocked walls) run?

Worst part about winter here is when it rages snow storm for days and they can't go outside,
my run is not weather proof. Lots of coop space helps on those days.
I watch closely for lethargy from cold stress during prolonged extreme temps and give electrolytes/vitamins during those times. I soak up the solution with rolled oats so no wattle dipping.

Any digestion will create' heat'. Better they fill their crops at night with good a chicken ration than lower nutrition scratch grains.
Thanks. Here are some pics. It's an elevated coop. I'm wondering if we should shudder up the side windows or leave them exposed. They are at level with the roost bars. The bottom drop door we shut and lock overnight. We do not leave food or water in coop. Bedding is pine shavings, we scoop poop daily and replenish.
 

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Folly's place

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Sep 13, 2011
24,157
41,933
1,156
southern Michigan
Your coop includes the roofed run area? You have good ventilation there, not in the enclosed building. That small upper window, at roost level, could be partially covered, with an inch or two left open on the top. If the birds will be below that level when roosting. Otherwise, where's the upper ventilation?
And are the openings where the metal roof ridges are covered with hardware cloth? If those openings go into the coop, it's a tiny amount of ventilation, but too large to keep out rodents or weasels.
Your roofed run will be great all winter, with sheet vinyl covering at least the windward sides. Leave the upper foot or so open for ventilation. Very little snow or rain will blow in on the leeward sides.
Chickens hate snow, and you won't want to be shoveling it out very often.
With those walls closed in with clear plastic sheeting, the lower doors to the closed coop section can be open all the time, much nicer for everyone, as long as it's all predator proof.
Mary
 

Kaesi2020

Songster
Premium Feather Member
Your coop includes the roofed run area? You have good ventilation there, not in the enclosed building. That small upper window, at roost level, could be partially covered, with an inch or two left open on the top. If the birds will be below that level when roosting. Otherwise, where's the upper ventilation?
And are the openings where the metal roof ridges are covered with hardware cloth? If those openings go into the coop, it's a tiny amount of ventilation, but too large to keep out rodents or weasels.
Your roofed run will be great all winter, with sheet vinyl covering at least the windward sides. Leave the upper foot or so open for ventilation. Very little snow or rain will blow in on the leeward sides.
Chickens hate snow, and you won't want to be shoveling it out very often.
With those walls closed in with clear plastic sheeting, the lower doors to the closed coop section can be open all the time, much nicer for everyone, as long as it's all predator proof.
Mary
Thanks! We are going to partially cover the windows tomorrow. As for the roof and ridge vent, i expressed my concern to my partner and he showed me that the gap between the plywood and center beam is -1/4 inch- it looks big from the outside and side angle but it's super small- nice and predator proof but not good for ventilation! We are going to reassess the ventilation piece tomorrow as suggested. Thank you so much for looking so closely and helping us out!
 

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