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Thread: Keeping girls cosy in freezing temperatures.

  1. #1
    Beenie3921 is offline Germinator
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    Default Keeping girls cosy in freezing temperatures.

    Just finished reading Snadgers post on checking chicks/all birds water in this freezing spell.
    Does anyone have any other tips in this cold weather?
    I have put loads extra bedding in their beds and run and cardboard and bits of carpet around the coops at night. I also give them a warm mash in the morning and late afternoon. The mash has warm cooked porridge, layers mash, sweetcorn, mealworms and digestive biscuits in it. Just something to get a heat into them in - temperatures.
    I would love to hear any other tips.

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    Nicos's Avatar
    Nicos is offline 'Allo 'Allo !
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    Nice thread

    I have tried to make the coop as draught proof as possible without it being airless.
    Mine is an old pigsty so it's not such a problem as with an exposed coop.
    I do find that went I open the door in the morning that it's nice and snug inside so I think I have a good balance.
    They huddle together too for added warmth with their inbuilt duvets!

    They do have a warm porridge in the morning with a spoonful of 'spice' , garlic and some raisins.....but I don't want to overfeed them because I don't want them to get too fat and stop laying!

    As mine free range, they have open access to a couple of other shelters during the day so they can keep out of the wind and rain which I think causes them more of a problem than the cold.
    I think they appreciate not having to stand in snow too.
    I believe some breeds are more cold hardy than others?

    Sounds to me like you are doing a great job with your gals!
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    veggiechicken is online now Warning!! Contains Nuts
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    My Hen's coop is in a covered, walk-in run and has high wooden fences on the North and West sides. Although their water is outside in the run, its never had more than a thin layer of ice on top - nothing at all so far this year.
    I don't feed them anything different through winter, just their usual handful of corn in their kennel at bedtime. They're still laying well.
    The only thing I've noticed in the cold weather is that their kennel coop, being plastic, has some condensation inside it in the morning - so I remove the side panel to let it air during the day.
    I'd be concerned about mine if their coop was freestanding in an open area though - maybe putting some carpet over the roof would help insulate it?
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    Small pumpkin's Avatar
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    My girls have their bad weather shelter available to them all year round. They seem to love it. They spend a lot of time in there.
    They also get cooked brown rice with poultry spice mixed in a couple of times a week.

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    Poultry needs to be kept in a dry, draft free house. Yes, insulate the roof if need be, but with a few birds they will keep each other warm. A higher priority is ensuring the house is well ventilated (above the roost). Best houses will have a vent either side, with larger vent on the most sheltered. This is to reduce the condensation in the house and remove ammonia - released from the droppings. A deep litter will do little to insulate the birds but will allow for scratching and amusement for the birds in bad weather, but will also increase ammonia content, and thus ventilation requirement.

    I trust you are vegans or should I ask - Do you make your hot mash outwith the kitchen? It has been illegal to feed any domestic stock (poultry, Pigs etc) any food product that has been prepared in a kitchen where meat products are prepared for many years . Pets are not exempt. The exception is Vegan kitchens.

    This dates back to the last major outbreak of swine flu. Yes, many of us think the EU has gone mad, what harm can .... do. Today there is a high risk of a new outbreak from Europe. With Aldi, Lidl and whole sections in Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury with deli meats, we all need to be on our guard to protect our livestock and practice good bio security.
    Nicos, Snoop Puss and Ms-T like this.

  6. #6
    Beenie3921 is offline Germinator
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    Thanks for everyone's input. Some good tips and observations. As a new chick keeper I have a lot to learn. As my girls live separately, it is very important to doubly make sure I am keeping them warm enough. Thanks again.
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  7. #7
    mrsbusy is offline Sprouter
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    Dear All. Just logged on to ask for some help about cold weather and found this thread. My hen house is solid wooden but fairly large for the number of hens (currently 8) good ventilation with deep straw on the floor - roost bars and droppings tray above.(I prefer to de-poop daily rather than the true deep litter system as usually the poop is all on the droppings board - it is a walk in shed in deference to my aged joints - got fed up grovelling on knees trying to get in/out with a hen under one arm!

    Yesterday one hen did not come out - she is an ex batt Hubbard - so very chunky, bit like a small turkey!!
    She is about 3 years old. I reckoned her time was up - her comb had no red in it - dusky blue and she had laboured breathing. Rather than leave her I decided to bring her in - mainly for my benefit as I wanted to keep an eye on her. So put her in an old cat bed on some old pet towels - made her comfy and thought she would die in the next hour. By the evening she had completely recovered - still not moving off the bed but breathing ok and a better comb colour. This morning I got her off the bed - she ate some scrambled egg and cat food and is moving around as normal!! So you never know - think she was hypothermic!
    Last night the hens were for the first time huddled together in the straw all bar one who insisted on roosting by herself - she is the bottom of the pecking order and is too terrified of the others - yet she will chase the cat round the garden with great determination. I did lift her down and popped her in with others on the straw but she just flew up onto the bars so I left her to it. She is a Swedish Flower and very independent.
    Maybe this is a problem with free ranging hens in very cold weather compared to hens who stay in a run most of the time. I don't let them out until 10 or 11 or until any rain has stopped - but in better weather they come out at 7.
    So not really any questions but any feed back most welcome.

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    Mrs Busy, I think you may find that your chicken is unwell, in my experience the birds don't really feel the cold if they have a decent, dry, shelter. Huddled on a perch is good enough, I'm not keen on birds sleeping on the floor as it becomes habit and then during the summer they are sitting ducks for redmite.

    I don't feed treats, fat birds aren't generally healthy. Layers pellets as normal and a good handful of corn as scratch before bedtime.
    Pic of one of my turkeys loving the snow in the hard winter we had a few years back
    Keeping girls cosy in freezing temperatures.-image.jpeg
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