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Old 08-22-2018, 02:39 AM
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Default Keeping 2 chickens warm in winter?



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Now that the 2 chickens are happy in their new home/my yard, and were already trained to go into their big steel cage at 8:00PM on the dot, how do I keep them warm in Ne winters?
My friend moved, and brought them over with their big steel cage, about 3'x5'x6' tall and has locking wheels that keep it 7"-8" off the ground. I use a cat carrier with the door removed with grass cuttings for a nesting box and they like it (they give us 1 to 2 eggs a day). He said they have never had it so good. He just let them fend for themselves in the winter and just put a board on top of the cage, sounds like. But I'm worried about them.

I built a large day pen around it just to let them out during the day with a tarp over part of it and down one side. It also keeps the cage dry in the rain.

Has anyone used Reflectix to insulate a chicken coop or large cage? I know they need ventilation so I can cut out a few openings on the south side or leave it open. Any cheap ideas? I have a few boards and some 2" foam board insulation left over from the basement, but not enough to cover the whole cage. I've been watching tons of videos but none using Reflectix so far, everything from plastic to cardboard.

I have an older thread started about caring for chickens but wasn't sure if this question should go in there and if anyone would see it. I hope its ok to start a new thread.
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Old 08-22-2018, 06:37 AM
benson56 benson56 is offline
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Chickens are a bird, and their feathers will protect them, same as a pheasant or turkey.
I had chickens and they got along fine in south central NE. Of course, the more you pamper them, the more they will appreciate you!
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Old 08-22-2018, 06:41 AM
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Keep them inside the coop and away from drafts. Drafts are chicken killers when it's really cold. If the temperature drops below 20, consider a heat lamp in the coop. Chicken's feet will freeze to the floor of the coop if there is spilled water and it gets really cold. It's not common but it happens. A frozen foot dies and so will the chicken.
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Old 08-22-2018, 07:38 AM
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Where are you located?
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Old 08-22-2018, 09:36 AM
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Keep them inside the coop and away from drafts. Drafts are chicken killers when it's really cold. If the temperature drops below 20, consider a heat lamp in the coop. Chicken's feet will freeze to the floor of the coop if there is spilled water and it gets really cold. It's not common but it happens. A frozen foot dies and so will the chicken.
Combs will also freeze, usually don't kill the chicken, but will need the dead part trimmed.
One legged Roosters were common in my youth when free range chickens were left to roost outside. (so were chicken thieves) go figure
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Old 08-22-2018, 12:20 PM
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We stack straw bales around their house (inside and outside) and nest boxes. They snuggle down in the straw and do just fine. They strew it around the floor of the house (and poop in it of course) and we rake it up to throw in the compost every few days. It's good if they get a place during the day to sit in the sunshine. Chickens, like cats are solar powered in the winter and like their sunshine. Egg production will decrease in winter and even stop during real cold spells, but pick back up come spring.
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Old 08-22-2018, 02:00 PM
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We have 1 red rooster,he was the runt and now he's the only survivor.. he's over wintered for the last 2 winters on the south facing cement window sill by the kitchen sink. He settles in at sundown and is up and moving before dawn. He gets 1/2 cup of fancy scratch daily and all the bugs he can find.
As for the foil backed foam panels the hens we had tore it up as far as they could reach
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Old 08-22-2018, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
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Keep them inside the coop and away from drafts. Drafts are chicken killers when it's really cold. If the temperature drops below 20, consider a heat lamp in the coop. Chicken's feet will freeze to the floor of the coop if there is spilled water and it gets really cold. It's not common but it happens. A frozen foot dies and so will the chicken.
Sounds horrible! I can keep the metal floor lined with cardboard and the put grass or straw on top to prevent cold feet. I can eliminate drafts but still try to have some ventilation, somehow. Sort of a contradiction but people do it. Thanks for the info.!
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Old 08-22-2018, 02:36 PM
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have you tried olive oil and a cast iron frying pan? Not sure the chickens will like it...but it will keep them warm.
I know...I know. I’m in a funny mood today.
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Old 08-22-2018, 02:37 PM
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Where are you located?
Eastern NE
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Old 08-22-2018, 03:22 PM
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have you tried olive oil and a cast iron frying pan? Not sure the chickens will like it...but it will keep them warm.
I know...I know. Im in a funny mood today.
Ha ha, that it would! But these are my pets, never to be eaten. Their reward for feeding me eggs is not going to be eating them.
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Old 08-22-2018, 04:01 PM
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Our chickens roost on 2x4 roost bars up off the ground. They huddle together, fluff up their feathers and cover their feet.
I've read that giving them heat lamps makes them a little less hearty. Not a problem unless you lose power once they're used to having heat.

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Old 08-22-2018, 06:30 PM
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Bio-degrading coop litter around a foot deep will produce heat in the winter.
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Old 08-22-2018, 06:53 PM
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In far Northern California, my mom keeps her birds in a wooden coop, 5x6, with a slanting roof. There are 8 birds. In the winter, it gets down to 10F at night regularly. Our solution is 6 inches of pine shavings, covered with a bale of hay on the floor, with all the windows closed. On exceptionally cold nights (below 10F) we might turn on a heat lamp.

For the most part, chickens are hardy creatures. They will bunch up, fluff their feathers and sleep like babies. One thing to watch is if they have a long comb or wattles, those can get frostbite. I've never seen it, but it can happen.
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Old 08-22-2018, 08:13 PM
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Bring them inside when it gets cold and warm them up for a couple of hours at 350.
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Old 08-23-2018, 11:54 AM
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As long as you prevent any breezes, they will be fine. However, if it gets really cold, just put a heat lamp in the coop. Nothing special is needed. You could also have a black drum 3/4 full of water to soak in the heat from the sun, just to give radiant heat after dark. If it works in the greenhouse, it'll work in the coop.
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Old 08-24-2018, 09:25 AM
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Chickens don't need a heat source. They provide there own. Keep the bottom covered with wood shavings or straw. And keep the drafts out. My coop has 2 windows that I keep closed in the coldest part of winter. I also has a door that goes into their run that is never closed. I've never had a chicken freeze to death. My wife asked the same question when I got my first girls. I replied with " How do you think the survived before Thomas Edison?".
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Old 08-24-2018, 09:31 AM
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You could always toss them on the smoker at 300 degrees for 3.5 hours (don't forget the can up the ass). LOL
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Old 08-24-2018, 09:34 AM
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We are in northern VT. It regularly gets down to -40 in Jan/Feb. Here's what we do...
A heated waterer that has nipples, not a trough style one - no spills, and the birds get some warmth out of it. It also puts a little heat into the coop.
An insulated coop. Ours has rigid styrofoam board, covered in luan, so the birds don't eat it.
Doors that shut, mostly tightly. Ours close, but not super tightly - there's no breeze, but there is air.
Straw bales around the base of the coop.
A fairly small coop. Smaller spaces being easier to heat and all.

That's it. No heat lamp, no special feed (though they do eat more in the winter, a calorie equating to heat and all that), they are fine with nothing else.
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Old 08-24-2018, 10:35 AM
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Quote:
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We are in northern VT. It regularly gets down to -40 in Jan/Feb. Here's what we do...
A heated waterer that has nipples, not a trough style one - no spills, and the birds get some warmth out of it. It also puts a little heat into the coop.
An insulated coop. Ours has rigid styrofoam board, covered in luan, so the birds don't eat it.
Doors that shut, mostly tightly. Ours close, but not super tightly - there's no breeze, but there is air.
Straw bales around the base of the coop.
A fairly small coop. Smaller spaces being easier to heat and all.

That's it. No heat lamp, no special feed (though they do eat more in the winter, a calorie equating to heat and all that), they are fine with nothing else.
That final point. Calories are literally a measure of heat energy. Calorie dense feed will help a lot. I forgot to mention earlier, but we switch their scratch over to one with less protein and more straight calories (the difference being the winter scratch has more corn and fewer seeds).
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