How much cold can they stand?

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How much cold can they stand?

Postby chrismahon » Sun Jan 08, 2012 7:44 pm

We've had threads on condensation and ventillation which reminded me of a sad tale from last year.

One poultry keeper we know left the coop unlocked and a Fox got in and killed them all. They were replaced with Orpingtons which as we know are big and very fluffy. During the extremely cold spell last year, when the daytime was -10 degrees and night was -18 they left the door open again. Disgracefully neither wanted to go outside to close it -too cold. In the morning they went out to find a solid block of frozen to death chickens. They had all huddled into the least draughty corner together but even that wasn't enough with a temperature that low.

Seen a few posts saying that chickens can stand cold temperatures better than hot, which makes sense. But how much cold can they actually stand. In other words at what temperature should they be brought inside or given heating. I know it varies between breeds as our Leghorn Bantams went blue at -5 and were bought in overnight. All the others breeds survived during the very cold temperatures at night, but all the vents and doors were closed and they were all crammed together. Anyone have any figures or experience?
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Re: How much cold can they stand?

Postby VALBURNHAM » Sun Jan 08, 2012 8:05 pm

what an awful story they do not deserve to have hens. I flippin well go out in the middle of the night because I think did I close the door and I always have but I just have to check. Last year I had several small bantams pekins in a very large house as you know the temp was extremely cold I actually put a small cat box in the large house and put the smallest of the pekins in there on a night so they could huddle together. The actually did not stay in there but preferred to perch with the rest. None of them had any problems I was surprised but they seemed to cope really well.
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Re: How much cold can they stand?

Postby pennyblack chooks » Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:09 pm

They should have been prosecuted under the animal welfare act.
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Re: How much cold can they stand?

Postby foxy » Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:32 pm

That is so sad :(

I am not sure what degree of cold chooks can cope with..I know mine were fine at -10 last year! I imagine leaving a door open could have caused a draft which the birds could not deal with.

Some breeds and strains though are much hardier than others though.
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Re: How much cold can they stand?

Postby misshennypenny » Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:54 pm

Shocking story! My 9 hens are in a converted garden shed and after last winter iv invested in a heat lamp. Just to b turned on in the hardest weather. I couldn't sleep in my cosy bed otherwise.Shame on them!
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Re: How much cold can they stand?

Postby Chuck » Sun Jan 08, 2012 11:21 pm

I've had lots of different breeds over the years and never found any diffeeence in their hardiness. Last winter temps of -10 for days and nights, they thrived. Sometimes it was a little colder.
If you are willing to go that extra mile for your poultry - make sure you're going in the right direction !
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How much cold can they stand?

Postby Marigold » Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:46 am

If people couldn't be bothered to go out in the cold to shut their birds up at night in such extreme conditions, it's likely they hadn't gone out 3 times a day to provide liquid water either. These sad deaths Chris reports could have been the result of general neglect- thirsty and maybe even hungry hens going to roost with few resources to draw on to resist the cold.
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Re: How much cold can they stand?

Postby tygrysek75 » Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:52 am

This is trully awaful story what a way to die :evil:
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Re: How much cold can they stand?

Postby dorinda » Mon Jan 09, 2012 1:30 pm

My birds were quite happy last year in up to -20 at night, I did have to vaseline combs though to prevent frost bite - all birds with large combs get frostbite easily, so worthwhile vaselining them just in case - the killer though is damp and draughts - a bird will easily cope with freezing temps but they must be dry and protected from draughts - before we moved to scotland we lived in altitude in the Alps - there it often was -30 - and still all my birds survived, what a dreadful story of those poor birds - I hope they haven't got birds any more. There are one or two exceptions to very cold weather I've found - one is Ko-shamo, they don't have downy type feathers and they do seem to suffer, so they go inside in the show shed!
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Re: How much cold can they stand?

Postby Bertie & The Chooks » Mon Jan 09, 2012 5:06 pm

depends on the chooks, mine played in the snow last year and laid all through the snowy period! odd hybrids lol
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