Keeping chickens warm

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Keeping chickens warm

Post: # 170885Post grubbysoles »

Hi all,

This will be my first winter with my mini-Flockette of 4 hens. I'm a bit worried about keeping them warm, now that the nighttime temperature is starting to really drop. Firstly, how cold does it have to get before they need a bit of extra warmth? I know they snuggle together at nighttime, so what does the temperature have to drop to for this to no longer be enough?

And are there any simple ways to power a heat lamp without mains access? We live in a 1st floor flat, so our sockets are nowhere near our garden! Can something be rigged up with a car battery, or something similar? Would it need to be on during the day, or just at night?

The hens all have plenty of feathers, they're not ex-batts or anything (I got sick of waiting for those after being on the waiting list for over a year!)

Thanks for any help.

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Re: Keeping chickens warm

Post: # 170893Post Millymollymandy »

Grubbysoles I've never heard of anyone heating their hen house in winter. Chickens just snuggle up to one another on the perch and as long as they aren't in a draft they will be just fine in winter.
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Re: Keeping chickens warm

Post: # 170922Post red »

I think the important thing is they have somewhere dry rather than warm, they are used to cold temps. or certainly the temperatures we get in the UK. mine are in a hen house with a permenantly open window hole and they were all just fine through last winter which is one of the coldest I have known.

We did.. i admit.. bring in one hen.. but she was brooding a solitary chick (yes i know bad timing in January...) and cold can be too much for chicks.
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Re: Keeping chickens warm

Post: # 170949Post healer »

Our hen house has that foil insulation on the roof but that is also to keep it cool in the summer. Draught free is probably the best thing on a very cold night but you must open it up in the day.

Last year we got a night down to minus 15degC (-5 actually in the chicken shed!) and they all survived. Minus 10 outside is more frequent. They do go off laying a bit and we do feed them mais to increase their body fat between Christmas and early March - the time of the grand frosts over in France but Kent shouldn't be so bad!

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Re: Keeping chickens warm

Post: # 170954Post Thomzo »

Hi
Even my ex-batts were fine all last winter in a box with a permanently open pop hole. If anything it's more important that they don't get too hot in summer. They should be fine in England in winter as long as they can be dry and out of a draft.

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Re: Keeping chickens warm

Post: # 171432Post grubbysoles »

Thanks for the replies. I'm obviously thinking like a human, with useless natural insulation, rather than like a nice feathery chicken :flower:

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Re: Keeping chickens warm

Post: # 171539Post Thurston Garden »

Hens are wild animals that we have 'tamed' (probably not the right word, but I am sure you get what I mean!). They are supposed to roost up trees like pheasants. There's no need to give there somewhere warm (secure from the fox is the main reason for needing a henhouse), but as Red says, dry and draught free. It is particularly important that they are adequately ventilated otherwise respiratory propblems are likely. That said, it is good practice to give them a handful of grain in the late afternoon - fills their crops up and saves their energy in keeping themselves warm during the night. Helps to keep them in the best of health during the winter.

I guess the same could be said for dogs...... it's the main reason that dog hair is an issue in houses. Dogs were wild too and now we keep them indoors with the central heatining on. No wonder they shed their hair....
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Re: Keeping chickens warm

Post: # 171727Post Gert »

Just to back up what everyone has said already, Cold won't kill them off they are tough little things, but damp will. As long as they are dry they will be fine. :mrgreen:

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Re: Keeping chickens warm

Post: # 171891Post becks77 »

Our girls get fed corn in the afternoon to help keep them warm overnight. Keep them dry, well fed and out of a draft and they manage the rest themselves.
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Re: Keeping chickens warm

Post: # 171977Post Ron and Jean »

This is our first chicken winter. When should we start feeding them corn (or how cold does it have to be?). Also how much should I be giving them?

Thanks

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Re: Keeping chickens warm

Post: # 171979Post red »

i dont give my hens any bedtime corn.. mine have ad lib feed.

so i dont suppose its critical
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Re: Keeping chickens warm

Post: # 172055Post Millymollymandy »

I don't feed mine corn either, mine have wheat in the afternoon.
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Re: Keeping chickens warm

Post: # 172321Post bramblehen »

My ex-batt hens have a few handfuls of mixed corn chucked out just before bedtime to scratch about for in the winter but it’s not essential, just makes me feel better :lol:

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Re: Keeping chickens warm

Post: # 175699Post Ron and Jean »

I just bought a bag of 'mixed corn' to feed to the girls in the afternoon. I expected it to be corn, but it looks like wheat with bits mixed through. Is it corn (like sweetcorn) that keeps hens warm on cold nights, or will the 'mixed corn' do the same thing?

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Re: Keeping chickens warm

Post: # 175705Post JulieSherris »

Our birds get either rolled oats, or rolled barley - depending on which bag I'm nearer to at the time!

It's a good idea to give them some warm water through the cold days & I boil up our veg peelings, mash it down & mix it back with some layers mash & the veg water.... spoilt chooks, huh? Adding a spoon of honey & some chopped sage leaves gives them a nice boost every now & again as well.
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