Urban Farmers of South Puget Sound Message Board › Chickens in winter

Chickens in winter

user 4120112
Tacoma, WA
Post #: 70
Hi, this will be my first winter keeping chickens. I just have two hens and I am worried about them staying warm enough! The roost is too small for a heat lamp. I have an Australorp and an Ameraucana. At what temperature should I worry? I know I have to keep their water unfrozen, but I am worried about the hens themselves getting cold at night. I may have to make a temporary freezing weather roosting place in my laundry room.
Tiffany C.
user 12467353
Puyallup, WA
Post #: 89
My first winter with chickens I only had 3, and I had to check on them frequently. They huddled together and pulled through ok. You can also make them a daily warm mash to eat along with fresh warm water at least a couple times per day, and that should help. With only 2 birds, your best bet (and least stress for you and them) will probably be to set up a nighttime indoor roost for them, then just put them out in their coop for the day with fresh slightly warm water.
user 41779902
Group Organizer
Olympia, WA
Post #: 5
Hi, guys -

I have to caution you about setting up indoor accommodations for your girls at night. The vast temp change between being out during the day and warm at night messes with their metabolism and health. Adjusting their outdoor roosting area so that you can use either a red heat lamp (best choice) or even just a plain bulb will give them enough heat to be comfortable, without making their bodies confused. You can also create a more enclosed space for them to roost in so that their huddling body heat is trapped better. Insuring there are no cross-breezes is also important.
In our climate, three or more birds do fine until about 25 degrees F. After that, it's a good idea to supplement with a heat lamp.
Matt J
Everett, WA
Post #: 17
I bought a 3 x 9 chicken coop and plan to assemble it this spring. What kind of chickens do most of you have? For now I plan to buy 6 Buff Orpington chicks when they're available.
user 41779902
Group Organizer
Olympia, WA
Post #: 6
We've had chickens and ducks for 16 years and had many varieties. We use the Henderson Chicken Breed Chart (online) whenever we're looking to try a new breed. We select mainly for friendliness, but also egg size and provenance. We try to help endangered breeds.
Some of our favorites over the years have been:
Speckled Sussex (very friendly)
Salmon Faverolle (though they are sometimes bullied by bigger chickens)
Black Australorp (friendly and great layers, sometimes broody)
Buff Orpington (BIG eggs! Friendly and pretty)
Delaware (calm and hardy)
Bantam Cochin (As are most bantams, very friendly and decorative!)
Langshan (Pretty shape to their body and tail)
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