How Cold is TOO Cold for a Chicken?

That’s a question I get often:

It does get chilly here in the winter a couple days out of the year. should I bring them in? And if so, at what temperature? If it goes below 45 or what?

And I thought it was great to read this article, after getting this question earlier this week …

The worst part about having chickens is the winter. “Going outside at minus 30 degrees, managing food and water, it sucks,” says Brazelton. “The chickens handle it well, but I don’t.”

Check out this great article, that talks about LOTS of different aspects of raising chickens … cold weather, feed, health, kids and poultry, etc. The photo is from the article: (Paul Brazelton’s Bantam rooster Stripes)

And so, the answer to this question is this …

Honestly, chickens are probably pretty good down to 20*F, and maybe even lower. It mostly depends on how their coop shelters them from the elements – not so much the coldness. You may also want to add a pretty good layer of bedding material on the floor (more than an inch of bedding), it will help with keeping some of the heat in.

Also, some chickens won’t even want to go outside when it’s that cold outside. They’ll just hang out inside, which could make for cramped conditions, so try and make the inside of the chicken house as big and spacious as possible. However, chickens have feathers, which are excellent at insulating their bodies – almost like down on a goose (not quite, but I think you get the idea that they stay warmer than us).
I hope that helps?