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?
Kelson

Keeping Chickens Home … Not Roaming

I stumbled across this neat, poetic story about how you can keep your chickens happy. It also talks about what happens if you don’t.
It looks rather lengthy, but once you get started … the reading goes quickly. And it’s a cool story with a warning for all of us chicken raisers.

“Bug! Bug!” cries the brain. Rasp and tassle go the feet, as the chicken lunges, pecks and misses. Quick runs the bug, yet quicker still the hungry hen. The chase is on, one gizzard’s growling, and with a desperate lunge the chicken tries to end it all.

The moral … Keep your chickens at home.

All the best,
Kelson

‘Doing In’ Your Chickens

We talked about this not too long ago …

the idea of what to do with chickens when you no longer need them. And, I think, a lot of people have the same outlook as this author:

I have two Delaware Whites that I bought when they were 12 weeks old. I never got to properly bond with those girls. They had never been held as babies and were not fond of us picking them up. There is just something extra special about raising your chickens from chicks. Plus, the Delaware Whites are very noisy at 7am, their poop is extra wet and it is stinky, and they are a dual breed meaning that they are good egg layers and good for meat as well.
Read more at her blog

Even with chickens that you’re not very attached to, it can be a difficult decision. However, when you signed on to raise chickens, you already made the decision that you would face these tough choices head on … whether you wanted to or not.

It’s just like facing difficult choices when you have children. You know you’re going to have to make the choices, but it’s still hard to do.

In the end, though the decision is difficult, I don’t think you can go wrong providing for the needs of your family. That’s what life is all about. And you are doing it in the most responsible, respectful, and healthy, way.

Kelson

Oh, and you should just go check out her blog anyhow … because she has a lot of useful chicken raising tips and ideas that you’ll find helpful.

When chickens outlive their usefulness …

Many times I wonder if I’ve outlived my useful years?

You know …

The times when I felt on the top of my game physically, and mentally.  The times when I felt like I really had something going for me.

And now – so many different things have started to fail, and not work, the way I always expected them to.

Have you ever felt that way?

Well … If not, enjoy your ride, because it could be coming.

If so – then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

And unfortunately, hens also reach a similar point in their lives.

When?

Well, they stop laying eggs at about 2 years of age, or so.  And most people are pretty much done with paying for the feed of an animal that isn’t providing something back to their family.

So – I just wanted to write and suggest that you think about this possibility before you jump in with both feet – and get a gigantic flock of hens.

Know this … Eventually they’re NOT going to give you eggs.  What will you do with them then?

Just a thought to help make things a little clearer for you.

Kelson