How cold is too cold for your chickens? It is a common question for most of the chicken raisers, mostly during winters and night.
You must know how much cold your chickens can tolerate or not. If special care is not taken during winters, you may lose your flocks.
Chickens usually are homeotherms, meaning they can regulate their body temperatures within limits. But they are not born that way.
At the embryonic phase, chickens are poikilotherm, meaning their body temperature follows the temperature of their surrounding environment. Chicken achieves ideal development at optimum body temperature.
Regardless of housing system, breeder age, transportation conditions, time, etc., all birds should have body temperatures between 39.5 and 40.5 °C. But extreme weather conditions change their body temperature to low or high.
So, you must know which type of chicken breed you are raising and what type of care do they need during cold and snow fall time.
Some breeds have dense feathers and few have less coat of feathers. It shows their ability to tolerate heat and cold.
More coats and fluffy feathered chickens can survive more easily as compared to less feather chickens. You can see the difference between Orpingtons and Leghorn chickens.
Also read: How to keep your chickens warm in winters?
How Cold Can Chicken Tolerate Outside?
Chickens can freeze to death and live happily in snow areas. Keeping your chicken in a cold place with no heat lamps can lead to their death, especially if they are not the right breed of chicken for that climate.
Depending on the breed, chickens have different abilities to survive in different climates. You should raise cold hardy chickens only in cold climates.
It can be a good idea if you have a space outside where you can keep your chicken. You only need to ensure the temperatures are 80 °F and below.
Cold-weather chicken can withstand temperatures around 32 degrees to 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
How Cold Can Chicken Tolerate At Night?
Chickens can easily tolerate 60-70 °F temperature, during freezy states and hot climate, 20-30 °C.
Flocks live in extreme conditions in the daytime, but night is little different. One mistake can kill you all flocks in freeze cold temperature.
Placing a thermometer inside the chicken coop is most important if you are living in a tool cold or hot areas.
You must provide them with a heated roosting bar or ladders which will keep them above from the floor. You can also provide them a good floor bedding to provide them a warm area.
During cold temperatures, all chickens climb above each other to get warmth, which leads to death of weak and small chickens. Must ensure to separate into small flocks if you have the large number of chickens. So, it reduces the mortality.
Use a good quality brooder bulb or heat lamp to keep the warm during nights. It helps you to maintain the proper temperature inside the chickens coop, which will ensure the cozy living of flocks.
What Temperature Is Too Cold for Chickens at Night?
Chickens start suffering when the temperatures inside their coop fall to 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Using a chicken coop heater or infrared bulb is recommended for using during freezing nights.
Some chicken breeds with fewer feathers, weak, may die during icy weathers. It is essential to keep your chicken coop temperature between 70 and 75 degrees at night.
How Cold Is Too Cold for Free-Range Chickens?
When temperatures drop below -25℃ (-13 °F) inside your chicken coop, it is likely too hard for your chicken to get outside. They feel very lazy and generally, they roost most of the time.
Chickens forage and free-range very less because there is very less stuff outside to peck during snow fall. Snow and freezing cold reduce bugs and grass outside.
Chickens may not die if exposed to cold temperatures, but this can give them away to other health issues like frostbite.
Also, sometime it’s very hard for them to lay eggs and move around in freezy cold climates. But few cold hardy chicken breeds happily lay eggs during winters if you provide them with heaters.
How Cold Is Too Cold for Brooding Chicks?
Chicks are very sensitive to cold. Mostly chicks die within a few hours in cold temperatures if they are not specifically cold hardy chicks. The temperature below 60-70 °F is cold for baby chicks.
Initial heat is most important for them, whether it is natural or artificial using brooding equipment.
During the first day of the chick’s arrival, the temperature must be kept at 95 °F (35 °C). Turn the temperature of the brooder down by 5 °F (2.8 °C) every week until it reaches 70 °F
Tips to Keep Your Chickens Warm
1. Use a coop heater or brooder. All chicken raisers must keep a coop heater and lamps to keep the chicken coop warm. Small ventilation holes also needed to reduce the ammonia and increase the oxygen supply.
Also read: Best chicken coop fans for ventilation
2. Use the deep litter method. Deep litter has multiple purposes in your coop. It is a sustainable way of managing waste in your cage, and it helps your chickens during the cold weather.
3. Use sunlight to trap heat. During winter, you can use sunlight to capture heat during the day and use the heat at night to help your chicken’s coop stay warmer for a prolonged time during darker hours.
4. Make sure your chickens can roost. Make sure your chickens can roost, so they can stay warm. As chickens roost together, they fluff up their feathers, and this helps them to keep warm.
Your roosts must be built at least two feet off the ground to keep them out of contact with the cold ground.
5. Make them a sun room. Keeping your chicken locked up from the cold weather may be tempting, but remember, your chickens greatly benefit from moving around freely. Ensure they get plenty of space to move freely and get fresh air.
7 Best Chickens To Keep in Cold Temperature Areas
Summary (How Cold Is Too Cold For Your Chickens?)
We can conclude that temperature 32 degrees to 10 degrees Fahrenheit is cold for chickens. However, they can survive in below this temperature, you need to use heating equipment.
Baby chicks are very sensitive to cold temperatures. Some time, cold can kill most of the weak baby chicks if proper brooding is not done.
Small chicks should be kept at a temperature above 60-70 °F during the first few weeks after hatching. Less than it can cause health issues in them.
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