Chickens in an Arctic Freeze

There are days I hate the weather man. He is so excited talking about the record breaking low temperatures coming our way with no regard for people like me who can’t bring their animals inside the house for protection!  Well….we already have heating panels, but how warm will they keep the coop when it’s a snowy negative 7 degrees outside?! My motherly instincts kicked in and I started to worry so much I couldn’t concentrate on anything but my girls.

I did a lot of online research on frostbite and most agreed it’s the humidity that increases the chances of frostbite, not the cold temperature. We got outdoor remote sensor thermometers with humidistat capability so now I could see what the temperature and humidity is both outside and inside the coop.

Something else I read is giving chickens high calorie, fatty foods will increase the body temperature and help them stay warmer. Those spoiled girls were in heaven! I think their favorite was when I made them warm oatmeal and threw in some chopped up apples we had frozen from our trees.

The freeze ran over 2 days and I hardly slept for 2 days. It seemed like every hour I was checking the temperature. When the temperature outside started dropping way below the temperature inside the of the coop, the humidity inside the coop soared to 94%! Yikes! This is why you don’t want to overheat the coop. The bigger the difference between the inside and the outside, the higher the humidity. I suffered all night wondering what I was going to find in the morning. Surprisingly, they were up, moving around ready for breakfast, not shivering in a corner.

I would not let the girls out of coop until those 2 days were over. They were so frustrated they started to peck at each other requiring me to pull out the chicken saddles again! They were soooooo ready to be out of there!

Finally, once the temperature was 9 degrees outside on the third morning, we got out before the sun came up and snow shoveled a path to the coop, then shoveled out a large area in the run. We covered the frozen ground with straw the so the girls could walk around without freezing their toes. As the sun started to come up I scattered chicken scratch, opened the chicken door and watched the happy girls escape their coop for the first time in 2 days! It was Glorious!

I learned a lot about what to do and not do for chickens in freezing weather and won’t need to stress out anymore!

See  how happy the girls are when they finally get outside on their YouTube channel: