Can you be surprised when you know that chicken’s plumage is excellent for keeping normal temperatures for baby chickens? Baby chickens’ plumage has a couple of different layers which trap air close to the body.
If you have ever noticed the feathers when they molt, you sometimes will see a couple of different types of feathers include: the contoured plumage feathers, wispy feathers, and other feathers. The wispy feathers are the under feathers that are closest to the skin. All that fluffiness helps hold the airtight against the body, which heats the trapped air and makes the chicken always warm.
Moreover, the baby chickens also have a high metabolic rate which allows them to keep warm.
A baby chicken resting temperature is between 40-43 C degree (105-109 F degree). Not only that, chicken hearts can beat up to around 400 beats per minute. So, this high metabolism really is useful in winter.
How cold is too cold for baby chickens?
The signs that show stress cold to baby chickens are not moving around much or usually will be huddled. In this case, you can see the chicken stand on one leg to keep the other tucked up in their belly feathers, for warmth. Besides, the feathers can be fluffed up significantly.
What are signs of Cold Weather Stress to baby chickens?
What needs to be prepared for baby chickens in the winter?
In order to do the best for baby chickens in the winter. Not only keep them in the best suitable temperature but also provide enough food and nutrition.
A shortlist of baby chickens needs includes
Enough feed to raise your baby chickens flock for two to three weeks minimum; three would be better. Always make sure you have enough food for your baby chickens in case of an emergency.
Some food which you need to prepare is chopped fruit with seeds, oatmeal,… Greens such as melon, collards, kale, some fruits: apples, bananas are also nutritious treats.
Some supermarkets sometimes toss out old, deformed, or slightly damaged veggies or fruits or after 21 hours they can remove some fresh food, avoid keeping it overnight, in that case, you can ask the manager if it would be acceptable to use these for baby chickens use.
Besides feed, you also need to provide enough water for the body of baby chickens. If you have a limited supply, you should get and fill some plastic containers before they run out. You also can re-use old plastic gallon containers to save water. One cup/baby chicken/day. Therefore one gallon will hydrate eight to nine chickens for one day.
Aside from, in the evening, just before bedtime, you can throw them some scratch or corn. Both of these will make the baby chickens digest going through the night, securing some warmth to the baby chickens’ bodies.
Further reading: Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Chickens
What are keeping baby chickens warm and dry?
Baby chickens need a safe, especially when securely warm during the rain or snow, also when the wind is blowing and cold. In this situation, You also can remain ventilation, however you should not be blowing directly onto the birds. From the above case, if your coop is drafty, you should wrap it with Tyvek or a barrier instead. It will eliminate these drafts and is easy to work with.
Furthermore, the hens also have to be kept in a dry area. When they get soaked with water, the feathers cannot perform as they should, the chicken will quickly get chilled and can die from hypothermia. In this case, you may consider bringing them into the house. After drying them, you need to set them under the light to keep feathers always dry.
Is it necessary to add heat to the coop?
There are many who say that Coop needs to add heat to keep warm for baby chickens. However, others said that can affect the characteristics of baby chickens.
In rural areas, we sometimes can see farmers hang bubs in the coop of baby chickens to keep them warm. Because these chickens have thin feathers, they don’t quickly adapt to the new environment, especially temperature. This will help them develop better.
However, depending on the scale of the coop, you should pay attention to them or they will compete for light.
On the other hand, you only should hang bulbs in a temporary time, if not baby chickens will become familiar with this condition, affecting their characteristics and when they start to suffer from the cold they will not timely adapt.
Furthermore, instead of hanging a bulb on the coop, you can prepare the coop with good equipment to keep your chicks warm. In general, If their coop is properly prepared, most will not need heat in winter.
Besides, more comments also say that when baby chickens gather together, their body heat may bring the temperature of the coop up. Many chicken keepers report freezing temperatures outside while the inside of the coop is above freezing. Therefore, heating the coop can be a fire hazard and can stop your chickens from acclimating to the season.
How cold is too cold for baby chickens? There are many signs showing symptoms of baby chickens being too cold. In which, they are not moving around much or usually will be huddled are two the most popular.
You also need to notice more and more methods to take care of baby chickens.