You can read more about extreme cold weather chicken are here and also here.
Basically what you want to do is give your birds the tools they need to weather the cold.... and let them do it. If you have food and water in the hen house your hennies will stick pretty close - especially if it is not sunny. They will be just fine outside, however, if they can find a sunny spot out of the wind.
Unless its bitterly cold (single digits or below 0*) we open the hen house doors so they can get fresh air. They won't like the snow anyway so they should stay inside.
The only poultry that get any special handling are our meat birds. The creepy meat chickens are still small enough to need a couple heat lamps. The last few remaining meat turkeys also have a heat lamp and we have them closed up in the turkey house. The meat birds don't have as many feathers are "normal" poultry - and we also think they don't preen themselves well enough to enjoy the insulating benefits of fluffy feathers.
The only ones we don't worry about at all are... the geese. Every once in a while I"ll see a question about cold weather care for geese and I kinda giggle. I know someone who went on a frozen tundra adventure and they had a goose down filled sleeping bag that was good to -20* or something like that. Provided your geese are preening and dry - they will be just fine.
We have plenty of hens that keep each other warm in the hen house. In fact, it has to get VERY cold for us to put a heat lamp out there. But if you only have a couple hennies then you may want to get a farm-use heat lamp and bulb. Be very careful - don't burn down your hen house.
Be extra careful also with giving them hot water. You should provide warmish - not hot - water. They could burn their wattles or worse - scald their crops - if the water is too hot.
Check out a more detailed overview here and also here.
Yesterday over on 'the facebook' we were all slack jawed and buggy-eyed over this spectacular post by Ruhlman. Not only does he have a fantastic method for cooking your goose (which will also work for duck as well) but his big ol' goose pot had us drooling on our keyboards.
Here is the pot..... called a Goose Pot.
It is insane and yeah I would love one..... in blue..... *sigh*..... And yeah you read that price correctly. Can you believe it? But hey! The shipping is free - ha!
It's only about 3:30pm but we are going to head out soon for evening chores. We want to make sure we have everyone bedded down and fed well. It's only going to get colder so might as well head out there.
Happy Sunday everyone! Are you dreaming of a blue goose pot?
Editor's note: Did I honestly put an affiliate link to a $575 pot? You betcha! If anyone actually buys it I'll be stunned. Then I will hand write you a letter of thanks and have Kai seal it with a kiss. In the meantime all y'all are welcome to use the Amazon search box on the right side of this page or click here to shop for whatever you were going to buy anyway. Purchase just like normal and I'll get a tiny percentage of the sale. It doesn't cost you one cent more but it helps me with the "cost" of this blog. Thanks!