Can chickens survive Alaska winters? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I would appreciate any information, helpful hints, etc. regarding keeping chickens in extreme temperatures. I live in Alaska and the lowest winter temperature can hit-50. I have had good luck with my mixed bunch so far. I have a Light Brahma, Rhode Island Reds and some Black Australorps. So far I have one rooster with some frostbite on his comb. Thanks, Jody

-- Jody Hatch (, December 22, 1999


Where are you? We were in Juneau for 4 years and kept a few hens without problem. They just had a small house (3x6) up off the ground protected from the wind and did fine. Wintertime egg production was bleak (this is primarily related to the length of daylight rather than temperature) but they rebounded nicely in the spring. Sounds to me like you are in the Anchorage area to Fairbanks area (Tok? Naw, too warm for Tok!). Give them protection, especially from the wind, and I believe they'll be alright. Frostbitten combs occur here, too (Maine) and are no big deal. If their feet get frostbitten, however, you have a serious problem. A 100 watt lightbulb, incidentally, can provide a lot of warmth, especially if the "coop" is insulated. Good Luck!

-- Brad Traver (, December 23, 1999.

Chikens are a lot like dem potatoes. If you water yallsens potatos, then they will live in cold places. It is the same with chikens. Give dem chikens a lot of water and they will flourish like a batch o' potatoes. If you have un dog, den yall should chain that sucka up, so he won eat dem chikens. Thats bout all isen know bout chikens in da winter weather of 'Laska. if yall have a question email me.

-- Farmer Jessie Brownburg (, December 27, 1999.

I appreciate the help. They are still doing great although we lost two to Christmas dinner. I must have the hardiest chickens in my area. They are doing amazingly well. Next we will try turkeys. Anyone out there interested in buying a bar in Chitina, Alaska? No joke. There's even a couple of stools. Good summer trade. Thanks again for all help.

-- Jody Hatch (, January 19, 2000.

We kept chickens in Tok, as do a lot of other people, and my aunt keeps some in Northway. Try breeds with smaller combs, like the Wyandotte's. The Brahma should do well, we also had araucana's that did fine. My aunt even has raised Turkens, the one's with the naked necks! The chickens with the large combs that frostbite will have their combs fall off when they thaw out, and could get sick, but ours never did. Some of ours lost toes, too, but it didn't seem to hurt anything, either. We did have trouble keeping waterfowl in the same pen with the chickens. We were giving water in a flat black rubber pan (I think it was sold for feeding baby pigs or something). Anyway, we used it so we could bang the ice out of it without it breaking. The ducks drink by immersing their heads, then shake their heads violently and splash their beaks back and forth in the water, so we had ice all over the inside of the pen. And one of the geese decided to sit in the water pan, froze in, and we had to take her in by the woodstove to thaw out. She was not pleased. Also didn't sit in the water pan again, so I guess she learned her lesson! The extension office told us that geese can take down to 100 degrees below zero, by the way. I thought that was pretty amazing. It didn't get quite that cold while we had them, but was down almost to eighty below. (Yeah, I think Tok gets a little colder than Chitina -- another range of mountains away from the ocean.)

-- Kathleen Sanderson (, April 14, 2000.

I live in Fairbanks, Alaska and can provide people with a chicken breed which is perfect for severe cold winters. This breed ("the Alaskan Homesteader") took 5 years of breeding to perfect but is now perfect for extreme winters. These chickens are extremely hardy and lay eggs in subzero temperatures. Chickens will go broody when it is -20F in the barn! They have feathered legs but not feathered feet(no frostbite) and no combs so they never have frostbite problems. It took 5 years of breeding but this chicken is truly arctic and great for laying and eating. If you are interested in learning more, please email me. Perfect breed for areas with cold winters.

-- smeets (, April 23, 2001.

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