How COLD Can Baby Chickens Tolerate?

Close up baby chick

As the days grow shorter and the weather colder, many wonder how cold can chickens tolerate. Baby chicks cannot be in temperatures below 85 degrees for the first few weeks of life. 90 to 95 degrees is optimal, and anything colder may kill them. In this blog post, we’ll explore the temperatures that baby chickens can safely tolerate and what you can do to keep them warm during extreme weather conditions.

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What is the Cold Tolerance of Baby Chickens?

baby chicks in a group
Chicks need to stay at a particular warm temperature so that they stay healthy and alive. They cannot handle colder temperatures as they aren’t equipped for that.
Baby chickens are not born with the ability to tolerate cold temperatures. They must be slowly introduced to cooler weather and given time to develop their feathers. There is a process of getting baby chicks to tolerate cold temperatures. It typically involves exposing the chick to colder temperatures 5 degrees at a time so that they can grow in their feathers and also get used to the colder climates. However, all baby chickens should be fully feathered before exposure to cold and should remain in 90 to 95-degree temperatures for the first few weeks of life. NOTE: wind chill can significantly reduce the cold tolerance of chickens. Baby chickens should always be protected from drafts and windy conditions. 

How to Keep Baby Chickens Warm in Cold Weather

Baby chickens are delicate creatures and must be kept warm, even in cold weather. Here are some tips on how to keep baby chickens warm in cold weather:
  • The chicken coop should be well-insulated to protect the chickens from drafts.
  • A safe heat lamp is used to provide additional warmth for the chickens.
  • Make sure that the water for the chickens is not frozen. You can even use a heated chicken waterer for this.
  • Adding a little sugar to the water can help prevent hypothermia.
  • Chickens should be given plenty of food to help them generate body heat.
  • If possible, the chicken coop should be sunnier to ensure that the chickens are not exposed to too much cold.
  • Use straw or hay. Straw or hay can insulate the coop and help keep baby chicks warm. Ensure the straw or hay is dry, as wet bedding can make baby chicks colder.
Here’s a great video showing how you can keep your chicks warm in the cold weather:

Read our related article on How to Keep Chickens Warm in Winter Without Electricity. If you don’t have a coop with electricity, these tips can help!

What to Do if Your Baby Chickens Get too Cold

chick in the grass
It’s important to keep your baby chicks at 90 to 95 degrees and not let them get too cold.
Baby chickens are unable to tolerate extreme cold very well. If they become too cold, they can die. To keep baby chickens warm, you must provide them with a heat source. The simplest way to do this is to use a heat lamp. However, you will need to be sure that the heat lamp is not too close to the baby chickens, as they can quickly overheat and die. Professional chicken breeders often use brood boxes. Whatever type of heat source you use, monitor the temperature carefully to ensure that the baby chickens are kept warm without being at risk of overheating.  Read our related article, What Temp is too Hot for Chicks? We explore the opposite temperature extreme in this guide.

Why it’s Essential to Keep Baby Chickens Warm

Many baby chicks in a group
Remember that as you’re keeping your chickens warm, you want to make sure they are comfortable in a temperature that’s right for their age.
Baby chickens cannot generate their body heat and must rely on an external source to stay warm. For this reason, it is essential to keep baby chickens warm, especially during the first few weeks of life. The ideal temperature for baby chickens is between 95 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. However, they can tolerate temperatures as low as 85 degrees Fahrenheit for short periods. If the temperature drops below 85 degrees Fahrenheit, the risk of death increases significantly. It is essential to monitor the temperature closely and make adjustments to ensure that the baby chickens are kept warm and comfortable. Read More: Best Bedding for Chickens. Bedding can help to keep your chicks warm – here are our favorites!

Dangers of Cold Weather for Baby Chickens

One of the dangers of cold weather is that it can be deadly for baby chickens. When chickens are young, they cannot tolerate freezing temperatures like adult chickens. This is because they have not yet developed their feathers, which provide insulation against the cold. Chicks should be kept warm by providing a heat source in their coop, such as a heat lamp. The temperature in the enclosure should be maintained between 95 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature drops below this, the chicks need to be moved to a warmer location.


In conclusion, we found that baby chicks need to be kept at a temperature of 95 to 100 Degrees Fahrenheit in order to be safe. Baby chicks don’t have their feathers yet which helps in keeping them warm. Once the chickens are adults then they can withstand temperatures as low as 45 Degrees Fahrenheit. Hopefully, this article can help you when maintaining your chicken’s temperatures so that you can raise happy and healthy chicks.

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