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Out in the Cold

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Donovan
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Out in the Cold

Post by Donovan » Tue Oct 22, 2013 6:38 pm

Winter is fast approaching. I have only been a bird owner for a year and a half. Last winter my bird couldn't fly yet and didn't have a large outdoor cage to spend the day in while I'm at work.

But now he has a large cage outside. While I'm getting ready for work I will take him outside so he's not trapped in his small cage all day. (his regular cage is a tad too small for him)

I know these birds can technically survive in temperatures down in the 30's (Fahrenheit) but that doesn't mean it's a good idea to make them be in it.

So, right now I have a bit of an issue. It's the time of year when the morning time is in the mid to high 30's and later it's in the high 60's to mid 70's. I leave for work about 30 minutes before sunrise. So it's about 3 hours before it really warms up.

When i send him outside I just carry his house cage out and then open it. I have a way to (double) wrap the smaller house cage in a thick wool blanket. I do know that he stays inside of that smaller cage until the sun comes up and then he ventures out.

So my question is if the thick wool blanket would keep him warm enough until the sun comes up if I were to put him outside when it's 30-35 degrees outside. I would leave the door on the top exposed so he can come out when he's ready. 5 of 6 sides would be protected from any draft or cold air.. at least in my mind.

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Skyes_crew
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Re: Out in the Cold

Post by Skyes_crew » Thu Oct 24, 2013 2:38 am

Yes IRN's can survive in cold temps. They have proven this by surviving winters in northern New Jersey instead of migrating farther south. The difference between them and your bird though is that they live outside year round. They have the opportunity to slowly adjust to the change of temperature. With you bringing him in and out he never has a chance to build up a tolerance to the cold really because I assume your house is heated. I would not take the chance if it was my bird. It is too easy for them to catch a chill and if their immune system is down at just the right time, you could wind up with a very sick bird. I would invest in a larger indoor cage for the winter. :)
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Donovan
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Re: Out in the Cold

Post by Donovan » Fri Oct 25, 2013 1:15 pm

I am considering taking him outside anyway,... but on one of my days off and observing him from indoors. I haven't decided.. plus it means getting up really early on a day off which I'm not big on, but still i'm considering it. This way I can bring back in. Yeah, he'll be a little cold, but he won't have to spend -all- morning outside (during the cold hours).

You make a good point though about getting sick or whatever... which, truth be known, it's not cold weather that makes you sick. It's the warm air you create while indoors that makes you sick, and being enclosed with other people.

That being said, maybe it's possible that taking him outside and letting him be a little cold for a few hours, then bringing him back in could be a sort of catalyst for becoming sick... .. ugh, i just don't know.

At some point I might try this but I will definitely be doing more research before committing to the idea of putting him out in the cold. Plus, I want to see -when- he comes out of his cage (which would be double wrapped in a thick wool blanket.

MissK
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Re: Out in the Cold

Post by MissK » Sun Oct 27, 2013 6:07 am

I had the opportunity last night to spend a lot of time reading a big animal book. Under the actual heading of "Acclimatization" it described the process of the animal getting physically accustomed to extremes of temperature outside the ideal zone.

The book clearly said that while an animal who was not acclimatized could survive brief forays into temperature extremes, the unacclimatized animal would succumb over time (die) while the acclimatized animal would survive. The time frame was not indicated, however I feel it makes a good case for not hopping the bird in and out of the house in such as way as to cause it to experience the severe temperature fluctuations that you describe.
-MissK

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Donovan
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Re: Out in the Cold

Post by Donovan » Thu Oct 31, 2013 7:04 am

Ok so let's put some numbers to it.

What is too cool to put the bird outside?
i would say that low 30's and 20's is fairly obvious, but what about 45? 50? Those are pretty chilly temperatures when you're coming from 65-70. I'm not convinced that -that- would be too cold, but I'm willing to accept that it might be.

MissK
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Re: Out in the Cold

Post by MissK » Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:06 am

It's not so much the actual temperature, as we see by that flock in New jersey. It's more about the fluctuation. How much rapid fluctuation is OK, then, is your real question.

I don't know.

In my house I leave the winter thermostat on 57 with the idea that at that point the heat will kick on and prevent it dropping below 55 - since it takes a little while for the furnace coming on to be effective. 55 is the magic number for me. It's plenty cold for a house, and I see no reason to drop any of us colder than that.

If I am feeling all cold and sick of it, I might kick the thermostat up to 63 for a few hours and then let the house cool naturally when I'm feeling better. This doesn't happen much at the end of the year because I'm pretty stubborn and I have two dogs to snuggle under blankets with. I usually make it to January before I'm thoroughly tired of being cold. At that point, I may raise the house to 63 and leave it there, but that's for me and my sanity, not for the birds.

I wish I could give you a firm answer, like we know that birds can handle a gradual fluctuation of X degrees, but I don't think that answer exists. Even if it did, it would likely be an average, much the way our body temperatures are reported as a specific value, but really that value is an average.

Good luck with your issue.
-MissK

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Skyes_crew
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Re: Out in the Cold

Post by Skyes_crew » Thu Oct 31, 2013 10:05 am

Well when discussing gradual acclimation lets talk about chicks in a nest. When a chick is born, a hen will sit 24/7 keeping the temperature of the nest at around 37 degrees Celsius or 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Maybe a bit more depending on outside temperature influence. She will only move off the chicks for a minute or two every two hours to feed. As the chick ages, mom will start to lengthen the time she is off the chicks at feeding times slowly lowering their nest temperature. By the time the chicks are feathered and walking around, the chicks are acclimated to a temperature of about 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit. So the acclimation doesn't have to be over a huge amount if time, but it can not be compromised by sudden increases and decreases. It weakens the immune system of the bird.
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Donovan
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Re: Out in the Cold

Post by Donovan » Thu Oct 31, 2013 10:54 am

I might just start leaving a window open near the cage at night to help keep the temperature down a bit. As long as it's not too cold that should help him adapt to temperatures.

Do we know if it's possible for a bird to actually adapt to changing conditions if they're consistent? If only he could say more than peekaboo and thank you.

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Skyes_crew
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Re: Out in the Cold

Post by Skyes_crew » Sat Nov 02, 2013 7:48 pm

What exactly do you mean when you say "adapt to changing conditions consistently"?

Do you mean will the bird become accustomed to being placed outside in the cold and then brought into the warmth over an extended amount of time? I'm sure he will learn to adjust to freezing his butt of each morning and then warming up each afternoon and then cooling off again in the evening when the sun drops and then warming up again when he returns to the inside of your home. That's not the real issue at hand. The real issue is, how safe is it for the bird...and my answer is still not safe at all. I still suggest either getting him a larger indoor cage for the winter. Or if you insist on him being outdoors, you can build an addition on to his aviary that is enclosed that includes warming lamps and thermal perches. But then I suggest leaving him outdoors permanently. You can not compare the immune system of a human to a bird. They are highly susceptible to illness and sudden extreme temperature changes.
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Donovan
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Re: Out in the Cold

Post by Donovan » Sun Nov 03, 2013 7:00 am

yes i'm working on making the transition from inside to outside be more gradual.. if it's cold on a work morning i just won't send him out. If it's going to be fairly warm then i'm leaving a window open at night and keeping it chilly in the house so that it's not a shock to be sent outside. I am (now) being careful not to give him drastic and sudden temperature changes.

So.. fear not, and thanks for the input

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Re: Out in the Cold

Post by MissK » Sun Nov 03, 2013 7:29 am

Hi Donovan,

I realize you are strongly motivated to move your bird in and out of the house. I think I saw a photo of the very nice aviary you have for him on the outside. Regardless, unless you are willing to maintain your home temperature very close to the outside temperature, I believe such a practice will endanger the health of your bird. I don't like to speak for others, but I believe Skye's_Crew holds the same opinion.

Of course you don't have to follow our advice and warning, but you did post here soliciting it. We have done our best to dissuade you from carrying the bird in and out during the winter. The rest is up to you. I hope you will choose to protect your bird.
-MissK

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Donovan
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Re: Out in the Cold

Post by Donovan » Sun Nov 03, 2013 8:22 am

MissK wrote:
Of course you don't have to follow our advice and warning, but you did post here soliciting it. We have done our best to dissuade you from carrying the bird in and out during the winter. The rest is up to you. I hope you will choose to protect your bird.

yes I have decided to be far more selective about the method I use for taking him out... in fact even bringing him back in will need to be done in a certain way. So yes I do absolutely appreciate all of your opinions on the matter and it will affect how I do things. I think he just sleeps all day while I'm at work anyway so he can do that in the house :P

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Skyes_crew
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Re: Out in the Cold

Post by Skyes_crew » Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:05 am

Thank you for being mature enough to be able to accept our advice even if it isn't what you wanted to hear. I wish this forum had more of you :mrgreen:
I am owned by my birds...and I wouldn't have it any other way :D

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Skyes_crew
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Re: Out in the Cold

Post by Skyes_crew » Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:15 am

Donovan wrote:yes i'm working on making the transition from inside to outside be more gradual.. if it's cold on a work morning i just won't send him out. If it's going to be fairly warm then i'm leaving a window open at night and keeping it chilly in the house so that it's not a shock to be sent outside. I am (now) being careful not to give him drastic and sudden temperature changes.

So.. fear not, and thanks for the input
One other thing...like MissK said, this isn't a gradual acclimation either. Reason being is that with the window open you are creating what we all term as a "draft". There is still warm air circulating in the house with just a blast of cold from that one small source. This is actually even more dangerous as you pointed out yourself in one of your earlier posts. Unless you are willing to lower the temp of the entire house to match the outside, this method is not so good either. I did however have a thought. Do you have a garage??
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Donovan
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Re: Out in the Cold

Post by Donovan » Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:40 am

no I don't. A garage would be nice though,.. and it sounds like he's going to just get to spend the winter inside the house while i'm at work :P ..

a day like today was quite cool this morning but now it's pushing 1pm and it's quite warm outside. I've had windows open for about an hour and the house temperature is pretty pleasant at the moment and very similar to outdoor temperature so he's about to go outside,.. which he won't mind because i'm going to go build a play stand today so it will give him something to watch.

And as soon as I can afford it I will be investing in a larger cage so I don't feel guilty about him being in the small indoors cage for 18-20 hours a day

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Re: Out in the Cold

Post by Skyes_crew » Sun Nov 03, 2013 11:07 am

Darn...well there goes my idea lol. I love days where I spend building stuff for my birds. Have a fabulous afternoon :D
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Donovan
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Re: Out in the Cold

Post by Donovan » Sun Dec 28, 2014 5:38 pm

So this year... i've wrapped my aviary in clear plastic.. all the way around... only the bottom is unwrapped..

so when it's 30 degrees outside.. it can get up to around 50-60 inside the aviary now if the sun is hitting it

for those of you who don't know Fahrenheit.. 30 is a tab below freezing... and 50-60 is halfway between there and the temperature you maintain in your house... long story short, it's reasonably comfortable.

sanjays mummi
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Re: Out in the Cold

Post by sanjays mummi » Thu Jan 08, 2015 11:31 am

Actually, 60F is quite toasty, not so warm you perspire, but comfortable, even indoor (tropical) plants thrive at 60 degrees. The feral IRN's we have in the UK, nest in hollow tree trunks which, being enclosed apart from the entrance, are draft proof, whereas bars are not. Personally, I agree with the moot points, but I think a thermal fleece blanket may have been a better idea.

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Donovan
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Re: Out in the Cold

Post by Donovan » Sat Jan 17, 2015 1:40 pm

I have wrapped my aviary in saran wrap.. a large thousand ft roll of it i got at Home Depot haha..
anyway, in the direct sunlight, it's like getting into a car that's in the open sun.. even in the middle of winter it's 10-15 f degrees warmer and no breeze...

so on warmer winter days they're able to go outside... it's a couple of weeks in between trips outside but they're going at least.

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Re: Out in the Cold

Post by MissK » Sun Jan 18, 2015 9:10 am

I don't want to be a total kill joy, but you're going to have to set up some thermometers and carefully monitor this project. You know how we don't leave pets in a car in the sunshine and we don't set caged birds in the sun with no way to get shade - you don't want to accidentally overheat the fids. Just a word to the wise.
-MissK

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Re: Out in the Cold

Post by AJPeter » Sun Jan 18, 2015 12:50 pm

You would be better off keeping them out side all the time, moving them back and forth betwen temperatures can be very bad for them, you could try a snuuggle sack, or an infra red heater that is on a time clock. Wrapping the cage in bubble wrap or a thick blanket is not a good idea becasue they could over heat once the temperature rises.

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Donovan
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Re: Out in the Cold

Post by Donovan » Sun Jan 18, 2015 7:26 pm

it doesn't get warm enough for that.. it's middle of winter... also before they go out i cool the house down slowly throughout the morning to help them acclimate.

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