Afraid of first snow...too cold....something else?

Kaesi2020

Chirping
Premium Feather Member
Hi all, we live in upstate NY near Albany and received half an inch of snow. Our six chickens, born end of March, have never seen snow before. They are staying in their elevated coop which they never do after 7 am. They are also making a lot more noise and very reluctant to leave the coop. A few have ventured down below the coop to scratch around but they will not go into the run area. I am attributing that to the snow in it.

Does this sound like typical first snow jitters for chickens? Could they be cold? It is staying between 30 and 40 degrees here today.

Hoping that when I check on them again they are more acclimated...
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Feb 2, 2009
26,172
16,944
797
Southeast Louisiana
To me it sounds totally normal. When my chickens wake up to a white world they do not like it. At all. Chickens don't like change. Waking up to a white world is a big change. Eventually they will go out in it but it usually takes a few days for them to build up that much nerve. I think it helps for them to have a hope of something to eat. I've had some walk through 9" of snow to go check out the compost pile where they like to forage, but since it was covered with snow they were out of luck that day. Still, they went.

The day I took this photo they did not wake up to a white world. It started snowing after they were already outside so the change was gradual enough for them to accept the change. This was abut 1" of snow and the temperature was around 30* F.

Snow Feb 2013.JPG


It was about 4* F when I took this shot. I leave the pop door open and let them decide if they want to stay in or go out. If a cold wind is blowing they stay in. Since it was a calm morning with no wind they went out to enjoy the day.

Ice.jpg


The coldest I see is a bit below 0* F. I can't speak for -20 F but 30 to 40 F isn't really that cold to them as long as a cold wind is not blowing.
 

Kaesi2020

Chirping
Premium Feather Member
To me it sounds totally normal. When my chickens wake up to a white world they do not like it. At all. Chickens don't like change. Waking up to a white world is a big change. Eventually they will go out in it but it usually takes a few days for them to build up that much nerve. I think it helps for them to have a hope of something to eat. I've had some walk through 9" of snow to go check out the compost pile where they like to forage, but since it was covered with snow they were out of luck that day. Still, they went.

The day I took this photo they did not wake up to a white world. It started snowing after they were already outside so the change was gradual enough for them to accept the change. This was abut 1" of snow and the temperature was around 30* F.

View attachment 2392802

It was about 4* F when I took this shot. I leave the pop door open and let them decide if they want to stay in or go out. If a cold wind is blowing they stay in. Since it was a calm morning with no wind they went out to enjoy the day.

View attachment 2392811

The coldest I see is a bit below 0* F. I can't speak for -20 F but 30 to 40 F isn't really that cold to them as long as a cold wind is not blowing.
Very helpful reply, thank you. I made them some oatmeal and they are now willing to be in the run atleast. Perhaps if they get the courage they will go into the snowy extended run.
 

JuChicks

In the Brooder
May 23, 2020
29
15
23
I live in New Jersey so I'm a bit farther south but I usually have a deicer in their water, put a layer of thick plastic sheeting around part of their run, and ensure that their house is insulated but still has proper airflow to prevent still frozen air. Oh yeah, make sure that their perch is very thick so that when they sit on it their toes are under their bodies and not hanging in the air (to prevent frostbite.) You can also add a ceramic heat bulb in their hen house (not really necessary) but be VERY careful that it won't send sparks or is in an area that the chickens or hay can get too hot to prevent burning. Hope this helps at all!
 

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