Anybody keep chickens inside all Winter?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by andythescot, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. andythescot

    andythescot Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 29, 2009
    Central Mass
    I have an 8 x 8 chicken coop and 12 regular sized birds, with no run, and I was wondering if anyone else kept their birds inside all winter?

    They don't much like the snow, so they'd probably stay in anyways, but I'm just curious if anyone does this for the winter?

    They're all winter hardy breeds, with six of them having made it through two winters before. However they lived in a 4 x 8 coop with a run. This Summer though we added six more birds, and therefore needed a bigger coop.. but we still haven't gotten around to installing the run, so they've been free ranging since the summer. We only just got our first "real" snowfall, so they've been ranging up until now. But I'm getting nervous about predators and the like, so does this make much sense?

  2. Azriel

    Azriel Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 19, 2010
    I for the most part open my pop doors every day and le them decide if they want to go out or not. I've only kept them locked up 1 day so far this winter, it was cold (0), cloudy, and super windy and I didn't think they would go out anyway, so I thought why cool off the coop with the pop doors open when they are going to be just as happy staying in. If you feel they are safer being locked up, then thats your choice, but I do think they do like to spend some time outside if the weather is nice and they have a place out of the snow to sit in the sun.
  3. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    Oct 3, 2009
    Mountains of Western N.C.
    I think your asking for trouble, for one thing you'll have to have some distractions for them or they will start to pick on each other and feather picking is hard to break once it starts. get a flock block for one thing, then hang a head of cabbage one time a head of lettuce next for them to peck on and eat. Do you have deep litter in your coop if not your going to have a problem with ammonia which is a serious health issue. at least with DL you can toss scratch and or BOSS in there and they will keep the litter turned. which helps. Really good ventilation is very important too. chickens let off alot of moisture which can cause mold to build up if the ventilation isn't good. I'd say let them have a choice of coming out or staying in. I don't have a run for my birds either and they make the choice daily to come out instead of staying inside even in snow and rain. we do have their coop inside 1/4 acre fenced area but preds could come in with out a problem most climb. my birds go outside of the fenced area too, their choice. Chickens being able to live like chickens will be much happier than ones closed up inside a coop all day. I think I'd try to find at least a used dog kennel fence for them thru the winter till you can get their run built if you are worried about preds. at least that way they could have access to the out of doors with fresh air and sunshine.
  4. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    I probably wouldn't, i don't have an attached run either and my girls have been in for the last few days because it's been horrible out BUT they were out within the week, i will always aim to get them out when it's reasonable, they enjoy the ability to fly about and the differences, basically a change of pace.

    I built my coop large enough to take more birds than i keep so they'd have room in case of prolonged poor weather but again intent is always there to get them out.

    For times when they don't i give a salad(basically a mixture of greens & grains) plus toss BOSS throughout the floor to encourage foraging.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2012
  5. Suzie

    Suzie Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 9, 2009
    I agree with Miss Lydia.. give them the choice or face cleaning them out very frequently and entertaining them with cabbage etc.

  6. cary 1973

    cary 1973 Chillin' With My Peeps

    its always my girls choice if they want to stay in or go out the only time I dont let them out / or put them back in is if i see the wind blowign them around and they are having a hard time maitaining them selfs with the wind.
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I always gave my birds the choice. I agree, you're going to have behavior isues confining that many birds in that small an area. If I were one of those birds, I'd go buggy crazy in a week, and I'd start looking to take out my flockmates to make more room for myself!

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