Are chickens too stupid to know how to keep warm?


10 Years
Jun 11, 2009
Nova Scotia
All summer long my husband and I laughed about how the chickens (young ones too) would spend rainy days outside. But now, it is getting cold. Yesterday they spent the day out in the rain and it is October in Nova Scotia, down to about 8 celcius yesterday. Am I fretting for no reason or should I force them inside? They range in age from adult, to 3 months and they ALL stay out and look like well..... wet chickens. (there is food, water, bedding, roosts and light inside!)
I've never heard of a chicken dying from staying outside. They will roost in the coop when they need too.

My chickens stayed indoors all last winter because there was snow in the run. It seems they all differ some.
Actually chickens DO die of exposure on a not-rare basis, as witness a number of BYC threads among other things. However it is not always clear how much some other health problem may have contributed -- if a chicken is feeling poorly for another reason, cold (or cold and wet) may be just too much for them to cope with, where they might've done if they were at the top of their form.

Also sometimes people lose chickens to the weather because, unbeknownst to the chicken owner, there is some reason they really don't want to go into the coop, so they stay out much longer than they otherwise would.

HOWEVER, that said, yeah, chickens generally manage their own affairs pretty successfully. Though IMHO it doesn't hurt to keep a closer eye on them when the weather is really foul, to watch for any one(s) not acting normally or apparently reluctant to move around or squished into some sheltered area for a long period of time (such a chicken may be ok, but should prolly be checked on).

Good luck, have fun,

Pat, with roofed runs for all but the turkeys so not having a whole lot of personal experience with the subject
This is cute because we just got a batch of pullets this week and put them in the brooder. DH built it, is is a big ole box up off the ground, and he has a little house inside it. He went out this week when we got the babies and attached the light on the house so that inside the house it is nice and warm and cozy. Kids and I have to go out every single night and put them all back in the house. They can find the door to get out of it to the food and water, but they will congregate on the wrong side of the light at night. I am pretty sure if we don't physically put them in the brooder house they will spend the night out of it. So yes, they can be too stupid to keep warm.
Ok, ummm. If the whole entire flock is staying out in the rain, can I assume that they are ok with the temp? I keep fretting, and putting old clothes in with them and such. Yesterday we keep them shut in because of a cold rain.

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