Can I allow chickens outside of coop in winter?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by animal nut, Nov 19, 2008.

  1. animal nut

    animal nut Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 11, 2008
    S. E Ohio
    This is my first winter with chickens. I live in SE Ohio where the weather is wet and cold. 36 degrees today. I was told by a local that I should stop allowing my chickens out of the coop now that it is cold and wet. He told me that they will stop laying. I want to do what is the best for my chickens. Yestarday when I opened the coop it was like the movie the birds.......They all came flying out at me to get out. What do you do in the winter???
  2. danamillette

    danamillette Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 16, 2008
    Northern Wisconsin
    I have opening the pop door and letting them decide. Temps here have been about 25 F. Some go out, some dont. I think if it is REAL windy or in the single digits, I will keep them in. I have heard about their feet freezing and tipping over.

    P.S. They still lay.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2008
  3. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 26, 2007
    central Ohio
    Ours always have the option to go out during the day. Usually they don't want to, if it is cold and wet or very windy, or if there's snow on the ground. They will slow down or stop laying anyway...they always do in the winter. You can try artificial light in the coop if you want...we don't use it. Ours do like to sunbathe in winter sunlight; and we think they probably enjoy the fresh air, and different scenery.
  4. 2468Chickensrgr8

    2468Chickensrgr8 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 7, 2007
    Yes I think its okay to let them out ...I do...But if its a cold wet day I would keep them inside....In Jan and Feb on the really cold days I would either leave them inside or turn the red heat light on and let them have the choice.......If they all sit under the heat light I would know then that it s to cold and shut the coop door .....I usually dont turn the red heat light on until the very very cold nights ...I put a thermometer in the coop at the roost level and check to see how cold its in there....I use the deep litter method and it gets pretty toasty in there....hope that helps...
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2008
  5. derby

    derby Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 18, 2008
    Boonsboro, MD
    They slow down laying when they don't get enough sunlight. I figure the birds are animals and will survive as needed. This is my first winter with chickens. I let them out every day. They have been rained on and cold and haven't seemed to care. They take shelter under my raised garden bed when the rain pours really hard. The only day they were really unhappy was when the winds were about 60 miles per hour. Then they sheltered under the evergreen bushes. I'm still getting eggs daily. And they would much rather be out in the wind and rain then cooped up.

  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    It was 15 degrees this morning here. I waited till it was over 20 before I let them out, but they were ready to come out and play. If it was wet out at that temp, I probably would make them stay in to avoid frostbite.
  7. leasmom

    leasmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 25, 2008
    Michigan was in the 20's yesterday...and I let them out during the day so they can go in and out as they please-(they are in an enclosed run)-and then I close them in at night. The babies though I am keeping them inside until they get older because they were shivering when it wasn't even snow.
  8. animal nut

    animal nut Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 11, 2008
    S. E Ohio
    Thank you for the info. I assumed that if the outside conditions were bad enough they would not go out on their own. I really hate the thought of keeping them cooped up for months. We all enjoy fresh air and sunlight.

    2 children, 3 dogs, 2 cats and 21 chicks.
  9. NCchickenlady

    NCchickenlady Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2008
    Quote:I live in NC and it has been very cold here the last two days. I was affraid but they are out in all the sunny spots right now. I have silkies and they were petty mad I waited to let them out. Talkin the whole way out this morning!!!
    I think they were giving me a chicken what for!!! [​IMG]

    I think it was in the 30's last night, I have a white silkie that sits in the doorway every night! Last night I made her back up and I could hear her complaining the whole time I was walking away!!!!
  10. crooked stripe

    crooked stripe Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 14, 2008
    N.E Ohio- Suffield
    This is also my first winter. I have been letting them make up their own mind what they want. When it is cold and rainy they run around the yard scratching like normal. My coop is inside a shed that has a covered run and an open run. Now we have our first snow and not a chicken track in the snow. They hang out in the covered run and coop just looking out. My guess they are wandering what happened to the grass. My egg production has fallen off some. Out of 6 of laying age I am getting on average 3 eggs a day.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by