Chickens first snow

JoeInPA

Songster
Aug 25, 2019
247
565
141
Western Pennsylvania
I'm glad to hear that my chickens aren't the only ones that refuse to go out in the snow. When I saw they weren't coming outside I got worried.

My one question is should I have food in the coop? I keep the food and water outside in the run, and the chickens come out to eat and drink. Do they need food or water in the coop?

Initially I kept food and water in the coop but they didn't really touch it, they mostly just made a mess of it, so I took it out.

This is my first winter and I'm still in my first year with chickens so I'm still in the learning process!
 

Folly's place

Crossing the Road
8 Years
Sep 13, 2011
17,126
21,960
906
southern Michigan
My coop and run are all one unit, roofed, and really function as a large coop. I always have both food and water there, in multiple locations, so it's never an issue.
Can you keep food and water in good shape in your run in all weather? It needs a roof for that, and shelter from snow and excess rain.
Birds should have food and water when they get up in daylight, and right before roosting at night. If your coop is too small, or you need help figuring out how to make it all function better, post some photos, and dimensions, and flock size.
Mary
 

CindyinSD

Free Ranging
Aug 3, 2018
2,237
8,588
722
Black Hills, South Dakota, USA
If you can teach them how to use a nipple waterer, that’s a great way to supply water in the coop. I had to just sit there and press the nipple so they could see the water drops. It took a while... As for food, they’ll eventually eat it. Maybe try putting treats in the feeder at first to get them to warm up to it.

You can leave the food and water outside as long as it’s not actively precipitating, but if you want the ladies to venture out on the scary white fungus, you’ll have better luck if you give them a pathway over it of straw, hay, etc. With mine, it’s more about the cold than the snow. On super cold, sub-zero days, they mostly choose to stay in the coop, snow or no snow.
 

fldiver97

Enabler
Premium member
10 Years
Aug 5, 2009
6,507
33,460
1,182
Middleton, WI
My Coop
My Coop
I have used a variety of clear plastic sheeting for the last 10 winters. The current ‘type’ - sturdy clear shower curtain liners, same liners for 2 years and hopefully good for another few years. I leave a few inches under the roofline uncovered and use zip ties to secure the liners to the hardware cloth. I overlap as needed and secure the bottom with some bricks. The run stays dry and light gets in. The chickens will go in the run every day. Most days I keep the door open so they can go in the yard. They will not come out if it snows a ton or if it’s very windy. The first snow is reason to complain and avoid but they adjust. Now if it’s more than a couple of inches I have to clear a path - deep snow is ‘unacceptable’ and they get very vocal about my shortcomings :lol:
I do have feed and water in the run but keep a hanging feeder and waterer with the little cup thingies in the coop in winter if it’s really bad outside

A530754F-ED7A-4C91-97AC-142EB07B11B3.png
F461EC82-41E6-492B-89E8-BE2ABD3B1B67.jpeg
 

JoeInPA

Songster
Aug 25, 2019
247
565
141
Western Pennsylvania
My coop and run are all one unit, roofed, and really function as a large coop. I always have both food and water there, in multiple locations, so it's never an issue.
Can you keep food and water in good shape in your run in all weather? It needs a roof for that, and shelter from snow and excess rain.
Birds should have food and water when they get up in daylight, and right before roosting at night. If your coop is too small, or you need help figuring out how to make it all function better, post some photos, and dimensions, and flock size.
Mary
There are some pictures of my setup in the first and second pages of this thread. The coop is 4'x5' with a sloping roof. The tall side of the roof is 4' and the short side is 3'. The floor of the coop sits 2' high off of the ground and the area underneath is accessible as part of the run. The run is 8'x8' and 4' tall, and also has the 4'x5' area under the coop attached. The run is attached and fully roofed with polycarbonate. The food doesn't get wet at all during any kind of precipitation.

So basically, the coop is 20 sq ft and the run is essentially 84 sq ft. I have 5 birds and they don't seem pressed for space at all. There is plenty of roosting room for them all and lots of space inside to move around. And I leave the pop door open from dawn to dusk so they can always go outside and access their food and water or peck around inside the run.

Here are some pictures from just before it snowed-

IMG_20191108_152715289.jpg
IMG_20191108_152703457.jpg
 

Mybackyardpeepers

Free Ranging
Mar 22, 2019
2,745
9,062
507
Michigan
I'm glad to hear that my chickens aren't the only ones that refuse to go out in the snow. When I saw they weren't coming outside I got worried.

My one question is should I have food in the coop? I keep the food and water outside in the run, and the chickens come out to eat and drink. Do they need food or water in the coop?

Initially I kept food and water in the coop but they didn't really touch it, they mostly just made a mess of it, so I took it out.

This is my first winter and I'm still in my first year with chickens so I'm still in the learning process!
I broke down and for cheap built two PVC feeders for inside the coop. Chickens are messy with food there is no permanent way around that, but the PVC feeders have cut down on it a lot.
 

JoeInPA

Songster
Aug 25, 2019
247
565
141
Western Pennsylvania
Spent some time today wrapping the rest of the coop with the 4 mil plastic and making it as neat as I could. I've since changed out the straw in the run so it is nice and dry. I also added food and water inside the coop in case they don't want to come out to the run. The water in the coop will freeze, but it's easy to change out. I should better prepared for the next snow.
IMG_20191117_173452881.jpg

IMG_20191117_173347706.jpg

IMG_20191116_140055591_HDR.jpg
 

Latest posts

Top Bottom