Chickens in snow

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by rachel1977, Nov 11, 2013.

  1. rachel1977

    rachel1977 Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 30, 2013
    I have 19 laying hens an I live in michigan this will be their first winter what I want to know is if its ok to let them in the snow in the run or keep them locked in the coop it's dark in their coop an I don't know if they will like it but people have told me they lock theirs in so they don't get frost bite on their feet I want them to be able to go in their run so they don't get so crowded but I don't want frostbite either what is the right thing to do.
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Usually when mine wake up to find snow on the ground they are scared of it for a couple of days, but eventually one gets brave enough to try it. If the snow is not too deep and the grass and weeds are still sticking up, they go out foraging. I’ve had chickens wade through 9” of soft snow to go check out the compost pile.

    I took this photo last spring. It was just below freezing. This snow fell during the day while they were outside. They never bothered to come inside.


    I took this photo a few years back. It was 4 degrees above zero. I just leave my pop door open and let them decide what to do. If a cold wind is blowing they pretty much stay out of it, but if it is calm, well you can see what they decided to do.


    I do suggest putting some kind of window in the coop to let some light in. It doesn’t have to be a lot or fancy. You can just cut out a hole, frame around it, and put up a piece of plexiglass. Or you can maybe find a window on Craigslist or something like that.

    Good luck!
  3. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 8, 2008
    They will not get frostbite on their feet. Chickens can definitely go out in the snow, and it's far better for them to go outside than be stuck in their coop. Last spring, I even had a mama hen take her week-old chicks out into the snow. Chickens are much more cold-hardy than people give them credit for, and are far more likely to get sick from being made too warm in a very airtight coop than they would with a wide open door. If you can, I would put a window into your coop. The light and ventilation is good for them.

    Here's my coop. There are six full-size house windows, plus peak vents and soffit vents:

    And here are chickens in the snow:
  4. 4 the Birds

    4 the Birds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 15, 2010
    Westfield, Indiana
    Chickens are just fine out in the snow and they will appreciate the ability to go outside as they choose. They will also appreciated your help with a shoveled path or two if your snow is deep. Mine also love to go outside in light rains to scratch around for worms.


  5. bontwix

    bontwix New Egg

    Aug 4, 2013
    thanks for answering this question. my chickens came in today still had snow on their feathers. i just want to do what is best for them

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