Chickens in the winter

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Buttercup1979, Mar 3, 2012.

  1. Buttercup1979

    Buttercup1979 In the Brooder

    Jan 12, 2012
    Northern Indiana
    I understand that chickens can be outside in the winter, but how long do we allow them to stay out? Do you leave your coop door open and allow them to come and go as they please? Today we had a windy 30 degrees and I was wondering what I should be doing when I get chickens. Do you only allow them out a cetain time? I was just wondering because how long will chickens stay in a coop before they feel like the walls are closing in? Sorry, that's how I feel sometimes!

  2. bj taylor

    bj taylor Songster

    Oct 28, 2011
    North Central Texas
    i don't have your answer. my situation is about 30 degrees warmer as a rule. here in Tx i've been letting the chicks out briefly (4 wks old). they're largely feathered, but have a ways to go. they run around in the cold (50 & breezy). the door is left open, but they don't want to come inside. i run them back in after about 30 minutes & they cuddle under the heat lamp awhile to warm up then start roaming around the coop again.
    i'm always amazed at the cold the chickens tolerate. some of y'all get some brutal cold. we just get brutal hot.
  3. duckinnut

    duckinnut Songster

    Jul 18, 2010
    Marshfield, Ma.
    They are self regulating, Mine are outside all day long, although it has been a mild winter there have been some cold days under thirty. After a a little snow it's like it is the first time they ever saw it. If it's really freezing out I wait on letting them out a little bit,cold just don't seem to bother them. Seeing your in a colder climate and like me it probably gets hot too. Check out the breed chart before you get any to better suit your weather conditions.
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Full grown chickens can decide for themselves if they want to be in or out. Here in the PNW if I tried to keep them in when the weather is bad, they'd never get outside! So, they go out in the mud and the rain and do fine. Just like my kids lol.
  5. Buttercup1979

    Buttercup1979 In the Brooder

    Jan 12, 2012
    Northern Indiana
    Okay, thank you. It sounds like I will just be opening the door and allowing them to choose. I have chosen winter hardy breeds but I still just don't know since I don't have them yet.

  6. slabcrappy

    slabcrappy Songster

    Mar 19, 2011
    Orchard Park, NY
    I let my birds out first thing in the morning and they stay out, except to lay and get some food a couple times a day, until roost time. They do not like staying in the coop and only will if the snow is too deep. I bought cold hardy birds and they are that. Out of 6 hens I get 3-4 eggs a day, all winter. In the summer and fall they were putting out 5-6 a day. God made animals to be able to deal with the weather.

  7. blueberrychickens

    blueberrychickens Songster

    May 12, 2010
    Hudson, MA
    Mine are out no mater the weather, pop door is open all day. They come & go as they please. They can seek refuge under the coop from the wind & rain/snow. They would much rather be outside than inside in my opinion. Last winter on the coldest day (-8) they were all piled up by the pop door waiting for it to be opened & they spent the day outside w/ no issues. I do also have cold hearty birds.
    Hope that helps you out.
  8. mstricer

    mstricer Crowing

    Feb 12, 2009
    Mine are walking all over the yard, with snow up to their knees. Just walking around making chicky highway tracks everywhere. They found the compost and pockets of grass, from walking back and forth from the coop. Its funny to watch them, the last one in line has it easy and flattened down for them lol, Winter don't stop them. Mine love it, they will probably hate the summer heat. [​IMG]
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    As adults they can tolerate temperatures below -10 F almost indefinantly so long as food is adequate and they can get protection from wind. Sometimes protection from wind is little more than a bush. Winter concerns will ultimately be directed to ensuring adequate nutrition and predators.

    Alos consider frostbite. Roosters have big combs?

  10. yellowirenut

    yellowirenut Chirping

    Aug 27, 2011
    New haven, IN
    In the winter I put up tarps along the prevailing wind side of the run. The pop door stays open so they can come and go as the please. They do not mind the cold at all.
    I have even seen them in the run on the roost on a bitterly cold morning. I think they where escaping the timed light in the coop in order to get a few more zzzzzz.

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