Chickens in winter


May 6, 2020
i live in Colorado. I read some articles and it sounds like people have all these winter gadgets and others where the chickens are kept in a coop like shelter all day with no gadgets. What does winter really look like. Can you just keep a few hens in your storage shed with water ? Do they need to be out all day?


8 Years
Jul 18, 2013
Kalispell MT
Winter for my chickens is similar to summer for my chickens. They stay in their coop at night. Coop is not insulated. It has about 10 square feet of vent area for a 6' by 8' coop that is never closed. The vents are up high in the coop. The roosts are down low so no breeze blows on the chickens. During the day the chickens are out in the run as that is where their food and water is kept. Run has a roof to keep snow and rain out. During winter three sides of the run are covered in vinyl shower curtains to make a nice wind free place for the chickens to hang out. Due to the cold weather the chickens do have a waterer that stays thawed during the cold winter using electricity.

You could keep chickens in a storage shed. They would have to have a light source. The shed would have to be properly ventilated. The chickens do not have to be outside all day long if that doesn't work for you. Normally 4 square feet of coop space is needed per chicken, however, if the chickens are in the coop 24/7 then more space is needed per bird to prevent stress from overcrowding.


Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Looks like this here:


Scarborough Fair
6 Years
Jul 3, 2016
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
Our winters are relatively mild (some snow, but only slightly below freezing point). Literally the only difference between winter and rest of the year for me is having to go out and shovel a path from the pop door to the waterer, and having to heat the waterer.

I also try and clear out a couple pathways through the run just so the chickens don't stay inside all day. But amount of non-snow run space varies depending on what kind of weather we're dealing with.


Mar 9, 2020
Winters here can be brutal. Wind is almost relentless during winter and night time temps can dip into negatives. The only changes I make for winter are putting the water indoors on a heated base to keep it from freezing and closing the windows. My coop has a large window on the east side and the door is one of those screen doors with a glass panel that slides up to cover the screen. My coop is not insulated. I only raise breeds that can handle cold. I leave the pop door open so they can come out if they want. Most don't want to walk on snow so they choose to stay in, like My PBR Betty in the photo!


In warm weather the water goes outside and the window and screen door are open.


Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
North Carolina Sandhills
My Coop
My Coop
On the advice of people here at BYC, I put some intact straw bales into my run at the start of winter so my spoiled, southeastern chickens could have places to sit out of the (rare), snow (half the run was covered). I don't know how that works for people with winters are that more like winter.

My run was hardened so I never closed my pop door and let the chickens decide what kind of weather they wanted to experience. They almost never stayed in the coop.


Apr 30, 2020
South West Ohio
My Coop
My Coop
Here, the season varies.....
Some winters, there can be little snow, but temps are below 0.... some winters the wind and snow are relentless..... BUT, with the exception of very windy days, they have the option on if they want to go out or not. I have an old coop, so no insulation... but its big, so they have plenty of room inside. The run is not covered with a roof, so it does get snowy. Some days, you see them poke their heads out and go in and out quickly.... some days they look out like... you have GOT to be kidding...then dont see them again for a week outside...LOL.
If the temps drop below 0 for too long, the hubby... (a big ole softee) will turn on a heat lamp for them, but that sucker is wired tight to a ceiling joist....
I will probably use a tarp this winter to block some wind, and because I have tripled my bird numbers this spring. All of my birds are cold hardy... and lay all winter long too.


5 Years
Jul 13, 2016
Southeast, MA
My Coop
My Coop
We are in SE Mass. We had a mild winter. Not much snow. Other years, plenty. We wrap the run in plastic. The hens come out in all but the worst weather. You will notice that the run roof is flat. So I use the handy snow rake to remove the snow. I also clear the ridge vent. This picture was taken during a storm, so a little bit of snow blew in the open end of the run. We keep a stock tank heater in the 5 gallon bucket with HN, in the run. Never freezes.


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5 Years
Jun 2, 2016
Pensacola, FL
My chickens never have a problem in the winter.
But I live in NorthWest Florida (The panhandle).
It rarely freezes.

But the summers are AWEFUL.

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