Chickens in winter

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by jladdy, Dec 3, 2013.

  1. jladdy

    jladdy New Egg

    Dec 3, 2013
    Hello! This is my chicken's first winter (they are about 8 months) and I always let them free range on our property. They have a large, beautiful, chicken coop they sleep, eat, and nest in. My question is, is it ok to let them free range on cold winter days? They have access to their coop at all times. Are they smart enough animals to know what they need to survive? I live in Montana and today it is 15degrees out, with a wind chill of -3. The chickens were out wandering around, in the horse shelters, out in the pastures, and are now huddled up under a lage brush/burn pile of old pine trees. Do I need to keep them locked in their house on these cold days, or is it ok to give them the choice? I would prefer to let them choose, but I don't want then to die (I love my girls!!)
  2. ChicknsRock

    ChicknsRock Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 4, 2013
    [​IMG] it is probably okay to let your chickens free range in the winter, because I have lots of free-range chickens that don't even have a coop; they roost in trees at night. As chickens get older and more weak, though, they need to either be kept in their coop or in the house, depending on how cold it gets.
  3. liz9910

    liz9910 Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 8, 2012
    Northern California
    Welcome to BYC! I think they will be fine, good luck to you.
  4. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

    Feb 18, 2011
    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! X3 they should be fine free-ranging even on really cold days as long as they know where the coop is.
  5. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Given the opportunity, they will discover the sunny spots and those protected from the winds. On the really bad days they will remain in the coop. Welcome to BYC.
  6. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture

    X 2 what Sourland said
  7. jladdy

    jladdy New Egg

    Dec 3, 2013
    Thanks for all your responses!! I will leave their gate open and continue to let them choose. I have just read so much about frostbite and worry about their feet. The other day (the day I wrote the previous post) they were on their way back to the coop and had to stop along the way and sit down on their feet to warm them up.... Made me feel pretty bad... But I guess they're tough. It's a warm -1 below zero this morning and the girls are outside!!! Crazy chickens! Burr!!!!

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