chickens outdoors in winter?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by hencrazy, Sep 5, 2009.

  1. hencrazy

    hencrazy Songster

    Mar 5, 2009
    I think this is the right spot for this.

    I live in MN and was wondering if I can leave the coop door open througout the winter - except in extreme conditions - so they can go in and out as they please. I've always kept them inside but I feel bad cuz they have to get bored. I've heard people say that chickens are too dumb to go inside if they are cold so their feet could freeze. Is this true. I've never heated my coop and last winter it was REALLY cold and everyone was fine.
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Most of us open the popdoor, at least for the nicer part of the day, and let the chickens decide.

    Their feet will not freeze if they are on snow or something like hay; if you lock them outside on bare frozen ground or ice that is a slightly different matter. Chicken feet are vastly more resistant to freezing than people tend to expect, however; normally it is *combs* that get frostbit, feet usually only get it if your roosts are too narrow or you don't have enough bedding and feed in the coop.

    If you are going to leave the popdoor open, it is wise to arrange things so that wind and snow are not blowing into the coop; if your popdoor is on the sheltered side of the coop or the coop is in a naturally sheltered location, it won't be a problem, otherwise rigging some sort of windbreak and/or 'porch roof' can be helpful.

    Good luck, have fun,


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