Chickens won't come out in the snow to eat

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by kristenm1975, Dec 14, 2008.

  1. kristenm1975

    kristenm1975 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 23, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    We received a rare dumping of snow (all of maybe three inches) during the night and when I fed the chickens their usual breakfast of hot mash, only about half of the hens would come out of the coop to eat. I was surprised and I wonder what makes those hens stay while the others wander happily out.

    My question is, since the more intrepid hens got to the mash first, they pigged out and ate the portions usually eaten by the whole group. Should I put more food into the coop for the girls who won't venture out, or should I just put a little more out in the feeding area later and hope that they are hungry enough to go and get it?

    I'd like to make sure no one goes hungry in this cold, but I also don't want to train the hens to eat in the coop as it would be a pain in the butt to get the food in there.

  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    They'll come out when they are ready. First year birds and snow scare each other, but the chickens will win.
  3. kristenm1975

    kristenm1975 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 23, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    Thanks silkiechicken! [​IMG] Did you get snow where you're at too? I'm on Whidbey and this is really unusual for us. Kind of nice. I would prefer the snow to only occur on weekends and thoughtfully depart when Monday morning arrives however, to save me that crazy commute to Seattle with the white stuff on the ground. [​IMG] People in the Seattle area have NO clue how to drive on snow and act like teenagers heading out with their driver's ed instructor for the first time. Or worse, those folks who just went out and bought a big old SUV and have no idea that they still need to exercise caution despite their 4 x 4 capabilities. [​IMG]
  4. aiwetir

    aiwetir Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 28, 2008
    portland, or
    i'm having the same issue here, they came out a bit in the morning but now want nothing to do with the outdoors. that's where their food and water are.

    i suppose if i don't see them come out for an evening meal, i should put something in the coop for them just in case ?
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    The chickens got 3 inches of snow, so they saw worse this spring as chicks when we got that freak 8 inches in late april.

    Down here in corvallis, maybe 2 inches tops, but it's warmer here than at home, so most is melted away already. The poor babies are toughing it out and my little brother has instructions to give a whole 24 ounce can of corn to the flock today in prep for the teen temps tonight.

    Brother just said they were all out and there are foot prints in the snow everywhere.
  6. Chicken Woman

    Chicken Woman Incredible Egg

    Oct 16, 2008
    We have 7 inches on the ground and it's 11 below !!!![​IMG]

    Soon to be 20 below tonight ! [​IMG]
    I haven't taken my girls out at all ! [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 14, 2008
  7. hinky toes

    hinky toes Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 1, 2008
    Bozeman, MT
    My chickens make me shovel around the coop if I expect them to come out to have a look around in the fresh air.

    FOr the last 24 hours we've had sub zero temps. The coop is staying "warmish" at about 10 degrees, while outside it's like -5 to -10. My one problem is that the heater pan that the waterer sits on doesn't do the job. I had to go out every few hours to chip out the trough to the liquid stuff. Darn cold weather!
  8. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    We only got about an inch here in Tacoma. My girls came around the corner this morning and stopped in their tracks when they saw the yard with snow. I went out into it & called them. They came to me & then went on their way from there. They didn't like it, though, and stayed really close to the house where the snow didn't land.

    I'm worried about their water while I'm at work tomorrow. I may go grab a heating pad to put out there but am not sure how I'm going to rig it.
  9. chickenbike

    chickenbike Chillin' With My Peeps

    With the first snow, it took 2 hours before mine would come out at all. While they don't exactly bound out first thing, they do now come in and out throughout the day. They are doing very well with the cold temps of -14 C (6.8 F) so far. Our best investment so far was the electric, heated water drinker. I used the rubber pig bowl until the heated drinker arrived and would be breaking the ice every couple hours and refreshing the water.
  10. beak

    beak On vacation

    Dec 12, 2008
    Kiowa, Colorado
    I read in Backyard Poultry that the chickens can get frostbite on their feet. They say you should clear the snow where they hang out. We have a 25ft x 60 ft greenhouse that is adjacent to their run. It is used for summer only and is empty during the winter, I made them a tunnel to get into the green house, so they go in there all the time during the day. we put 30 wheel barrows of horse manure in piles all over the floor . They have a blast digging through it. Last summer we had a dry spring and had a huge grasshopper problem. We use the green house for tomatoes and there were grasshoppers everywhere. The girls cleared those things out in about 2 days.

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