Chickens won't leave the coop... (it's cold)

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by faythlund, Jan 19, 2016.

  1. faythlund

    faythlund In the Brooder

    Jul 18, 2015
    We have 13 hens recently got rid of two due to their aggressive behavior, and here in the winter it doesnt getwarmer than 30 degrees and these past couple weeks have been negative numbers... its cold. And i know this is why, but the girls will not leave the coop. Id be going crazy if i were them. So i was wondering if there was a way i could get them out or if i should just leave them. Weve been trying our hardest to keep them entertainded. So any advice is highly appreciated.

  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Free Ranging

    Apr 6, 2014
    Melrose Park Illinois
    Just let them stay in coop... Chickens do not need to be entertained.. When temps rise, so will their desire to go outside. My small group of 8 stays indoors in a heated garage, all winter. I only maintain heat to above freezing.. My chickens seem perfectly happy being there during the cold winter. I do provide them with 12 hours of light on a timer. Have limited windows for natural light. In your coop , the natural light from daylight should be enough.
  3. Paganrose

    Paganrose Songster

    May 23, 2010
    Albany,, Wisconsin
    I agree they are smart enough to know what is too cold. My chickens always choose to stay inside in below 0 temps. Give them a bit more scratch and keep the water warm.
  4. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    Mine do the same during the rainy season - their decision so I am happy enough to let them do what they feel is best.

  5. faythlund

    faythlund In the Brooder

    Jul 18, 2015

    That's exactly what we've been doing.. glad to know others do it too

  6. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Actually, chickens do appreciate "entertainment", and bored chickens are more susceptible to trouble among the ranks.

    While they are creatures of comfort, more often than not, choosing to remain sheltered when the weather is nasty, close confinement can increase stress levels.

    The very best and most reliable source of entertainment is a flock scratch block, inexpensively obtained from most feed stores. Other big entertainment hits are cabbages and jumbo carrots, parsnips, and turnips with an eye screw inserted to enable hanging. They will peck away at all these items for hours, and they won't detract from their normal nutritional feed.

    Another popular toy is a plastic drink bottle with quarter-inch holes drilled into it and filled with scratch and BOSS. They will roll the bottles around for hours pecking at them to get the seeds released.

    A tub of peat moss and sand slipped into the indoor quarters will provide a nice "spa" dirt bath, and will be much appreciated by chickens who can't or won't go outside. If you really want to make it a "quality experience", try suspending a heat lamp over the dirt bath to warm the soil.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2016
  7. jas humbert

    jas humbert Chirping

    Jul 2, 2015
    Maybe this is dumb question but shouldn't my chickens want to stay inside with the weather like it is? I've got a mixed flock, silkies, wyandotte, welsummer, astralopes all between 6 months and one year old. They have a small coop and absolutely no desire stay inside regardless of the weather. They have a roofed run and a place to get out of the wind but we've had a few days of 10-20 degree daytime temperatures and nobody ever stays in the chicken house after the sun comes up. They don't seem uncomfortable and run around the yard and come clustering around my feet begging for treats. I have a little mat to keep their water thawed but no heat at all other than that. I assume they will be okay outside all day in this weather? There is no reason they can't go back into the coop but they only go back inside long enough to lay, I'm actually getting decent winter egg production. Seven hens laying (plus three silkies that are 6 months and haven't started laying yet) and 5 eggs today (pretty typical). The coop is only 4 x 5 but there are only 10 hens and 6 of them are little silkies- is that too small a space and why they won't stay inside even when it is 35 degrees and raining? Or am I worrying too much and they just aren't bothered by the cold?

    BBQJOE Songster

    Sep 25, 2015
    Void where prohibited.
    Or am I worrying too much and they just aren't bothered by the cold?

    Yes. That's why they come with feathers installed.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2016
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana

    It was 4 degrees above zero Fahrenheit when I took this. I leave the pop door open and let them decide what they want to do. As long as a cold wind is not blowing they normally want to go outside. If a cold wind had been blowing mine would not have been outside.

    They also love to be out in the rain in warmer weather, maybe because earthworms come to the surface and are easy pickings. I’ve seen them so soaked that you could see the outline of their body with their feathers plastered down and they still stay out. In a thunderstorm or really heavy rain they will go in, but it has to be a heavy rain.

    A lot of people “know” that chickens are afraid of the snow. They won’t go out in it at all. In my opinion, it’s not snow they are afraid of, it’s change. When mine wake up to a white world they normally stay inside for a couple of days, but if the snow lasts long enough, some will eventually go out in it. With these, the snow fell during the day. The change was gradual enough that they never bothered to go in.


    I just leave the pop door open during the day and let them decide what they want to do, regardless of the weather. I give them options but let them manage their lives as much as possible. Chickens know how to be chickens better than I know how to be chickens.

    If yours are not going out much in the winter, a windbreak may help.

  10. Paganrose

    Paganrose Songster

    May 23, 2010
    Albany,, Wisconsin
    I agree chickens don't like change. Mine would do the exact same with snow. They would wait a day to cautiously venture out- but once they got used to it they would venture out unless it was below 0, or extremely windy.

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