Choosing to sleep outside in FREEZING weather

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by kaiserhausmal, Dec 11, 2008.

  1. kaiserhausmal

    kaiserhausmal New Egg

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    Jul 31, 2008
    Wisconsin
    I've been reading this forum for months and thought I was doing really well with my chickens. I live in NW Wisconsin, and it's been below zero at night. I have 17 hens, with a very large predator proof outdoor run (about 20 x 60) with a 10 x 10 coop.

    I have 5 of them are laying eggs regularly, and they go in the coop and nest boxes to lay, but 10 of them are sleeping outside. They can go in and out at will.

    I worry about them freezing to death!

    Does anyone have experience with this? do I remove the perches outside? Do I catch them and lock them in for the winter? I can't really put them in every night, the door to go in and out is like a dog door [​IMG]

    Thanks so much for any help.

    Cindy
    Menomonie, WI
     
  2. waynesgarden

    waynesgarden Feathers of Steel

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    Mar 30, 2008
    Oxford County
    Yep, a good first step would be to remove the outside perches, at least untill they learn the pleasure of roosting inside, out of the freezing rain and snow. I don't know that they would let themselves get to the point of actually freezing to death before going in on their own, but you will sleep better knowing they are indoors, out of the elements.

    I have an outdoor perch and the birds like to sun themselves on it or just get off the snow or ice, but none have taken to roosting there yet.

    Wayne
     
  3. txchickie

    txchickie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2008
    Texas
    Mine choose to sleep on the ground in their run [​IMG] they're goobers.

    We're in TX and it's got down to around 23 within the last few nights, but I figure they're not going to let themselves freeze, so I let them do as they please.
     
  4. needmorechickens!

    needmorechickens! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 2, 2008
    West TN
    [​IMG] I had to remove my outdoor roosts today. I started running mine into the coop 3 days ago and boy are they mad about it. My roo was getting some tiny black spots (looks like frostbite) on his comb. [​IMG] I don't think they know what's good for them.
    ~Rebecca
     
  5. vermontgal

    vermontgal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Once they roost for the night, I don't think it occurs to a chicken that it could go back down (to the predator-laden ground) and in to a different roost. So, I would agree with those who suggest to remove the roosts outside, or to force the chickens to roost inside for several nights in a row so that they see that as the "home" roost.
     
  6. Kitchenella

    Kitchenella Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 11, 2008
    Beitar Illit, Israel
    This is a bit off topic but how do I get my hens to use the outdoor roost I worked so hard to put up for them. I have a coop that is 3 feet off the ground and the run incorporates the space under the coop. I put the perch about 1.5 feet off the ground under the coop for sun protection. They are totally ignoring it. Their in coop perch is a 1/3 board. The outdoor perch is a tree branch about 3" in diameter/

    Peggy
     
  7. aiwetir

    aiwetir Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 28, 2008
    portland, or
    yeah so remove the outdoor roosts and lock them in the coop for a week or 10 days and they will probably always go there.

    although ours have been out of the house since sept and the other night they all came to the back door and tried to get back in their brooder. the brooder is in the attic though. it was cute though [​IMG]
     
  8. aiwetir

    aiwetir Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 28, 2008
    portland, or
    Quote:mine ignore it too, try putting it close to the ground, just a few inches and just move it up a every once in a while.
     
  9. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    I have one lonely White Rock that wants to stay outside by herself, perched on my lawn tractor....in 5 degree weather! If she sees me coming she will fly down and run to the coop...she knows the drill!

    I would remove the outside perch and I would build me a door for my coop, so you could close them in for a training period.
     
  10. kaiserhausmal

    kaiserhausmal New Egg

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    Jul 31, 2008
    Wisconsin
    Thanks. I guess we will herd them inside today and do a training period of staying inside for a week or so..

    It's 11 below zero here this morning and it's not even our cold season yet!

    I'll let you all know how it's going!

    I appreciate all the input. [​IMG]
     

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