Cold and Snow


8 Years
Nov 23, 2011
Hullo, well it seems winter is really here. With temperatures down into the single digits and maybe negatives at night and teens/singles in the day, I was wondering if I should still open the door and let them free range. I let them free range all day. If I don't open the door to let them out, it will keep it warmer and less wind in the coop. However I don't want the chickens getting bored and aggressive and maybe feather picking. They don't seem to like to go outside especially with the cold and snow. So should I keep them inside and warm, but possible aggression or open the door and let them get colder? They seem to like to sit in the door way and look out even if they don't go out. One more thing, my coop floor is 4'x4' but there is roost space. This may seem small but they go outside for most of the day on nice days and only go in to sleep and get out of wind/snow/rain ect. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
We open the door no matter what the weather is outside. Some of the girls spend more time outside than the others. Ane Bo the rooster.......he doesn't leave the coop if there is even a speck of snow outside!
lol He sounds like a big bad roo.
Mine stare out the door at the snow if it is not deep, like an inch or less, and go "Yup, we gotta go out there, come on girls" Over an inch "Oh never mind it is cold and snowy. Let's stare at it and it could go away"
What kind of chickens? the only ones that might have problems are those with large single combs, especially the roos... mine go out even when I don't want to
Even on the coldest days (we have sub zero weather and definitely sub zero wind chills) they will go in and out all day. They don't spend as much time outside but they still like to go out.
What I have been doing with my 11 birds is open the pop door and close the window. That keeps the coop from becoming a wind tunnel and keeps the coop warmer. When I close the door I open the window back up. Ventilation ventilation, ventilation as so many on this site might cry.

So far we haven't had much for snow, but my flock has been going out to range with temps in the low teens, winds high enough to blow them backwards, and wind chills that have me still cold in three layers. Wusses these chickens aren't. Still need the test of a couple inches of snow.

I do think that one of my girls is spending her time enjoying the comfort of a nesting box for far longer than laying an egg would necessitate, but I consider free-range her free choice.
They will be fine! I was a basket case my first winter with chickens I was sure they would freeze! I have had chickens die from the heat in the dead of summer but I have never lost one to the cold...
I too, was worried about letting the chickens out in bad weather. I've only kept the coop closed up twice. Once we had a Noreaster going on and the other time a hurricane. Frankly, I didn't want to venture out. They even come out in the snow as long as I've sprinkled a bit of straw on the snow - regardless of the temperature. They seem to do just fine. Although the weather man says tomorrow is going to be one of the most bitter days of the year so far so we'll see how they do then!
So leave door open and leave the availability to free range open? Even if they don't because they don't want to go? I'm wondering if they will end up sucking it up and go outside?

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