Do you let your chickens outside in bitter cold weather?

MIgardengal

Songster
Apr 4, 2020
114
264
131
Way UP north MI
Ok you all I’m wondering what I should do...my first winter with my hens.
I live in Michigan 3 blocks from the shores of Lake Superior. Cold cold with lots of snow.
Our temps are now in the single digits. And we have about 12 inches of snow.

my coop is about 40s feet with 6 hens, and a attached run which I have tarped the roof on to keep snow off for the winter. I have a section wind blocked with a old fence panel.

now my question, how cold is to cold to let them outside/open the door to the run? This afternoon it was 10 and they were out in the run to greet me...but I heard one sneeze a few times and it freaked me out. Is it too cold to be out in the run during the day?

i hate to be a jailer but should I just be keeping them locked in on cold days? I feel the indoor coop is kind of small for them to be happy stuck inside. And the hatch door adds ventilation during the day???

attached are photos of my coop, run attachment, and ventilation (I have one window that vents).
 

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3KillerBs

Enabler
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
10,573
27,032
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North Carolina Sandhills
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Chickens know how to be chickens better than we know how to be chickens. If you give them the choice to be in out and have prepared some wind baffles and shelters in the run and they're fully-feathered adults^ they're capable of deciding how wet or how cold is too wet or too cold. :)

If your coop is well-ventilated it's about the same temperature inside as out anyway. :)

^I am given to understand that breeds with non-standard feathers such as silkies and frizzles and some very small bantams have special care needs in cold weather.
 

Vandersnoot

Chirping
Dec 23, 2020
36
113
76
My chickens just sleep in there coops. I always open the door when the sun comes up and close it when there back in there coop at night. If my chickens don't want to go out side then they don't is up to them but I shovel a path to the feeder and give them access to the barn to wonder around they don't seem to mind but on snowy days they usually hunker down in the coop or hangout in the barn in the hay
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
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SW Michigan
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now my question, how cold is to cold to let them outside/open the door to the run? This afternoon it was 10 and they were out in the run to greet me...but I heard one sneeze a few times and it freaked me out. Is it too cold to be out in the run during the day?
I wouldn't worry about one sneeze.
Dry and out of the wind is key.
Might want to put up some wind blocks on the run walls.
 

Bancm

In the Brooder
Feb 21, 2021
20
27
49
My birds go in the snow if they want to. Haven't had to worry about frostbite.
Mine
My coop is always open and i close my run every night. They can come and go between the coop and run, but when the snow is high and the wind blows, I don't open the run. They won't leave anyways if I did
I do the same and they walk in the snow to where they want to get in the barn or under the carports in the dirt.
 

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