Feet ok in the snow?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by karmical, Oct 30, 2007.

  1. karmical

    karmical Songster

    Aug 3, 2007
    Honeoye Falls, NY
    Just wondering if chickens' feet are OK standing in the snow? Not sure how tough that skin is. SEEMS pretty tough, but do they have the sense to go inside before they could get frostbite?
  2. Flufnstuffs~FluffySilkies

    Flufnstuffs~FluffySilkies Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Hi Tracy,
    we are almost neigbhors :)
    I only have polish and Silkies.
    One of my silkie Roosters let his feet freeze last year. It is the first time
    anything like that has happened to me. It was so bad I had to put him down.
    We keep our birds in all winter. but this one coop has a covered run top and all sides
    with a thick clear plastic so it can not get wet or snow in it
    so I thought they were safe from the worst effects
    of the winter weather. "IT SUCKS TO BE WRONG" so this year I will keep the door to
    thier run closed when the temps dip to the 20's.

    You will just have to use your own judgement to pick and choose the days you let them out.

  3. chickflick

    chickflick Crowing

    Mar 10, 2007
    My chickens never did like to stand in the snow. I open up my garage last winter so they would have some where to go....I put cardboard down so they wouldn't stand on the cold cement. It gave them a place to stand and if it was sunny out and the snow melted off the driveway, they would have a place to go and stand in the sun and maybe find some grass peeking thru. They seem to like going in the garage to hang out. Wanted to give them more room. You have to use common sense. If it's too cold, they need to stay in the coop. Their feet, combs and waddles can get frost bite. You can also rub petroleum jelly on their combs and waddles to protect them some.
  4. karmical

    karmical Songster

    Aug 3, 2007
    Honeoye Falls, NY
    Ohmygosh, Melanie! I'm so glad you told me that story....so sorry though that you lost one to the cold weather [​IMG]

    I wanted to hope that they wouldn't let themselves freeze, but I'll take your advice (And chickflick's too [​IMG] ) and watch out for those below freezing "Rochester" temps. Wonder if it'd help to petroleum jelly their feet/legs along with their combs and wattles? Then again, maybe not...I can just see them walking around inside the coop and getting shavings stuck to them!

  5. hinkjc

    hinkjc Crowing

    Jan 11, 2007
    I've seen birds fly full force out of the coop only to land feet first in a pile of snow and stand there in shock. They don't move, especially if its deep and they typically don't like to stand in it even when it's not deep. And then I have others who will fly from path to path and get around just fine..of course, we have to shovel a lot of paths to make that possible.

    Our birds are usually kept in until temps come above freezing...mainly because I got tired of running back out to help them out of the snow. This is one reason it is so important to calculate indoor space appropriately if you're in a frigid weather area.

  6. s6bee

    s6bee Songster

    Jul 1, 2007
    Western, NY
    Hey Rochesterians! I'm from the East side in Walworth! This will be my first year with chickens and I'm wondering the same thing. I have a chicken tractor and I planned on bringing it up close to the house where the sun shines on it all day ( if we get sun ) and planned on keeping some sort of plastic around the coop walls to prevent the snow from getting in there too much. I guess you can never do enough.
    Hopefully the weather people are wrong and NOT have a harsh winter.

  7. Flufnstuffs~FluffySilkies

    Flufnstuffs~FluffySilkies Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Hi Stephanie,
    At Wal-Mart in the fabric section they have SUPER THICK clear plastic on rolls,
    You measure how long ypu need and have them cut it by the yard.
    Between that and a red heat lamp when it gets really cold you should be OK
    Just do not start using the heat lamp to soon. You want them to get used to the cold and feather out as much as possible.
    ALSO if you use a heat lamp make darn sure it can never fall down and start a fire.
  8. AK-Bird-brain

    AK-Bird-brain I gots Duckies!

    May 7, 2007
    Sterling, Alaska
    We rescued a little banty last year that had frost bitten toes, she wound up loosing all her toes. She's doing fine now just sleeps in the nest cause she cant grip a roost with her stubs.
    Our's run around outside all year long, they dont care for deep snow but will venture out into it. We keep an area of their run covered so they have some snow free areas to play in. They dont spend alot of time outside when its below -15 but they do get out for awhile for fresh air. below -20 we keep their door closed.
    If you do use a heat lamp be sure to put a guard over it and keep it up high enough so they cannt come into contact with it.
  9. SarahF

    SarahF Songster

    I never thought about the snow...good thing I found this thread! At what temperature should I turn the heat lamp on? My DH doesnt plan on putting it on at all, but i know it's going to get too cold. It can get down to -40 at night around here (at night in the dead of winter)...so that light is going on! But when is too early?

    Should I lay down extra hay on the ground in the winter, to protect them more? or should I be using something else?
  10. AK-Bird-brain

    AK-Bird-brain I gots Duckies!

    May 7, 2007
    Sterling, Alaska
    we use wood chips on the floor (free froma local saw mill).

    At -15F we keep the coop closed up with the heat lamp on 24/7. we use -15 cause thats what the hens tell us. any colder and they dont leave the coop so we leave the door shut to preserve heat.

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