Free Range in Snowy Weather: What do you do?

Susanhen

In the Brooder
Jan 23, 2017
82
15
41
Pennsylvania
My flock for most of the winter was just two bantam hens. I live in the woods so there is lots of cover in the underbrush for them during the summer. I had a standard Red Sexlink hen with them until the neighbor's dog got out and got my poor Stella in late July. After that the little girls wouldn't spend any time on open ground, and since the leaves fell off of the trees they rarely leave their run without me present as they no longer have good cover or a larger guardian. Every so often I'll find one of the girls hanging out in my dirt floor carport, but for the most part my little ladies just chill in the warm henhouse.

 

guinealeghorn

Songster
Aug 14, 2016
263
139
142
So glad that I'm not alone in this. My 6 month old Cavachon puppy thinks that chickens are for chasing, and I don't see any sign of that changing.
We have a charcoal who was trained to be a bird dog. Not real helpful around chickens. By restraining him, we have trained him to leave the chickens be. We held him on a leash for a while, and now we can let him out by the chickens without supervision. Our dog is older though...
 

guinealeghorn

Songster
Aug 14, 2016
263
139
142
I don't let mine free range in winter. The hawks and eagles are hungry, and we don't want to lose any chickens. In summer or spring, the birds will have other things to eat, and should leave the chickens alone.
 

Beekissed

Free Ranging
12 Years
Feb 14, 2008
22,974
4,894
602
This world is not my home.
Mine would just be miserable if I didn't let them out all winter....they are so used to life out there that any time having to be confined to a coop is hard on them. They pace like tigers in a cage. If the snow isn't too deep for their walking, they only go in that coop to lay an egg or eat their daily ration...the rest of the time is spent searching for food out there...and they find some, don't know how, but they are seen picking up things as they scratch along.



 
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ShanandGem

Songster
Feb 16, 2016
721
172
141
Mine have adjusted to the snow, despite hating it initially. I still throw open their doors every morning and some will plow through chest deep snow to get to the carport where the ground is bare. I reward them with some BOSS to scratch around and search for.
I figure if they have the choice they can do whatever they like. Many will pop out the door, flap their wings and run back in the coop. It's better than just sitting around cooped up all day...
 
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