Free-ranging in the snow

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by debir1966, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. debir1966

    debir1966 Songster

    May 27, 2012
    Central Idaho
    Hello! I hope this is the appropriate place to post this topic :)

    We built a new chicken house this year, but didn't have the chance to build the partially covered run.

    We free-ranged our chickens all summer and fall, and regardless of weather conditions, they preferred to come outside than stay in the coop. They also like to scratch around in the barn, old sheds, under vehicles, under the apple trees, etc.

    As the snow gets deeper we will shovel paths from the coop to the barn and sheds specifically for the chickens to use so they can "range" from the coop into sheltered areas that they like to hange out in during the day.

    I am just wondering if anyone else does this in snow areas? Or am I way off the mark for proper chicken keeping? LOL

    We got about 4 inches of snow overnight.

    Youngsters hanging out in the doorway of the coop.

    Waiting for treats - we shoveled a smooth area to throw their scratch and sunflower seeds.
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Crowing

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    Haven't had snow where I live this year...and very little last year, but they seemed to like to have the opportunity to be out scratching around - plus they would get under trees where there was less snow and dig around in there. When they got cold they just headed back to the coop.
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I have done it with snow depth pushing two feet. Straw bales where placed near cover from wind and hawks. I would walk out to bales and scatter foods such as scratch grains and sunflower seeds on some bales. Another feeder was placed between to bales of straw with a wooden pallet covering it. Game chickens would fly a good 50 yards from bale to bale in effort to avoid walking through snow. The birds also flew to and from roost to avoid snow. American dominiques could fly only about 35 feet but still efforted to avoid walking through deep powdery stuff.

    I will try to find videos of some of the flights later. Pretty cool behaviors used to stay warm.

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