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Free ranging in the winter?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by NewToFarming, Oct 21, 2010.

  1. NewToFarming

    NewToFarming Songster

    Apr 28, 2010
    Millersburg, PA
    I am new to chickens since June and I do allow mine to free range. My current set up is a stall in the barn as their coop. Do you let your chickens free range in the winter? I am worried about their feet getting frost bitten. I could let them out of their coop in the winter because they have full access in the barn so they wouldn't feel so cramped up??
    Do they know to come in and find shelter if it gets too cold & nasty out? [​IMG]

  2. Louise's Country Closet

    Louise's Country Closet Songster

    Feb 5, 2010
    Garrison, MN
    I'm curious about this too. I heard that some people make theirs a path so that they didn't have to wander through the snow to get around. But I wonder what everyone else does during the winter? We get LOTS of snow here in Minnesota so I'm extra careful with my chickies.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 21, 2010
  3. joedie

    joedie Songster

    Mar 17, 2009
    SW Indiana
    Mine free ranged all winter and don't act any different than they do in the summer except they will not come out in the snow! Otherwise, they are in and out as they please. I've made a path in the snow but only the brave few will dare step in it.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2010
  4. Eggsactly

    Eggsactly In the Brooder

    Aug 25, 2008
    We let our flock out to free range year round. We live in the foot hills of western North Carolina. We do have winters and snow and ice storms. We get down to low teens in the winter. The chickens love to get out even when it's cold. They do not seem to like to walk in the snow though and all except our Spangled Russian Orloff will go out of their way to avoid it.
    We put Vaseline on their combs and wattles to prevent frostbite when we know the temps are really going to plunge. We have not had any trouble with frost bitten feet.
  5. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Crowing

    Apr 19, 2009
    Ours free range year round and no, I don't move snow for chickens. They do just fine.

    ETA: I'm in MI. We get below zero temps and plenty of snow.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2010
  6. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    We don't get as severe a winter as y'all do up north, but I let my birds free range 365 days a year. I open the coop door and let them decide whether they want to come out or not. I have yet to see a day where they chose to stay in. I've seen them out in snow, ice storms and thunderstorms so bad that the road washed away. They have places they go (besides the coop) when they want to be sheltered.
  7. NewToFarming

    NewToFarming Songster

    Apr 28, 2010
    Millersburg, PA
    Thank you! I will see what mine do this winter!! It has already been in the thirties in the morning and they don't seem to mind at all at this point.
    Do you put the vaseline on all combs & wattles or just your larger comb chickens? I know my leghorns will need it for sure but I do have some smaller comb girls.
    Oh! Are there any special precautions needed for my NN's?

  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    The air temperature was 8*F when I took this picture. I'm further south than you so I'm sure your winters can be more severe. I find that mine do not like snow or wind, but if it is just cold, they will go out.

  9. Mine don't mind it at all...I snowblow paths to get to my wood shed they tear up the grass in those areas other than that I don't move any other snow for them and they do just fine all winter.
  10. sonew123

    sonew123 Poultry Snuggie

    Mar 16, 2009
    onchiota NY
    mine would rather get eaten by the dog than go in the snow! we open the doors every morning for them-dead of winter-I come home from work only to find 40 faces squishes to the very edge of barn/outdoors-and not one foot print out there! Sissy's DH and I shovel pathways:) They very rarely use them-but we need to get in there too...

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