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Free-ranging In Winter?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by LilJoe, Sep 12, 2016.

  1. LilJoe

    LilJoe Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 15, 2016
    Some people let their chickens roam in the cold heart of winter, others confine them to the coop and run.
    What's you opinion and why you think it's better?
  2. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    I let mine "roam in the cold heart of winter". I think it's better to let them choose for themselves where they want to roam.
  3. LilJoe

    LilJoe Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 15, 2016
    [​IMG] I see what you mean. They're living things let them choose.
  4. tmarsh83

    tmarsh83 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 16, 2015
    Wild turkeys free range all winter, doesn't bother them.

    Chickens aren't much different.

    Most disease and injury issues chickens have come from our failed attempts to confine them, not ranging.

    They don't need babying. They're animals, and they're many animals more frail than us. They're fine.
  5. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    I live in Alberta, Canada...Brrrrr! Our winters get very cold with lots of snow...I confine my hens to the coop and run for the most part.
    On warmer winter days I do let them out...First I shovel a nice size spot for them and little trails for them to walk on...They enjoy the time outside of the run...

  6. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    I'm with Miss Bee. I'm up in Northern Wyoming not too far from Yellowstone Park, and I just let them decide. Some will go out and stay out all day long, others peek out and say, "No, thanks!"


  7. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    While I'm a "southerner" by comparison to you Wyoming and Canada folks, we do get down to zero and some snow here on the Kansas plains. For mine I think it's less about the temps than it is the lack of appeal for what chickens like to do that keeps them mostly in the coop during cold days. Mine detest snow and almost always stay in the coop on those days. But even on frigid days without snow on the ground, there really isn't as much interest in scratching around - I think they instinctively understand pickings are slim so they just don't make as much of an effort. Of course I supplement their winter of being cooped up with extra scratch and treats.
  8. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    Mine have learned to raid the area under the bird feeders! [​IMG]
  9. MayhemMarr

    MayhemMarr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 2, 2016
    this will be my first winter with Chickens and I am thinking I will probably give them the option to go out if they want to. Like others have said wild turkeys range all winter and chickens would too if they were wild so why not give them the option
  10. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Well, I don't free range my birds normally. That said, my main coop and run is quite large with no cover, and no door between the coop and the run. My breeding pens don't have coops per se, just roosts. So, my birds get the weather whatever it is. They have shelter from wind and rain always (if they decide to use it), but they also have the option to be out.

    I'm in the PNW. If I tried to coop my birds whenever it rained, they'd never see the outdoors.

    Course, I"m the one who is out in the rain myself.....and I always sent my kiddos out to play even if the weather was cold/windy/wet. Just a different mindset than the more common "everyone (animals included) needs to live their entire life at 70 degrees" way of thinking.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2016
    1 person likes this.

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