Going inside when cold/snowing?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by foamspoon, Dec 4, 2007.

  1. foamspoon

    foamspoon Songster

    Apr 17, 2007
    It snowed the other day and was fairly cold. The girls spent the whole day outside. i am curious if they will go inside if they are cold? When it rains they just stay out in it. they do not seem to want to go inside the coop during the day only when they roost at night.

  2. okiechick57

    okiechick57 Songster

    Hi Foamspoon.......first of all , do tell about your name? [​IMG]
    All of my birds are freeranged all day..........when it snows, they play,go inside and out of coop and henhouse all day..... they will be okay in snow..... and will generally protect themselves.but always wise to check on them off and on. I have heard of some freezing their little feet.......
  3. foamspoon

    foamspoon Songster

    Apr 17, 2007
    My last name translates to Foamspoon from German.

  4. okiechick57

    okiechick57 Songster

    OH.......cool........ thanks.....just so curious how people come up with their creative names......I lack creatativitiy bigtime ,hence my name [​IMG]
  5. ella

    ella Songster

    I worried about that too, it gets quite cold in Minnesota and they seem to stay out way too long, but this is my fourth winter and I have yet to deal with any serious problems from the cold. Just make sure:

    1.)They have a clean, dry, warm place to go.

    2.)They're not too crowded. Otherwise the low ranking chickens may be forced outside. A temporary hay bale shelter can really help if there is bullying going on.

    You may get some frostbite on the combs and wattles, it seems inevitable when the temps drop into the teens, but it doesn't cause lasting harm. If they're cold they will come in to warm up. [​IMG]
  6. peepkeeper

    peepkeeper Songster

    Jul 5, 2007
    upstate New York
    My chickens are the opposite. They're complete wimps when it comes to weather. [​IMG] I open the coop door every morning, but if there's snow or rain or even if it's just cold they won't go out and instead hang out in the coop all day. Sissies. And we live in upstate New York. If they're waiting for a warm sunny day they'll be waiting a looooooong time.
  7. kayri

    kayri Songster

    Jul 6, 2007
    Hi Ella, How do you know they have frostbite on their combs? I'm worried about this. It is my first year with chickens and I'm in Rhode Island where temps have barely climbed about freezing for the last week with whipping wind chill. I read (somewhere on this site probably) that they can get frostbitten combs and wattles and it is painful to them. I am all about avoiding pain to my chickens. I put some vaseline on their combs the other day to prevent this, but don't know if it works or not, or how often one should apply it.

  8. ella

    ella Songster

    Hi Kay, Yes, they can get frostbite on their combs and wattles and I hear you about wanting to avoid pain for them, that's awesome that you care like that. [​IMG]

    I was so worried in my first year too. They have electric heaters and I did the vaseline thing which backfired when the windchill got below zero, the combs with the vaseline froze solid and were much more badly damaged than those without. I also tried to keep them inside, which caused coopwide brawls so I finally gave up and let them decide if they needed to be in or out. That's worked so much better for me! I learned that they're smart enough not to freeze.

    Most if not all of them have had frostbite on their combs, I'm guessing it hurt but they don't seem to mind. They certainly prefer being out.

    When they get frostbit once they loose the very tips of their combs and don't seem to get it again. It hasn't caused any of them to stop eating or look ill.

    When they first get frostbite the comb turns bright purple- you'll notice! After a few days it looks more like this:


    The ends will scab up and fall off, but the nerves are already dead so it doesn't hurt.

    You'll just have to wing it and see what works best for you. Just don't worry too much, chickens are much smarter and tougher than they get credit for!
  9. joanc

    joanc Songster

    Apr 26, 2007
    Shafer, MN
    This is my first winter with chickens so I'll be watching for frostbite too. However, my flock (25 pullets, 2 cockerels) has been staying inside the coop since we got snow last weekend. They don't seem too keen to come out in the snow. Maybe I won't get any cases of frostbite. I'll keep my fingers crossed.
    I check on them several times during the day and I can see from the house if they are out of the coop--so far only 1 has gone out on her own and then it's for less than a minute. I know they're eating a heckuva lotta food right now and drinking 2+ gallons of water every day. I give them spinach and other greens to make up for the lack of ranging they're used to.
  10. karen

    karen In the Brooder

    Apr 1, 2007
    My bantams seem to love an outing whether it is sunny,cold, rainy, or snowy! I put down an extra bale of pine shavings in their coop to help keep them warm.

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