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How Long Outside?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by annie3001, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. annie3001

    annie3001 My Girls

    Jun 11, 2009
    just wondering because its so darn cold out! my coop run door is open and the chickens are free to come outside as they please.
    however because its already about 30 degrees outside, should i lock up the chickens completley in their coop.?
    i feel they sleep in their well enough as it is? just wondering.
    my run is covered with a large tarp. no snow or rain can get inside. theres one side, thats the door way for the run thats open, light air etc.
    just wondering, my chickens should be smart enough to go back in their coop home if there too cold right?
    i have aclimated them to the cold weather and only plan on using the heat lamp at 0 degrees. they have done well so far.
    this is our first winter with them.
    the coop is insulated as well.
    thanks in advance for the feedback.
    as a note: the chickens do go in at dark and i got outside to lock up the run connected the their coop etc.

    thanks again..
    wooorrried mom:/

  2. houndit

    houndit There is no H or F in Orpington!

    Jul 13, 2008
    Braymer Missouri
    It is nearly zero here with the wind chill. They are free to go outside. They get a little fresh air and then go inside. They will probably be fine.
  3. Uzuri

    Uzuri Songster

    Mar 25, 2009
    They'll be quite happy at 30 [​IMG] Mine went out for a brisk jog at 13.
  4. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Songster

    Sep 4, 2009
    I let mine free range outside, and it was in the low-20s this morning. The ground is frozen, but they want to go out unless it's snowing. Don't know how much they can scratch up but it's good for them to get the exercise in this weather. I feed extra protein & fat now, for the extra fuel they need during this cold winter snap. Also I don't heat the coop, keeping them acclimated to current temperatures.
  5. I agree! Chickens are much hardier than we think. I never heat their coop and in the winter we have many nights in the negatives... have never had a problem with the cold. Let them choose to go in and out as they please for happier birds!
  6. annie3001

    annie3001 My Girls

    Jun 11, 2009
    thanks for all the quick replies!!![​IMG]
    i am gonna go for the gold and leave their run open and let them go in and out as they please. afterall i want them to be happy. just wasnt sure.
    they want to get out and free range too, i open the door, and they get out and start searching but soon after only a few minutes they are running back in their run.
    probably must nicer in their on their feet [​IMG]
    anyways, ill keep doing what i am doing.
    thanks again! [​IMG]
  7. Lupine hens

    Lupine hens In the Brooder

    Oct 1, 2009
    My girls took one look outside the pop door today and turned right around and have stayed in since.We're in the middle of a major snowstorm here in Ottawa and it's also quite windy.It's the very first time they have chosen to stay inside!I've supplied them with a 1/2 cabbage and some eggnog and they're havin a Christmas party![​IMG]

  8. Uzuri

    Uzuri Songster

    Mar 25, 2009
    Quote:Cabbage sounds more like New Years. Give 'em some pork to go with it. But only if they're chickens of German descent [​IMG]
  9. Sequin

    Sequin Songster

    May 20, 2008
    I don't mind freezing temps when I am bundled in a down jacket - I suspect the chickens are the same. If I remember correctly, the way their circulation works helps them keep their feet from freezing and their insulating feathers keep their bodies warm. I would only be really worried if they somehow got wet and then were out in freezing temps. We have been in the teens here and the chickens wander around like normal pretty much. Oh, and I have started getting eggs again. YAY!!! Go figure, the temperature drops and egg production increases! ha ha ha...

    eta: I do feed a higher fat and protein hot mash every other day. I also include organic kelp/seaweed and a sprinkling of a high quality salmon and rice dog food into the mixture. Just enough to add as a supplement, not a main ration. Between 27 birds I don't think anyone is able to over do it with the dog food mixed in.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2009
  10. scooter147

    scooter147 Songster

    Jul 30, 2008
    Chickens do quite fine in the winter, they simple need a shelter out of the direct wind, rain, snow, mud, etc. The coop needs to be well ventilated, usually vent holes at the top of the coop on two sides. This allows the humidity to escape. Chicken poop and the chickens give off quite a bit of moisture and it needs to exit the building or it can cause respitory problems as well as cause frost bite on combs and wattles.
    Chickens will fluff their feathes and trap the warm air their bodies give off to create warm insulation around their skin.
    In 40+ years I can honestly not remember losing a single bird to the cold even the few years I can remember temps at minus 20 for a week or two but I always seem to lose one or two in the heat and humidity of the summer.
    I might add that vasaline added to the wattles and combs of large combed hens and roosters does well to prevent frost bite.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2009

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