Letting them out in yucky weather

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by FrontPorchIndiana, Dec 1, 2008.

  1. FrontPorchIndiana

    FrontPorchIndiana Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 8, 2008
    Indiana
    We've been very lucky since getting our birds this spring not to have any days that I felt I needed to keep the birds inside the coop all day. Until yesterday and today that is. Now it's cold and wet and is poring down slushy snow. I started feeling bad about keeping them inside though because it seemed like the low ones on the totem pole maybe weren't being allowed near the food. So this afternoon I let them out thinking they would only be out for about an hour before it would be time to stay in for the night. But within minutes they were all back in. [​IMG] So what do you do? Do you have a rule of thumb when you keep them in or let them decide? It would certainly stay warmer inside the coop with the pop door closed.
     
  2. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    May 8, 2007
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    I usually let them decide where they want to be, unless it's an actual blizzard coming. My husband likes to close the pop hole door if the high for the day will be below zero. We have winter hardy hens.

    You might want to think about adding another feeder and maybe another waterer, for the ones at the bottom of the pecking order. Even a small one, can be helpful. The downtrodden can more easily get food and it tends to cut down on the number of squabbles.
     
  3. Lee

    Lee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Marion County, IN
    My "chicken door", I guess what you call a pop door faces east and into a covered run that has a privacy fence surrounding it, so I let mine come and go as they please.
     
  4. FrontPorchIndiana

    FrontPorchIndiana Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 8, 2008
    Indiana
    Yeah, I don't have a covered run. Now I'm wishing I did. Their coop is 10'x10' so it's not like they're crammed in or anything but they're used to having a 16' x 26' run as well. I figure I'll leave it open any day it's not raining and will be over 32 degrees or even cooler if the sun is out. My fear is that they'll get out there, get soaking wet and then freeze to death. They've stood out in the middle of hail storms before so I'm not so sure their instincts are all that. I have childhood memories of digging up turkeys who'd frozen themselves to the ground during ice storms.

    I put out several feed dishes. Overkill I'm sure but I couldn't stand the thought of anyone going hungry. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2008
  5. 4 Love of Baby Chickens

    4 Love of Baby Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Get a big tarp and cover your run with it. That's what I did and my chickens can go out and scratch and do whatever their chicken hearts desire even in the nastiest of weather. Or in your case try to get 5 or 6 big tarps and cover the run.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2008
  6. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    I have what I see described as a "sun porch." The coop is evenly divided between a fully insulated room and this porch. The porch has a board floor covered with pine shavings and there's a roof. This is a small coop, total 7' by 7.5'. So, each side is 3.5' wide.

    During the good weather of Summer (where has that gone?), the birds spent their days and then roosted on the porch, overnight. They have joined the Professional Porch Sitters Union and so they are perfectly safe out there.

    Now, if the weather is nice enuf and there's someone to watch them, they are out on the lawn. But otherwise, they can get all the fresh air they want hanging out on the porch.

    Steve
     
  7. estpr13

    estpr13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lexington, Ky
    I have found out that what might be inclement weather for you or me isn't necessarily so for chickens. I always give mine the option unless it is really bad or soon to be. (I don't want to run down chickens in really bad weather.) [​IMG]
     
  8. rdranch

    rdranch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Out here in eastern Colorado they get to go out when they want to. If there is a layer of snow covering the ground they tend to stay in. But they will be out in the rain(unless it's pouring), they seem to know their limits.

    Over the weedend I installed a wind break on the outside of the pop door. The door opening faces east, now it faces south. It helps keep the cold north wind from blasting into the coop. I thought they would freak out when I put it up(AHH IT'S SOMETHING NEW!!!) but they took to it right away.[​IMG]
     
  9. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

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    South Puget Sound
    My standards don't mind the rain but my banty cochin HATES it. She's a little wet mop when it rains, so she stays around the edges of the yard and under bushes where it's a bit drier.
     
  10. I do not know how to keep them in. I open the barn door and the rush is on. Some do stay inside, but a lot go out. I do not think they really know what is good for them, but I can not stop them from doing what they do. There are days I would like to tell them to put thier little coats on before they leave the barn.... kids.
     

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