1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Newbie stupid ? Alert about winter

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by vigorle, Nov 22, 2015.

  1. vigorle

    vigorle Out Of The Brooder

    35
    2
    36
    Apr 30, 2015
    So this is going to sound dumb I'm sure. I opened my coop door. It's about a foot tall and a foot wide. In the winter when it's freezing cold...do I just leave it open all day? Letting the air into the coop? They only have access to food and water when it's open.
    Also. Yesterday was our first freezing day and snow...my birds stay in the coop all day. I assume they are coming down to eat since they are still living. Is this normal? Do they just hang out in the coop all day when it's cold??
     
  2. Free Feather

    Free Feather Chillin' With My Peeps

    You can leave the door open, it is good for ventilation. And yes, they will sit in the coop all day during the Winter. They are not as exciting to be around in the Winter as they are in the Summer. Give them a deep litter or something to dig around in inside the coop to give them exercise and keep them occupied to prevent fighting. Later in the Winter, I usually clip their toenails a bit because they tend to get long from inactivity.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    19,544
    2,581
    446
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    It’s not the cold, it’s the snow. I took this photo when the temperature was 4 degrees above zero Fahrenheit. If a cold wind had been blowing they would have been in shelter, but since it was calm they were enjoying the sunshine.
    [​IMG]

    Chickens don’t like change. If they wake up to a strange white world, they usually don’t like it at all. When that happens mine normally stay in the coop for a couple of days, but eventually some will go out in it and forage. It just takes them a while to get used to the change. It often helps to scatter hay, straw, wood chips, wood pallets, something they can walk on without touching the snow.

    This snow came during the day when they were already out. Since it was a gradual change, they never bothered to freak out about it and just went about their business.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Overrun With Chickens

    7,800
    1,365
    391
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    A foot tall, a foot wide, and how long? Depending on where you live an what your winters are like, your chickens very well could choose to spend most of their time in the coop. Personally, if you have more than one chicken, I'd try to build or buy something with more room for them to roam around in, scratch, peck, and do other chickeny things. That's just me. My 7 chickens are spending their winter in an 8x8x7 coop with attached run. They usually don't go out if there's much snow, but they don't get over crowded, which can cause other problems.

    ETA - leaving the door open is a good idea. You need some ventilation in the coop. Cold and dry is much better than warm and damp.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2015
  5. Free Feather

    Free Feather Chillin' With My Peeps

    Where I live in Pennsylvania, the snow gets feet deep. The only chickens that will go out in the that snow if it is not closely shoveled are the ones that are very bullied, and they will fly almost the whole way. Even if it is shoveled they will only go out for a few minutes to walk around a bit and eat some snow, very close to the coop. If you want them to go out, put their feed and water outside, and maybe throw some scratch down. But where I live, you cannot expect them to be out like they would in the Summer, and that is why you make sure they have plenty of room in the coop.
     
  6. Free Feather

    Free Feather Chillin' With My Peeps

    I think the OP means the door is a foot tall and a foot wide.
     
  7. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Overrun With Chickens

    7,800
    1,365
    391
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    After rereading the OP's first post, I think you're right...

    OP, I'm changing my response to, "Yes. Keep the door open. The only time I shut mine is when it's down to double-digits below zero."
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    19,544
    2,581
    446
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I don’t get a lot of snow here and when I do it generally doesn’t last long. A few years back we got 9” that stayed on the ground for about a week. After two days in the coop some of them started going out to check out the compost pile or forage off of weeds and grasses sticking out of that snow. Some never left the coop.

    The coldest my winters normally get is a few degrees below zero Fahrenheit. I always leave the pop door open during the day and let them decide what to do. My coop is 8’x12’ and I usually don’t have a lot of chickens in there so they are not crowded. Sometimes they go out, sometimes they don’t, but I give them that option.
     
  9. owlflights

    owlflights Out Of The Brooder

    72
    6
    33
    Mar 15, 2015
    SE Iowa
    In my experience of chickens and snow, they are just surprised and scared, and need a safer, more familiar place to go. I don't think it's good for them to stay in the coop 24/7. Like Ridgerunner said, I give them a place to scratch around and have fun. I spread straw in the run and throw a little scratch down. If it is very very cold/windy I would cover atleast two sides with plastic to give them a more sheltered area. Yesterday was my flock's first snow as well, and they were out running around by noon. :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2015
  10. vigorle

    vigorle Out Of The Brooder

    35
    2
    36
    Apr 30, 2015

    No no the coop is pretty big. That's the size of the opening when you open the door.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by