Our chickens won't leave the coop since it snowed

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Earthwise, Dec 12, 2016.

  1. Earthwise

    Earthwise Just Hatched

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    Apr 21, 2016
    mid-Michigan
    This is our first winter with chickens and they refuse to leave their coop and go into the run where the water and food is. It's been 2 days since the snowstorm that left about 8 inches on the ground. After about half a day, the kids took them out to play in the snow for a while and i brought them a bowl of warm water, which they drank all of immediately. They also ate a lot of food that was given to them like they were starving.
    Today I had my daughter shovel out their run, but they still aren't having it. I brought them water several times today in their coop, but I know thats supposed to not be a good idea because of the humidity, but I know they also need to use water for regulating their temperature.
    Is this a common problem? Do we just need to keep putting the chickens in their run? Or will they figure it out if we leave them be? They just seem so confused, lol.
    We might invest in a tarp for over their run to keep future snow out- it is a pergola style top with hardware cloth on it.
     
  2. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Just sprinkle down some bedding type material on the run/snow....wood shavings, leaves, straw or hay...so that they have some dry and/or good footing underneath. They'll eventually venture out and find the food and water. It's just all strange to them and they'll have to get used to it. You can sprinkle a little food by the doorway or if they have something they climb to get in and out you can sprinkle food there to lure them out into the big bad world.

    You can tarp over the run where most of the wind and snow come in to provide some weather blocking for them.

    Do you heat the coop? If so, that could be part of the problem...going from warm into cold is always pretty much of a shock.
     
  3. Earthwise

    Earthwise Just Hatched

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    Apr 21, 2016
    mid-Michigan
    Thanks- no we don't heat the coop. Thought about it with the -1 we are due to get Thursday night, but everything I've seen highly recommends against that. Its such a quick drop from the 20s we've had so far, so that has worried me a bit.
    We'll put some bedding down on top of the snow like you said and see if that makes it better for them.
     
  4. PingoBags

    PingoBags Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 27, 2016
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    I have the same issue myself. The solutions I've read on this forum is what Beekissed mentions.
    A lot of people mention putting bedding down after shoveling some of the snow away.

    I anticipated this though, I built a small sheltered run in the fall so they could have some room to move around on days like this.
    We had our first bigish snow fall today and not once did they go outside to the unsheltered run.
    I would have stayed in too, it was kindof shi*ty out.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. chickens really

    chickens really Chicken Obsessed

    Vapour Barrier Plastic on the sides and a tarp is what I have on the run.......My Birds go out everyday......

    I also free range.....They walk out into the snow....I shovel for them....It is the wind they do not like......I water and feed all year in my Coop......Do what works for your Birds and they will succeed.....All they need is venting and the water will not be an issue....They put out more moisture by breathing and pooping that the water container gives off.....



    Cheers!
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Mine free range too and they go out in the snow as well.....I have it set up so that the dogs break trail around the coop from the pop door area/dog house area to their heated water bucket, so the chickens just follow the dog tracks to wherever they would like to go. I don't have a run, just the great outdoors, so they go out if they want or stay in if they want, depending on the weather....if too blue cold they will opt to stay in or if too cold and windy they opt to stay in.
     
  7. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    I'd leave them be, you can't really MAKE them get in the snow if they don't want to (well, you could, but you'd have some extremely unhappy chickens).

    I had 1" of snow one night last week. That was enough to keep them all indoors the entire day. [​IMG]
     
  8. Koitoy

    Koitoy Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 28, 2014
    We just got 10 inches of snow this past weekend. 12/12/16. I won't let my chickens out. I can't get out to clear the snow for them. I had hip replacement about a month ago. My little Silkies are not made to walk thru snow that deep. But they have their whole little barn to wander around in. Their food and water is in the barn. My neighbor said she will come over and put down fresh bedding for them. I use shavings and then straw on top of that. How can you tell if your chicken are ok in the cold?
     
  9. Koitoy

    Koitoy Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 28, 2014
    Wow, you got alot of snow too. We got 10 inches here in southern Mn. Super cold temps too. I hope my Silkies will be ok.
     
  10. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict


    You let them choose to go out or not. Mine will go out when they feel like it, even if the snow is so deep they have to plow it along when they walk. Other times they choose to stay in, their choice.

    You can tell if your chickens are okay in the cold if they are moving around in the coop, acting naturally. Occasionally they will fluff up and stand still or even lift one foot if they are too cold and that's natural too, but if they are doing that all day long then you might want to look towards getting breeds that are more cold hardy next time and exploring how you've got them situated for winter time living....dry footing underneath, places to rest out of the wind and weather, plenty of good food and water.

    Here's a few pics of my chickens last winter....

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    And in years past.....below...

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.

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