Outdoor food in snow

hagoesch

Chirping
Mar 11, 2020
86
93
91
Southeastern WI
Morning! I recently changed my flock to outdoor food and water only, taking everything out of the coop. This morning, however, as snow is briskly falling and accumulating, I am tempted to put the feeder and waterer back in temporarily. We don't have an option to cover any portion of their run at this time, so all the feed I dispersed among their various outdoor dishes are already covered in snow. Five of the hens were out for about four minutes before clambering back inside to the other hen and our rooster. I tried moving a water dish and one of the foods closer to the door at least but no one wants to be in the snow. Do I hope that they venture out as the morning lightens, or do I concede to the fact that I'll have to put their feeder and waterer back in the coop every time it's snowing? I don't want them to starve but I also don't want to force them to get wet and risk illness or injury as a result. Thank you!
 

hagoesch

Chirping
Mar 11, 2020
86
93
91
Southeastern WI
Can you build a small shelter for the food and water? Like a little run in shed but just the right size for the feed and water.

Even 2 wooden saw horses and a piece of plywood can give a dry space for them outside.

I just built a little refuge shelter to give my bullied hen a place to get out of inclement weather when the rest of the flock bars her entrance to the coop. I hoped not to sacrifice that space for the food but will if I have to, hoping they're kinder on wet, snowy days. I do have two plastic sawhorses but no plywood. A tarp would work, I suppose! Thanks.
 

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hagoesch

Chirping
Mar 11, 2020
86
93
91
Southeastern WI
Can you build a small shelter for the food and water? Like a little run in shed but just the right size for the feed and water.

Even 2 wooden saw horses and a piece of plywood can give a dry space for them outside.

I just finished my sawhorse-tarp contraption and put the food and water underneath but still no one wants to be out in the heavy, wet snow. Should I give it a while longer to see if they venture out before giving in to inside options so they don't go without eating or drinking at all? 😬
 

hagoesch

Chirping
Mar 11, 2020
86
93
91
Southeastern WI
Can they go from the coop to the sheltered area without stepping in the snow?
Can you clear them a path to it?

I tried to clear a path but they wouldn't even poke their heads out. Gave in and put the hanging feeder and nipple waterer back in for the time being :( I know they should be outside but I am afraid they're stubborn enough to go without.
 

21hens-incharge

Moderator
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
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Mar 9, 2014
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I tried to clear a path but they wouldn't even poke their heads out. Gave in and put the hanging feeder and nipple waterer back in for the time being :( I know they should be outside but I am afraid they're stubborn enough to go without.

I think for now that is likely best. When the weather breaks maybe clear the snow in some of the run and sprinkle a favorite treat to get them to come out. That way they aren't stepping in the scary snow but get exposed to it around the edges.
 

hagoesch

Chirping
Mar 11, 2020
86
93
91
Southeastern WI
I think for now that is likely best. When the weather breaks maybe clear the snow in some of the run and sprinkle a favorite treat to get them to come out. That way they aren't stepping in the scary snow but get exposed to it around the edges.

I will try that. Silly chickens! I see accounts from so many others whose chickens are perfectly happy going out in snow, and am kind of sad we have such a bunch of scaredy-cat wusses 🙄😆 Thanks again for your help.
 

21hens-incharge

Moderator
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Mar 9, 2014
26,735
111,089
1,722
Northern Colorado
I will try that. Silly chickens! I see accounts from so many others whose chickens are perfectly happy going out in snow, and am kind of sad we have such a bunch of scaredy-cat wusses 🙄😆 Thanks again for your help.

Even my seasoned (read as old) hens dislike snow. After it has snowed several times mine will step in it but not linger in the run.....well until we roofed our giant run.
 

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