Silly Chicken Questions (Winter)

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Chicky Joy, Aug 12, 2008.

  1. Chicky Joy

    Chicky Joy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 22, 2008
    What do chickens do in the winter. Do they stay inside their coop all winter? Do they go out and scratch around in the snow? Do they need a light inside the coop?

    Our coop does not have any windows. Are we going to need to put one or two windows in or install a light? Does the door to the coop need to be shut all the time? Also, our run does not have a solid roof, so snow will cover the ground inside. What should we expect?
  2. keljonma

    keljonma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    You don't say where you are ... so it is hard to answer you. Here in NE Ohio, our flock are out most days during the winter. Let's say we open the doors for them to go out. Most of them go out in in all types of weather, but they don't especially like to be out in severe blizzards and blistery wind chilled days.

    If we just have a bit of snow and they can see green anywhere in the farm yard, they go out. When we have 4 or 5 feet of snow, they frolic in the hen house and huge barn (they are attached).

    If you want eggs during the winter, the ladies will need 14 hours of light.... sunlight or manufactured light.

    The hens need good ventilation year round. Depending on your situation, a window may be a good thing.

    Our flock forages our acreage, but I've read here on BYC that you could cover the run with tarp or plastic sheeting in autumn, so that the flock has some protected area with grass to play in. If you don't have something for them to do in the winter, they could become bored. Bored chickens are known to start pecking each other to break their boredom.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2008
  3. Mrs MIA

    Mrs MIA Chick Magnet

    Mar 3, 2008
    I second the covering in the winter... we set up a "run" of sawhorses with plywood on top so they had covered dry areas to run back and forth between the coop and the covered area of the run. They love it. But ours are out in the snow, and we have to supply a little extra light since our winter nights are so long, but ours keep laying straight through the winter. I throw out a little more scratch for them in the winter, for combating boredom and to help keep them warm. [​IMG]
  4. Chicky Joy

    Chicky Joy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 22, 2008
    Oh, sorry. I live on Beaver Island (Northern Michigan). Pretty cold winters, varying snow fall each year. The island doesn't typcally get as much as the mainland.

    Our coop has some open areas along the front and back of the roof. We used an existing structure and that's the way it was designed. I've been told to have a draft free coop, so we are planning on filling all the gaps and covering all the little open spots here and there. What should we do?

    Wouldn't a tarp have the risk of collapsing under heavy snow. We get a lot of wet heavy snow at times. Seems like that would be a problem.
  5. tomdeggeater

    tomdeggeater Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 20, 2007
    Rocky Hill, CT.
    A tarp over the run? Well, you'd have to make a pitched roof by putting up a ridge board
    with two or more vertical supports on the ends, then drape the windward side where the snow
    mostly blows in from. Some upholstry tacks should hold it from getting blowed off...
    Tom [​IMG]

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by