Temperature and free ranging

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by tpantali, Oct 12, 2007.

  1. tpantali

    tpantali In the Brooder

    May 16, 2007
    Finger Lakes New York
    We are free ranging our girls and as the temperature is slowly but surely dropping I am beginning to wonder about cold weather and free ranging. Do people ever leave the chikens in the coop due to cold weather? How cold is too cold? Would it better to leave them in the run rather than let them free range in cold weather?

    When I let them out this AM, they stayed real close to the run and coop which they do not generally do so maybe they pay attention to that sort of thing.

    Thanks for ideas you may have!
  2. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    I haven't been through a winter yet with my girls but, having lots of other animal experience this is what I would think is ok. Let them free range with the ability to get back into a shelter whenever they want. They will know if they are too cold (or hot) and find the appropriate place to warm up or cool down.

    It's kinda like these huge thunderstorms we get: some of my girls sit out in the rain and some go inside to stay dry. They have the option and I have to trust their judgement. As long as they can easily get into shelter I wouldn't worry about them.
  3. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    I've never locked mine in. When it's too cold for them, they go inside on their own. After they get warmed up, they go back out. If the high is below zero, they spend a lot of time indoors, but I never lock them in.
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    My birds free range though the snow and poor things end up with pink toes! They spend most of the winter free range time under cars.
  5. pattycake

    pattycake Songster

    May 7, 2007
    fingerlakes, ny
    It's in the forties here today and my chickens are refusing to go out. I think it's the wind more than anything, though. That always spooks them out.
  6. tpantali

    tpantali In the Brooder

    May 16, 2007
    Finger Lakes New York
    This is all very helpful information! Thanks! I need to remember to trust the chickens know how to take care of themselves. [​IMG]
  7. Chellester

    Chellester Songster

    Jun 22, 2007
    Nor Cal
    My dumb chickens are out freeranging in the rain right now. My silkies look like a bunch of wet mops. Talk about a bad hair day! [​IMG]

    They know what they're limits are... just leave the coop door open for them so they can get back in if they get too cold and/or wet.
  8. My poultry have access to free range every day all day and around here it goes to -40. They do what they need to to stay warm. The times they free range the least is in the wet of spring and fall, once the snow is down they are back out where they can get, depending on depth and if there is enough crust to walk up on.
  9. Nichole77

    Nichole77 Songster

    Jul 14, 2007
    I wish it were cooling off here. I guess you could say that technically we are but it is still in the 90's.
  10. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    The only time I have ever locked my chickens in during the winter was during ice or snow storms. They know what their limits are and will wander in and out if left to their own devices during the day. As the days shorten and we get closer to that 5:30pm and it is dark outside period they will put themselves away and be ready to rooster earlier and won't actually spend as much time out in the winter weather. Besides, everybody needs a jaunty little walk on a brisk winter day with the sun shining and the frost (or ice and snow) on the ground. [​IMG]

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: