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They're not going to stand in the snow til their legs freeze off??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by There A Chick, Nov 30, 2008.

  1. There A Chick

    There A Chick In the Brooder

    Jun 7, 2008
    Creedmoor, NC
    Dumb newbie question. Today was the first day with snow. We got about 2 inches so far last night, with predicted 2-5 inches total. Its the nice slow falling kind of snow like the way you probably imagine winter to be if you've had no experience with it. Virtually no wind and warm so the snow is wet and packy. But I digress.

    So, the chickens were ~totally~ wigged out by all this white stuff. I actually took them out of the coop, 1-by-1 and placed them on a hay bale that I have in their run for a wind block. (Silly me put the chicken door facing north). I have 13 chickens, so after the hay bale was filled up with chickens, probably about 8, I put the remaining chickens on the ground in front of the hay bale. They all pretty much stood there for a long while looking around and doing nothing. Then 4 of the smart adventurous ones took off walking across the snow towards my horse barn, which they have access to.

    It was funny to watch because the chickens were lifting their feet high in the air, similar to the first time you put leg wraps or shipping boots on a horse.

    But now the remaining chickens just stood there, in the snow by this time, not moving. Just standing there looking around.[​IMG]

    So, I went back to those chickens and picked them all up 2-by-2 and carried them to about 20 feet away to my second barn, which they also have access to. I put them down on the floor which is concrete, then I went and got some of their food and threw some of that down to try and get them to be not so wigged out.

    So, my question is: They're not going to stand out in the snow til their legs get too cold and freeze off, are they? Do I need to take precautions of some sort? I mean, its going to be a looooong winter if they have to stay in the coop the whole time.

    Sorry to ramble on, thanks for any advice.
  2. arlee453

    arlee453 Songster

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    Yep. They'll just stand in the snow, or rain, or sleet, etc.

    I have some that sleep outside everynight. In the pouring rain. I've tried making them go into the coop - locking them up for several nights, etc but the next night I don't force them in, they sleep outside again.

    It's pouring rain right now - and about 40 degrees. Where are all my chickens? Standing out in it.

    I just have to have faith that they at least have enough survival instinct to get under shelter if they are truly in danger...
  3. There A Chick

    There A Chick In the Brooder

    Jun 7, 2008
    Creedmoor, NC
    Oh dear! Well that's not good to hear. What can I do if they don't have the good sense to not stand in the snow til their feet freeze off?? They have access to both of my barns so when they free range they can get shelter from the elements that way but I can't be out there every second to prevent them from standing in the snow. Hmmm.
  4. Montana-Hens

    Montana-Hens Songster

    Feb 20, 2008
    Buxton, Montana
    I think they will get the hang of it.

    The first snow of the year I always have to sweep the gang plank b/c they don't seem to get it. I also have sprinkled a little straw or shavings on the first couple of snows, I say to give them something to see/dimension. (This may be a people thing and has nothing to do with them.)

    We had our first shoveling snow Labor Day weekend. Now they rush outside, drink a little, scratch a little and then often rush to the large 3 sided shed out of the wind. But I will see them make the rounds on most days around the yard...snow....wind....whatever kind of weather.

    They head back to the coop to lay their eggs even though the 3 sided shed has two very nice nest boxes they like and use in the summer.

    Good luck and I think it will work out, some times they need a little help to "get it" with their bird brains.
  5. There A Chick

    There A Chick In the Brooder

    Jun 7, 2008
    Creedmoor, NC
    ok, well that's good news to hear. I'm sure you must get lots of snow in Montana. The chickens do seem a little slow with new things at first. I'll go out and check on them soon. Thanks.
  6. zatsdeb

    zatsdeb Songster

    Oct 2, 2007
    Lincoln, Illinois
    we just got our first snow on the ground here in central illinois today too! our chickens are scratching around having a ball. They have lots of things to get under, I put their scratch under the truck this morning.
    my chickens have always gone out in the snow, and the ducks sleep in the snow, they are white and sometimes are hard to see when they get covered with snow! they all have access to several barns so they go inside when they feel like it!!
  7. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Songster

    Nov 8, 2008
    Portage County, Ohio
    LOL, well, I think you have the right idea and that they’ll get even more used to it pretty quick. They won't really let their legs freeze off, but it sounds like you have friendly girls who are very used to you, so you can get them to safetyand now that they have touched it, they’ll explore a little more… course, was it me, I think I’d scatter some feed near their coop door too where they see you doing it to get them to scratch around in the snow, to help them figure it out, and some good ideas about tossing some straw out there too! I’m between flocks now, but my old flock used to just wander the yard rain or snow or shine, and head in when they were convinced the food situation didn’t warrant any more time out in the funny white stuff. I think you’re doing really well!

    Oh, and btw, since my coop had a door facing the wrong way too, due to it having been an old storage shed at one time, I suggest you consider doing something like planting a post and putting a chunk of plywood across to that from a corner of the coop, like a public restroom shelter might have for privacy, only it would block wind and snow from the girls’ door! (course, if the bale or bales of hay work that’s fine too, but I had slews of mice in such a set up once too, nice warm tunnels for em! It was like a mouse fountain when I moved em! *shudders at the memory* and I’m not frightened by mice, it was just too many)
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2008
  8. Portia

    Portia Songster

    Feb 29, 2008
    South Central PA
    We had sleet this morning, but that didn't stop the chickens! They were roaming far and wide and having a ball scratching in the grass and leaves. They don't seem to blink in the rain or sleet and they are getting used to the snow; I think it still freaks them out a little. Mine rarely just stand there, they are always moving unless they are preening, dusting or roosting.
  9. There A Chick

    There A Chick In the Brooder

    Jun 7, 2008
    Creedmoor, NC
    Quote:Yes, this was definitely a "hindsight-is-20/20" deal!! LOL!! Don't ask me what I was thinking there.[​IMG]

    I've got a good visual off that one. But I've got 4 barn cats, 2 of which are excellent mousers and I'm thinkin' Country Buffet for them.[​IMG]
  10. pbjmaker

    pbjmaker Crowing

    May 9, 2008
    Central Iowa
    Mine keep coming out the coop door and then just stopping. I'm in southcentral Iowa so this is their first real snow also. So far one tried to fly out the snow but when she landed she just wouldn't move. I had to pick her up and carry her back to the coop. This is a chicken I normally can't catch - she just wasn't gonna budge in the white stuff that was hiding her grass!

    A few got brave enough to run out the coop door then go under the coop. I heard my rooster crowing from under there - it was funny.

    I might try sprinkling some cracked corn or something out there for them.

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