What do I do with my run now that it is winter?


In the Brooder
7 Years
Nov 8, 2012
It is definitely winter here and the snow is coming on heavy! We have been worried about our chickens (this is our first winter with them and so we don't have any experience) being in the mud and snow. We have covered about 2/3rds of our run with a tarp to keep out the snow and keep the ground dry. But our run is only 3 feet high and so I am concerned about my hens not getting enough daylight or even being able to see. Once it stops snowing, I can remove the tarp, but the snow could last a week or more. Anyone see any problems with our setup? I can take a picture if I need to.

Also, it is going to get down to 23 degrees at night this week. We have a nice sturdy coop, but it is not insulated, nor completely enclosed (the ramp goes up the middle of the coop so there is always an opening). We have six chickens but I am still worried about them getting too cold. How cold is too cold for a chicken? Thanks in advance for anyone's help!
Chickens need draft-free conditions before they need warmth. Unless you have particularly winter-sensitive breeds, or males with big combs, you will be fine just eliminating drafts and letting them use their 10 BTUs each per hour to keep themselves warm (hey, we pay good money to get down comforters that they have built-in!).

As far as keeping the run dry, good idea. The more they can get "out" the better, and a relatively dry run floor is key to that.

Having said that, I worried about my hens the first Winter as well, so it's normal, at least as far as my behavior is considered normal
I can try that, and have thought of that. but they do like to come out very early. :) Do most runs have an open entryway or are they closed off for winter purposes?
Thank you so much! Now I just have to figure out if I have drafts! Nice to know I am not the only one who has worried about chickens in winter! My other concern is not enough sunlight with the run covered. I know that interferes with egg production, but does it bother the chickens as well?
It shouldn't bother them much. I had my run fully covered one winter and it didn't interfere with the chickens. If your really worried you could always add a lamp for them. :D

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