what do your chickens do in the winter?

Donna73

In the Brooder
10 Years
May 26, 2009
16
0
22
Southern NH
Do they stay inside the coop all day, or do they still go outside? If you free- range, do they range all winter?

Just wondering.

Donna
 

Chickenaddict

Songster
11 Years
May 19, 2008
3,691
65
223
East Bethel MN
Mine refuse to set foot outside in the winter unless its 30 degrees or warmer, and no snow on the ground. I provide a nice comfy covered run with lots of straw and scratch to keep them busy.
 

Imp

All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle
11 Years
Sep 7, 2008
14,453
183
318
The Emerald City
My Coop
My Coop
Quote:
Kinda depends on the chickens. Mine are terrified of snow and won't leave the coop if they see white. Lol! Other than that they free range all year- the only exception is very strong winds. I worry they'll get thrown up against something and hurt so I don't let them out on those extra windy days.

Imp
 

scarter

Songster
11 Years
Aug 22, 2008
342
1
129
Roberts, WI
Depends on how cold and how much snow is on the ground. Mine will go out with snow but it can't be very deep. They stop going out when it's not scratchable. We give them scratch but other than that they just entertain themselves.
 

Donna73

In the Brooder
10 Years
May 26, 2009
16
0
22
Southern NH
Thanks! It's nice to have an idea of what to expect come winter.
smile.png
 

chickenannie

Songster
12 Years
Nov 19, 2007
3,152
42
231
Pennsylvania
You can allow them to go outside as they wish. Mine will go out almost every day including winter, unless I open the door and they have some fear of a big snow for example. It also depends if you have a winter-hardy breed or not. My Buff Orpingtons and RIRs are heavy birds with a ton of feathering and they can withstand colder temps than some breeds.

I also have a barn where they can hang out with the cows during the day, so if it snows a lot (more than 5 inches) I will actually shovel a path from the coop to the barn, and then they will use the path to go back and forth and won't venture much outside the sheltered areas.
 

Donna73

In the Brooder
10 Years
May 26, 2009
16
0
22
Southern NH
I do have winter hardy breeds - Buff Orpingtons, Golden Reds, Barred Rocks, and EE's. I chose them because of the tough winters here. I just wondered if they'd stay inside or venture out. There are days I'd rather stay in bed with a cup of coffee and a good book 'cuz it just looks cold out, ya know?
big_smile.png
 

chickenannie

Songster
12 Years
Nov 19, 2007
3,152
42
231
Pennsylvania
Yeah, I know what you mean. I think the chickens are conflicted between their desire to go out and hunt and peck, and their fear of having cold feet. On snow, my hens will often time-out to squat on their feet to warm them up, or they'll stand on one leg and pull the other leg up under. I've certainly looked at them and thought they must be freezing, but then they go out anyways. Since animals never get to curl up inside by the fire with a hot cup of cocoa, I think they are better adapted to the cold temps.
 
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rainbowgardens

Songster
11 Years
Nov 19, 2008
303
5
131
Central Virginia
My chickens went out all winter until we got snow that stayed for several days on the ground. They looked so pitiful.

One day a few of them braved the slick slope in front of the coop and got up into the branches of our fir tree. They stayed up there all day because they were afraid to go back down the snow covered hill. I was afraid they'd stay up there all night, so before it got dark I got out the ladder, got them out of the tree one-by-one, and carried them back down to their coop.

Such babies!
Of course, we'll do anything for our feathered friends.
 

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