What would chickens do in winter if they didn't have a coop


In the Brooder
Jul 12, 2016
OK this year will be my first winter with my chickens we are almost finished with their coop. Until now they have just been free range they come to the front porch every morning for their bread and feed and whatever snacks I have left over from our dinner the night b3fore but the rest of the day they roam the property.. At night they all get high up in their favorite tree to sleep.. I almost have the coop finished for them to go in this winter . but I was just wondering if they didn't have a coop or they won't go in the new coop what would they do during the winter... If they were wild where would they go to keep warm..where would they sleep. I live in my it get pretty cold in the winter. Would they even survive without a coop.
If they were wild they would be dinner. Domesticated chickens are a long way from their wild ancestors and birds dumped in the wild starve or are eaten. They don't generally last long enough to die of cold. That's why you don't see flocks of wild chickens despite people dumping them.

It's only a matter of time till a predator finds them and in winter with other game more scarce the odds go up they will end up a meal for something. They are far from safe up a tree.
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Actually the wild ancestors of chickens are tropical (and maybe in some cases subtropical) birds. So theres really no precedent for a "wild chicken" surviving an icy winter. And like appps suggests, there is no such thing as a "wild chicken" because chickens are a domesticated farm animal that has evolved in an environment where humans provide shelter (even if its just a rundown shack), food, and protection. So that is their natural habitat--not the "wild."
Although my hens that were running loose on the yard had a well roofed and wind proof hen house to roost in, fully 95% of them preferred to sleep in the trees even though they were subject to being killed by Great Horned Owls. GHOs were and are the most constant predator threat to free range chickens. A GHO may not kill 300 hens in one night like dogs can but killing one or two chickens every night is no great problem for a pair of GHOs.

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