When do you let your chickens out each morning?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mrsbos, Sep 17, 2010.

  1. mrsbos

    mrsbos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 11, 2010
    Greenacres, WA
    For those of you who lock your chickens up at night in a small roosting/nesting area. How early do you let them out each morning? I have an Eglu Go that will be housing 3 pullets soon (they are now just 5 wks old). To keep it extra cozy in there during the cold season, I'll be closing the door each night (no access to run). Of course the sun will be coming up later and later, and it will be so cold in the morning, so how soon do I open things up to give them access to the run/food/water each day? And with darkness occurring as early as 4:30pm in the winter, can I expect them to sleep from say 4:30pm until 7:30am the next morning? I'm really dreading winter around here, because I don't know what my chickens will do all day when there is no grass to run around in (all the snow) and no bugs to forage for. We may have snow covered ground for a long time here, I hear chickens don't really care much for snow, and outside their small covered run, there's no other "protected from the elements" place for them to run around.
     
  2. Rooster Cogburn

    Rooster Cogburn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 12, 2010
    S.W. Washington State
    I just let mine out. Dawn to dusk is the general rule I believe. Unless it's really snotty weather, they want to be outside.[​IMG]
     
  3. sotelomary

    sotelomary Chillin' With My Peeps

    I don't know if I can be of much help to you. My winters are very mild and I daily let my chickens out to their large run at 7:15 every morning. I have to let them out this early before my day starts at 7:30am. I lock them back in at dusk regardless of when that is. We have racoons that I have to watch out for.

    As far as your cold snowy winters, there are many people here who have the same or worse conditions as you. Chickens don't seem to mind it too much. You do have to watch for frost bite on their combs though. There are some breeds that are more adaptable to harsher climates but I don't know if this is for much colder places than yours.

    Patandchickens is up in Canada and is very knowledgeable about chickens. Maybe she can chime in and give you better advise.

    Mary
     
  4. Rooster Cogburn

    Rooster Cogburn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 12, 2010
    S.W. Washington State
    Are your pullets outside yet? At five weeks they can start to be out. It would be a good idea to climatize them before the cold weather hits.
     
  5. Woods_Woman

    Woods_Woman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 21, 2009
    Oregon Rain Forest
    I live in Oregon and winters are generally mild, I have a covered run with coop/sleeping area attached. I don't close up the sleeping area so when my girls want to get up or go to bed they can do it at their convenience. I will say that I let them out of the run as weather permits, however I have to do it later in the morning generally after 10 am since I still see the occasional raccoon early in the morning. I also make sure they are in the run before it gets to dark too for the same reasons. Although I live in the city coons here are lurking about and quite the problem.
     
  6. mrsbos

    mrsbos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 11, 2010
    Greenacres, WA
    The pullets play outside almost all day now. Plus they get to free range my 1/2 acre yard while I'm outside for many hours each day. Though their outside house is currently fitted with a 75 watt lightbulb in their sleeping quarters, I've still been bringing them into the brooder at night in my house. As a first time chicken mom, I still like them indoors with me at night--even though I'm 99% sure no predator could break into their outside set-up. I'm in Eastern WA state where right now highs are in the upper 60s and lows in the mid 40s. I'm in a suburban area and my yard is surrounded by 5 & 6 ft wood & vinyl fencing. I have never ever seen a raccoon in my life, but seeing as they are nocturnal, I guess they could be around and I've just never been out and about in the middle of the night to see them.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2010
  7. Rooster Cogburn

    Rooster Cogburn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 12, 2010
    S.W. Washington State
    I didn't think I had any raccoons until a week after I finished my coop. My son saw one on our back fence. Assume they are around. Opossums are a problem in the southwest part of Washington as well. Unless you have one of those Fort Knox kind of runs, make sure they are safe at night.
     
  8. Sjisty

    Sjisty Scribe of Brahmalot

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    May 18, 2009
    Brooksville
    I don't close my coops up at night. They all have secure runs attached. My chickens do free range during the day, so at daylight I will go and open the run doors. They usually put themselves up at night and around dark I will go out and close the run doors. Sometimes there is teenager who misses curfew, and I have to encourage him to get back to his/her coop. This being Florida, we have no snow in the winter, but it does get in the teens to 20s here. The guys usually prefer to be out unless it is raining no matter how cold or hot it is.
     
  9. Ohhhdear

    Ohhhdear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 15, 2010
    West Michigan
    I close up the coop at or just past dusk, when all my girls have gone in to roost for the night. I wait until 8:30 or 9am to let them out again. By then, most have laid their eggs in the nest boxes, the ravenous marauding dusk/dawn feeding critters have gone to their dens for the day, and I'm awake enough to deal with life again.
    My chickens free range within a 1/3 acre woods/meadow backyard. It's fenced but not covered because we have 40' trees surrounding and I've never seen an airborne predator nearby. We have a big dog patrolling during the day.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2010
  10. HarlansHollowFarms

    HarlansHollowFarms bana-bhuidseach anns gára

    Jan 16, 2009
    I open the coop at 5am summer and winter.....on my way to work. In the winter, when the temps are -30, I only open the pop door so if they want out in the run they can go. I keep a heat lamp over the roost in the winter, so they can keep warm if they are cold! Otherwise in the milder times of the year, I open the big doors and the pop doors before daylight, I have only not opened the pop doors like 3 times due to -50F and a wind chill that would kill.
    I think, since you are in Spokane you are probably safe to turn them out all winter long.....just open their pop door on really cold mornings.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2010

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