Winter Foraging

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by BillM2, Nov 7, 2013.

  1. BillM2

    BillM2 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 16, 2010
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    My six hens get 2 - 3 hours a day to range and forage our yard which is about 1/3 acre of lawn and woods. They've done a great job of eating ticks which is a primary reason I got them. They love the grass and other bugs they find. My question: with snow coming, what are they going to do? Will they roam around aimlessly looking for things to eat? What happens when there's two feet of snow on the ground? Are they basically coop bound?
     
  2. boskelli1571

    boskelli1571 Overrun With Chickens

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    Finger Lakes, NY
    Mine usually stay in the barn over most of the winter, they don't like going out in deep snow. Sometimes I will snow shovel an area for them to pick at. I feed them the usual pellets and throw some scratch on the ground to provide more calories for them. Sue
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Northwest Arkansas
    Interesting question. Normally mine don’t like snow when they wake up to it. Chickens just don’t like change. But usually after a day or two, one gets brave and tries it. Some, but not necessarily all, soon follow. This snow fell while they were roaming around and they never bothered to go inside.
    [​IMG]

    I don’t get snow as deep as you. The deepest I’ve seen it since I moved here was 9”. I had some chickens wade through that to check out the compost pile and check out other places, but they mostly stayed out of that one. With shallower snows where grass and weeds are sticking up out above the snow, they still go out and forage.

    What I’d expect to happen based on what mine have done in shallower snow is that once they get used to it, they’ll probably go looking for forage. If they find forage, they will probably continue to go out some. If they don’t, they’ll probably be coop bound. Some will likely never get brave enough to try it.
     
  4. Kazfam

    Kazfam Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 15, 2013
    Try foraging for them if they have difficulty finding food.
    We have been doing that - not because of snow (we don't get any snow) - but because they wander too far.
    They have a good size run and actually fond quite a few critters in the run BUT we give them lots and lots of plats that have gone to seed and any weeds we dig up that have dirt balls (critters are in the dirt balls). VERY happy and healthy ladies.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Kazfam

    Kazfam Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 15, 2013
    Sorry for the typos in my previous post...I usually proof read.

    My son also gives them grass clippings after mowing...they find bugs and other goodies in those as well.

    Corrected spelling for clarity:
    They have a good size run and actually find quite a few critters in the run BUT we give them lots and lots of plants that have gone to seed and any weeds we dig up that have dirt balls (critters are in the dirt balls). VERY happy and healthy ladies.
     

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