Winter Free Ranging Questions

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Tenneesse, Dec 26, 2010.

  1. Tenneesse

    Tenneesse Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 24, 2010
    Woodbury, Middle Tn
    We have 5 birds Butch the Roo Dutch Bantum and 2 buff Cochin and 2 black Cochin hens. They have an enclosed run with sunning windows across the front. This will be the first winter we have had chickens so we're learning as we go trying to be as cautious as we can. Here in Middle Tn we do get some snow normally a few inches at a time with moderately low temps but it does get near zero on a few occasions during the night. The Coop during the coldest nights is always 5* - 6*F warmer than the run and the run is usually 5* warmer than outdoor temp. They seem to be doing just fine and are laying relatively good, most every day we get 2 eggs. Its easy to tell who is and who isn't laying. and they seem to alternate. The run is dry with creek gravel / dirt bottom and is cleaned daily they have their perches which they like. I don't let them range usually when its raining and is about the only time they don't get to go the entire day outside.

    Well since we have had snow on the ground 1 -2-3" I haven't let them range. I will go out and visit them a few times a day in the run taking them treats and they beg me to let them out.

    How would they deal with scratching in the snow if I were to let them out. Would they frost bite their feet? The snow is usually gone in 2 - 3 days until Jan and Feb when it may remain for longer periods of time. They are accustomed to all day in the yard and Im really feeling guilty keeping them in but I sure don't want them to get injured if letting them enjoy the snow brought it on.

    Should I just not let them out? Needless to say I really spoil them.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2010
  2. Cindiloohoo

    Cindiloohoo Quiet as a Church Mouse

    Dec 19, 2009
    Southwest TN
    Let those little guys out. It won't hurt them. mine have been out all day as it continues to snow out there. They are loving it [​IMG] they may not have much to scratch, but they sure are trying anyway [​IMG] I tossed some sprouts out for them earlier. mine go back up when they are ready and I go close their door.
  3. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    They won't frostbite their feet....mine love being out in the snow as long as it isn't deeper than they are. A few of the fat gals have gotten smart and will climb on the back of my black sheep while she is lying down and snuggle into the wool. Can't blame them on that! [​IMG]

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