wintering chickens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jimz1, Sep 28, 2011.

  1. jimz1

    jimz1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 6, 2010
    Coleman, Wi
    Do your chickens go outside in the snow and cold or do you keep them inside?
  2. ChickieBooBoo

    ChickieBooBoo Cold Canadian Chick

    Dec 2, 2009
    Mine love to go outside in the snow, it takes awhile for them to get used to it but once they are comfortable with the new white fluffy stuff they love it! The ducks especially.
  3. tyjaco

    tyjaco Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2010
    Cloverdale, CA
    Don't laugh. I wondered...don't their toes get frostbite?
    I don't ever get snow...I was just curious...
  4. ll

    ll Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:^ That is a good question.

    I was always told to never leave the dog out for over 20 minutes in freezing temperatures because he could get frostbite on his ears and it would hurt the pads of his feet. Now I definitely wonder if there is a maximum time limit for chicken toes?
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2011
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I don't think it's the snow necessarily that gives frostbite but the temperature. They're most prone to frostbitten toes at night if the roosts aren't wide enough to cover them with their feathers.
    It gets below 0 here with snow and constant high humidity. Don't have any toe problems.
    I think they know their time limit and go inside or under coop if their toes start to feel cold.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2011
  6. tyjaco

    tyjaco Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2010
    Cloverdale, CA
    Yup... I bet you're right.

    They can be pretty smart for stupid chickens...

  7. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

    May 8, 2007
    Chickens can lose toes to frostbite, as well as parts of their combs and wattles. As long as they have a draft free coop that's adequately ventilated to take shelter in, they should be fine. We don't heat the coop.

    Most of the winter we leave the pop door open and let the chickens decide whether they want to be inside or outside during the day. As it gets colder, they come back inside when they get too cold, to warm up. Later, they'll go back outside. When it gets really cold, ours choose to stay indoors.

    I like a wide 2x4, wide side up, as a roost. It helps them cover their toes with their feathers while they roost. On really cold days, mine will sometimes go to roost during the day for a little while. Other times they'll just rest on the floor during the day, covering their feet with their feathers. The rest of the time they walk around normally.

    We close the pop door during blizzards or really bad storms. Usually if the high for the day is going to be below zero, too, although we wouldn't have to. We only do it because our particular chickens don't like to be out when it's that cold and it keeps the coop a little cozier.

    Some chickens hate walking in snow and some don't mind it that much. If you get deep snow, you'll need to shovel for the chickens, unless you have a covered run. There's only so much they can do with those short legs.

    If you have young chickens that have never seen snow before, keep an eye on them the first snowfall or two. They can take cover when the snow starts and get stranded somewhere, afraid to come out and walk on the snow. They just haven't learned what it is, yet.
    1 person likes this.

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