Chickens and snow

cymraes(8)November 28, 2007

How do chickens tolerate snow? I usually let my hens out to free range during the day, but now that we have about 3 inches of snow on the ground, should I still let them out? I opened their coop door this morning, and they did go out, after staring at the snow for awhile.

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Mine always love going out in the snow..They spent the whole winter last year outside every day in it. This year,unfortunately,they must stay inside because we've had fox attacks and lost a few loved ones :(
But as for snow,it didn't stop mine from going out.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2007 at 2:14PM
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johanna_h(Z5 SW MI)

Mine aren't crazy about walking in snow, but they sure appreciate the bright light and fresh air! I say give your hens a chance and let them decide!


    Bookmark   November 28, 2007 at 7:00PM
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Definitely let them out so they can get used to it before you have several feet! Our first snow last year was a very deep one. We opened the door to let the chickens out and they flew all over the place and once landing in a snow bank, they didn't budge. It took us all day to physically pick up and carry 75 chickens back to the coop. Then we used the snow blower to clear a large area for them.

As the winter went on, they got used to the snow and seemed to like it --- no more flying into banks though.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2007 at 8:42AM
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I did let them out and they don't seem very crazy about being out - most just huddled by the garden cart. I left their coop door open though and only a couple went back in. It is supposed to be warmer this weekend, so I'll try again and see if they get used to it. Most of these girls were supposed to be butchered a few months ago, but after they started laying eggs, I felt too guilty to do it! Now my husband has named them, so they are probably here for awhile!

    Bookmark   November 30, 2007 at 11:38AM
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Miss_Kitty(6a KY)

Mine usually stayed in the barn and scratched around in the horse stalls on cold winter days. We got very little snow, so that wasn't an issue.

Check wattles and combs for frostbite. They turn black and I think, can get infected. I recall someone lost a beloved pet rooster who'd been weakened by frostbite and died of a complication.

The hand of the owner is always the best medicine.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2007 at 10:07PM
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We leave our roosters out all the time but keep all the hens in the barn right now. Mostly because I got tired of looking for eggs but also our dogs recently got a taste for chicken. I fixed that though. They never have bothered the roosters. They need to be out keeping the coyotes and badgers under control.

At times in the past we have had the roosters get a little frostbite. It never seemed to bother them much. Only once on a fancy cochin we had did it get hurt. I actually found it one morning hanging upside down froze in a tree. We had a nasty ice storm that night. I brought it in and wrapped it in a towel while I sat next to the stove and it came back to life. It was the weirdest thing I ever saw. It was stiff as a frozen chicken when I brought it in. It lived for years with no ill effects after that. I guess it's all in what they get used to whether you leave them out or not.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2007 at 8:15AM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Most people say their chickens seem unfazed by snow. Really cold temps can cause frostbite though, especially on breeds or roosters with large combs. If you rub some Vaseline on their combs to coat them against frost, it helps.

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 4:21AM
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Not chickens but 2 roman tufted geese (7 months old). This is their first winter, we received about 1 foot of snow overnight and no matter what every morning their door gets opened. We snowplowed a large path for them to walk. They stepped out, tasted. and dove into the unplowed snow. Of course it was so deep they could hardly move. One really didn't like it and went inside but the other flapped it's wings, jumped around looking like a wounded bird. I wasn't sure exactly what it was doing so I picked it up dusted it off and put it in his house. When I walked away out it came running and "jumped" back into the snow. I let it flop around for a while but was afraid of his feet freezing and made it go back in. After it calmed down it came out and loves to hang outside in the snow. The other is a little more conservative. I say it because I still don't know if they are he or she's. If I have he and she I guess I would find out in February when she may have an egg, right? I do know that one is more bossy than the other but they are both very white (turning yellow now because of the cold weather and no bathing water) they are the same size. Well the bossy one is very slightly bigger.
Thought the snow story was cute.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 12:30PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Very cute snow story. :)

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 4:54AM
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Our chickens never liked deep snow. We now house them with the geese and the geese pack the snow down so the chickens don't get buried. Our geese have no problem with snow, and the chickens don't mind it when it isn't over their heads. We use incandescent lights as heaters in our chicken house (and elsewhere for livestock), which I guess are going to get outlawed. No where else can you get disposable heaters for less than a buck. Fluorescent lights simply don't work when it is really cold, so even for light we are going to be stuck. We don't need outdoor lighting in teh warmer months, as it is light most of the time then.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 4:01PM
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My chickens wouldn't come out of their coop until I shoveled their pen, when they saw bare dirt they came flying out! My holding pen is huge so only shoveled a small area for them. We had about a foot here and they where not happy at all. They are going to have to learn how to deal with it, like all of us and just wait till spring!

    Bookmark   December 29, 2010 at 7:46PM
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