chickens won't go out : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Since our snowstorm saturday night, the chickens won't leave their home! Is this normal? i seem to remember chickens from my past not caring what the weather was, but these guys won't venture out into the snow! Should I insist? Their coop is 16x10, which seems a bit small to have 25 chickens and 4 guinea hens hanging around all day in....

-- Sue (, January 21, 2002


I shovel out the pen than I spread sawdust on the ground. This brings them out. Mine don't really like the snow either.They will if I keep the food outside,but only if we get a few inches of snow.I don't expect them to go through 6 inches of snow to get to their food.Shavings will work too. Anything to cover up the white will work. Yes, their coop is to small to be into all day. I have the same problem. The Farm Chesterville,Me

-- Ray (, January 21, 2002.

I have the reverse chickens won't come in at night unless I leave a light on for them! They will lay out in the run all huddled together freezing. I have tried everything, including locking them in the coop for a month. My problem is I don't have electricity to the coop but have thier brooder light out there with a big extention cord and have to plug it in every night then unplug it once they come in. As soon as the light comes on they come in! Go figure! I'll take any other suggestions, too! Best of luck to you too Sue.

-- Karen (, January 21, 2002.

Karen, when our power is out my chickens won't go in either. They are creatures of habit and the light is their security. I leave a small 40 watt light on all the time now and don't have problems with them going in at night.

Sue, mine have never, in my whole 50 plus years of keeping chickens, been willing to wade through snow. I always shovel out a patch and spread a little old hay or something down. Even just shoveling a bit will work if you don't have old hay or straw.

-- diane (, January 21, 2002.

Karen, I raised my chickens by feeding them inside their coop in the evening. The times I have been late on the evening feeding, way after dark, the chickens have been snug in their coop, even though the coop door is wide open. Guess itís habit, these have been raised from day olds and are my first chickens.

-- BC (, January 21, 2002.

It must depend upon whether they are Yankees or Rebs! I have 40 or so, mostly hens, but maybe 5 or 6 roosters. Also 2 Indian Runner ducks. (If you haven't tried these, please do. They lay well, and are so entertaining and fun to watch, with actual "personalities", that I will never be without them again. But I digress!) About 60% of the chickens (White Giants, Brown Leghorns, various Banties, and Americaunas, plus some mongrels) will go in the (plowed) snow to get the scratch. The rest wouldn't go out in the snow if you promised them Despicable Bill admitting he has faults! GL!

-- Brad (, January 21, 2002.

Well Brad, I've always raised Ameracaunas, and this is the first batch that is snow-shy! Maybe it's because they think their mother was a water pump......

-- Sue (, January 21, 2002.

My Americaunas, buff orpingtons, barred rocks and banties will wade through snow up to 4 or 5 inches deep, but that's it! (maybe a "Maine" thing!?) Any deeper and I have to shovel it and put down a layer of old hay (or shavings). Then I sprinkle bird seed or kitchen scraps to encourage the stragglers to come out. They always go inside before dark! you keep your Indian runners in with your chickens?

-- Marcia (, January 21, 2002.

The Barred Rocks I have now are the first chickens to leave the coop and walk in the snow. They look so funny but they are pretty all black and white and red against the snow.

In the past I just put down straw and the chickens would walk out on that. I figure the less "dirt" they drop in the coop the better.

-- LBD (, January 22, 2002.

Irony time...the two pullets I got from Brad (who posted above) will willingly go out in any weather we've had this year so far (although admittedly we haven't gotten anything over 5 inches at once...poor snow crop this year!). My other 4 hens watch those two pullets come and go from the door of the hen house and cluck in amazement! I'm a bit anal-retentive about cleanliness and clean my goat barn weekly, even in the winter. I pick the hay off the top of the shavings and toss it in for the chickens in their outdoor pen. They all go outside for that. I also feed them some cracked corn in the evening to get them down to the feeder after dark. I also light the inside of the henhouse with solar sidewalk lights. The ones I got came with two mounts - one for a wall and one for a sidewalk. I put the lights out on the sidewalk stake mounts in the daytime to charge up then put them in the wall mounts in the hen house at night. They all go in nice as can be and I don't have to worry about extension cords in the snow. Life is good.

-- Sheryl in Me (, January 23, 2002.

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