Chickens and Snow

We have had more snow the past couple of days and I have been trying to keep up with the animals. There are some things I have learned about chicken keeping in the snow, so I thought I would share some of them. You may know some (or all) of them, but maybe you will learn something new πŸ™‚

1. Chickens don’t like to walk or beΒ in the snow typically. So we have a large run for them to spend time in when the weather is bad. Our run is 8 ft tall, 8 ft wide, and 16 ft long. We are down to 13 chickens now, but have had upwards of 18 chickens in our run and they all have space.

Chicken coop

2. Chickens will eat the snow if they can get their little heads out to reach the snow with out having to step in it. (Even if they have fresh water inside the coop) πŸ˜‰

Chicken snow

They just gobble it up.

Chickens two snow

3. Chickens are sensitive to the snow so if your chickens do walk in it you will need to watch their feet, wattle, and comb for frostbite. If your chickens do go out in the snow you may want to consider putting petroleum jelly on these areas to help prevent frostbite.

4. If your chickens are in their run all day they will create quite a mess depending on the type of bedding you have in your coop. Sand creates the least amount of dust, but we don’t have access to that much sand so we use wood chips and pineΒ shavings so our coop gets quite dusty. I tell you this as when it is not actually snowing we open the door of the coop to let fresh air in and allow some of the dust to get out. We also try to clean the coop a little between snows to get more of the dust and cob webs out of there. ( We also do a deeper clean in the spring and fall but that’s another post).

chik snow

5. Its important to give your chickens something to do while they are stuck in the coop. We usually give them different types of treats, scratch, and feed blocks to peck at and forage for.

6. We also want to give our girls a place to dust besides in the dusty wood chips and shavings, so we have a kids size swimming pool in the coop and we have a few bags of sand we dumped into it. We try to clean it out every few days as well, but the girls like the sand ‘bath’.

Chicken coop sand

7. Its important to check your water as when its cold the water can freeze (sometimes more then once a day) even with a heated bucket like we have. We tend to pull out the frozen parts as we can and then leave them in the coop as the girls like to peck at it.

Chickens snow

8. Its good to have chicken coop protectors to check things out a couple times a day to make sure no predators get too close πŸ˜‰

Chase protectBaxter coop

22 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. areallysmallfarm
    Feb 18, 2015 @ 19:33:22

    Our problem is the cold weather. Once again we are in for a week or longer stretch of below zero weather. So it is back to frequent checks on the chickens every day. So far so good as there have been no frozen feet or combs. I baked a big pile of red potatoes for them last night so they’d get extra calories and not just the cold corn and sunflower seeds.

    How much snow have you gotten so far?

    Reply

    • Seasonsgirl
      Feb 18, 2015 @ 20:57:34

      We have I think just a total of 6 inches I would like more… I am a snow lover (maybe not as much as Boston has gotten), but I do like to watch it fall and let the dogs play in it πŸ™‚
      I agree the cold weather does cause other issues and the extra calories from cooked potatoes is a good idea. Our girls got raspberries and leftover lasagna tonight πŸ˜‰ The love the fruit πŸ™‚
      How much snow have you all gotten? How many chickens do you have?

      Reply

      • areallysmallfarm
        Feb 18, 2015 @ 22:10:55

        We’ve had very little snow this year (I live in Minnesota). Normally, we get 3 to 4 feet in a winter but (thankfully) not all at once unless you count Oct. 31, 1991. This year there is about 6 inches on the ground and the total for the season is almost a foot. There’s a prediction of more snow this Friday but its a 50% chance.

        I have 9 chickens total. I did have 20 but last summer raccoons killed and ate 11 of them over a 2 week period. I was working a lot so I didn’t notice this at first but in one weekend they killed 6 birds!

        My beagle loves the snow, too and so does my cat. I bring him scoops of snow to play with in the tub. He’s just crazy for it.

      • Seasonsgirl
        Feb 19, 2015 @ 21:04:45

        My mom had an aunt in Minnesota and they used to go to her house every summer and when I was little before the aunt passed away I went up there… I loved her lake house.
        I am glad you had less snow this year. We have had a lot less then normal as well and have more predicted though Saturday.
        9 chickens is a lot I am sorry you lost so many in such a short time. We had 18 but have lost some to illness, and others just disappeared…
        You have a beagle… how cute they are πŸ™‚ I never thought to bring snow inside for the dogs to eat or play with. Good idea πŸ˜‰
        Have a great weekend and stay warm πŸ™‚

      • areallysmallfarm
        Feb 19, 2015 @ 23:27:43

        We’re trying to stay warm. It was 30 below this morning and spring (by the calendar) is only a month away!

        A few of my chickens have leg mites this year so I will have to treat that once/if it gets warmer. Looks like another week of less than normal temperatures.

        Lots of lakes in Minnesota in all shapes and sizes. I live within a few miles of several but my summers are so busy that the only time I get on a lake is if there is a botany project. So I wait for spring when the river here floods and that’s my “lake”.

        You also have a great weekend and stay warm, too.

      • Seasonsgirl
        Feb 20, 2015 @ 20:12:10

        Thank you and stay warm πŸ™‚ I am sure you are looking forward to your spring “Lake”. πŸ™‚

      • areallysmallfarm
        Feb 20, 2015 @ 23:19:54

        Here’s a link to my media files that will show you the “lake”. http://wp.me/a33JNW-gj

        The view is looking to the northeast from the southwest. My house (not visible) is way to the northeast and the lake extends all the way to there. Most years I’m able to canoe from my house to where I took the photo.

        Warmer today but tomorrow night low temps are predicted again.

      • Seasonsgirl
        Feb 21, 2015 @ 19:26:29

        Very nice “lake” does look good enough for a canoe. Stay warm πŸ™‚

      • areallysmallfarm
        Feb 22, 2015 @ 11:37:12

        It is some “lake”. I’m hoping that this spring it will be similar as it is such a long walk through the swamp otherwise.

      • Seasonsgirl
        Feb 22, 2015 @ 19:51:41

        Well I hope that for you as well πŸ™‚

  2. sfarnell
    Feb 19, 2015 @ 03:46:41

    Chickens are the funniest creatures going, totally daft. Mine don’t touch the snow, it seems to confuse them. Nice pics.

    Reply

  3. stuffitellmysister
    Feb 19, 2015 @ 10:19:31

    You are wonderful pet parents! Kudos! β™₯

    Reply

  4. kentucky55
    Feb 19, 2015 @ 14:00:39

    Those chickens are really nice looking, hope you don’t eat them, I could never eat our chickens, just their eggs. πŸ™‚ Very interesting information you shared with us….thanks.

    Reply

    • Seasonsgirl
      Feb 19, 2015 @ 21:10:41

      No they are just egg layers. We don’t have a good space to butcher on our current property. Maybe the next property we get, but I like having egg layers mostly. Glad you found the information interesting and hopefully useful πŸ™‚

      Reply

  5. Anne
    Feb 20, 2015 @ 20:14:08

    The girls and I loved this one! You gave us some great ideas to try πŸ™‚

    Thank you! Hope that you are getting along OK in the cold and snow.

    Sending smiles from NE,
    Anne

    Reply

    • Seasonsgirl
      Feb 20, 2015 @ 20:17:42

      I am glad you enjoyed the post and I hope it is helpful for your chicks πŸ™‚

      We are managing with this snow. They say we are to have 5-7 more inches tomorrow with ice towards the end of it overnight.

      How is the weather there? My grandma said its been COLD and windy.

      Hope you have a great weekend and thanks for the smiles πŸ™‚

      Reply

      • Anne
        Feb 21, 2015 @ 13:02:36

        We are cloudy and a bit cold, but really not too bad relative to our other winter experiences this year…You all have the challenging weather for the weekend.

        Ashley Grace and Matt worked on our coop today to put in a different feeder system. I think that it will be better, but the chickens are still figuring out where the food is πŸ™‚

        We are looking forward to spring!

        Take care,
        Anne

      • Seasonsgirl
        Feb 21, 2015 @ 19:30:30

        We had snow all day (Saturday) going on 12 hours now. I think we have about a foot. I think we are getting more snow then NE this month.

        I hope Ashley Grace’s new chicken feeding system works out well for you. I am rethinking ours as well and thinking PVC pipe πŸ˜‰ The chickens will figure your new one out eventually πŸ™‚

        Stay warm and have a great Sunday Ann πŸ™‚

      • Anne
        Feb 21, 2015 @ 20:45:45

        They used PVC pipe for their’s. Put in two of them with elbows, caps on the tops to weather proof and open end located under cover so that the feed doesn’t get wet. The chickens figured it out this afternoon — even figured out how to spill the feed onto the ground since they prefer to eat it that way πŸ™‚

        Good luck with the snow!

      • Seasonsgirl
        Feb 22, 2015 @ 19:51:18

        I have herd PVC pipe is a good feeder πŸ™‚ I am glad they figured out where the feed was… The snow has stopped, but it’s supposed to re-freeze tonight so that won’t be fun, but we will manage. It got nice and warm today to 40* and we opened the door to the coop and our ladies got fresh air, but they wouldn’t come out… can’t say I blame them πŸ˜‰
        Have a blessed week πŸ™‚

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