Posted on Dec 15, 2023 at 2:02 pm by James T
Winter is a season when many chicken owners have questions about how to properly take care of their poultry.
One major concern is: Can chickens go in the snow? Here are 5 important things to know about chickens and low temperatures.
Table of Contents
1/ Adapt chicken behavior according to weather conditions
In the summer, chickens are always outside and only come in to lay their eggs and sleep in their coop. However, this routine changes in winter when temperatures drop and it starts to snow. Although chickens can tolerate the cold, you can let them out when it snows, but only if you don’t force them and don’t leave them outside for long periods of time.
- Most of them probably won’t be thrilled about the snow and will only want to go out to snack on some treats or join their dust bath. However, to ensure the well-being of your poultry during winter, it is essential to follow practical advice to help them cope with this season in the best possible conditions.
2/ Consider the threshold for low temperatures
Chickens can tolerate temperatures down to -20 degrees Celsius relatively well, but that doesn’t mean they should stay outside for hours, especially if the temperature is below 0 degrees Celsius. Laying hens, in particular, tolerate these very low temperatures less well.
3/ Take into account signs of cold-related stress
Chickens, like most birds, are able to maintain a constant body temperature as long as the outside temperature is between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius. When it gets colder, here are some symptoms to watch for:
- They try to huddle together to keep warm.
- They hold one of their legs up or close to their chest.
- Their feathers are puffed up.
Low temperatures cause stress in your chickens because they spend a lot of energy trying to warm up.
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4/ Ensure the safety of your chickens in the snow
Chickens can go in the snow for short periods, but there are certain dangers when these periods become too long.
- Provide them with a protected area where they can go out sheltered from the snow and be protected from the wind.
- Wipe their combs and feet with a towel once they are inside the coop and warm to prevent frostbite and other cold-related problems.
5/ Adjust the environment and feeding
Depending on the temperatures, you will need to make necessary adjustments for the well-being of your chickens:
- If temperatures drop significantly, consider installing heat lamps and properly insulating their housing.
- Think about adjusting your flock’s food: offer them natural supplements that stimulate circulation, such as garlic. This will also help strengthen their immune system.
In summary, while it may be possible for your chickens to go in the snow, it is essential to consider these tips to ensure their health and safety throughout the winter.