Protecting Chicks-n-Goats on Winter Nights

by Ivory Soap

What do you do with them in the winter?  Do they come inside?


Here is the great thing about having farm animal pets.  They’re hardy!

The chickens, you need to do nothing.  NOTHING!  They roost in my window sill or up in the bushes and puff themselves out and do just fine.

The goats just need a dry place to get out of the wind.  That’s my ‘barn’ wrapped with a tarp and a kindergarten mat.  I change the bedding more frequently since they spend more time in there.  In the summer, they sleep on the porch.  I almost never need fresh straw.  But during the winter, I throw down a layer of cardboard on top of the old straw and fill that bad boy up with new straw.  When it gets to deep, I just roll the ‘barn’ to it’s next location and start over.

The only cold weather precaution is to make sure they have food and break a hole in the water for them.



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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Jacqueline Acevedo February 24, 2010 at 7:50 am

Cute! Those are the chickest chickens in the world! 😎

Dr. B. in NJ February 24, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Dear Deanna,

Thank you, thank you, T-H-A-N-K Y-O-U for your “Intensive Publisher Research” article in the 2010 Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Handbook. It has opened my eyes and provided me with info that is actually both usable and USEFUL. The fact that it’s also hilarious is the icing on the cake.

Dr. B. in NJ

Megan February 24, 2010 at 3:25 pm

Couldnt do that here because of foxes. =( Chickens have to be properly secure at night. Its awful when you get one that starts wanting to roost in a tree. XD The goat barn is adorable =P Great idea

Dolly February 24, 2010 at 5:18 pm

We’ve been thinking about getting a couple of goats for a while now. The more I learn about how easy they are, the more convinced I become! Now I just gotta convince our neighborhood association …

Handful February 24, 2010 at 8:32 pm

I live on a farm – your barn cracks me up! LMAO!!!!!!

Sara February 24, 2010 at 11:27 pm

That’s so cool! I was so excited to find your site. I am currently “battling” city hall for my right to raise a couple of dwarf goats. Not only for the oppurtunity to be a bit more sustainable, but also because our 1 year old is allergic to all milk, except goat’s milk. We are having to drive about 25 miles each way to pick up milk for him which costs us around $11/gallon, that’s product + gas, or we can buy the yucky tasting pasteurized stuff at our local walmart for $3.40/quart. Right now our ordinance states that you can have a pair of dwarf goats on no less than 1 acre, and we only have 1/4 acre. Going to keep trying. Thanks for the inspiration.


Judy February 25, 2010 at 4:51 am

Do you get snow? How cold does it get? I keep thinking about getting some chickens. I’m in northern Ohio and it can be below freezing for weeks at a time. And the snow! It was knee deep last time I went out back.

Mamma Mayhem February 25, 2010 at 7:52 am

In what area do you live? I’m curious if these “winter hardy” chickens could handle a snowy New England winter? Also, obviously the goat will eat anything; but do you find that the chickens would get into garden plants and destroy them? This is very intriguing!
Love the blog – keep up the great work!

the Bag Lady February 25, 2010 at 8:11 am

You must live where the winter is relatively mild! Around these parts, the chickens need a henhouse for the cold winter nights. And your barn (cute as it is!) would shatter in the -40 temperatures. (Hmmm, I might have to consider moving. Then I could have a cute barn, too!) 🙂

Diane D. February 25, 2010 at 1:39 pm

My chickens have to be secured due to foxes and raccoons at night too (not to mention neighborhood cats). For Judy and Mamma Mayhem, if chickens have a sheltered place out of the wind and moisture they are usually fine down to about 0 F, but below that they may need something a little warmer. For our gals the week that it was below 0 in my area we just added a bit of extra caulking in their house and put in a regular old light bulb on an extension cord. That was enough to keep the temperature up and the light actually got them laying again (first egg on xmas day, actually!). Two of them did get a bit of frostbite on their combs, though, so if it’s that cold for an extended period of time I would suggest a heat lamp or some other source of heat. The other really important thing is keeping it clean so it doesn’t get damp inside their house. is a great resource on this.

But really, you’d be amazed how hardy chickens are and how little maintenance they need!

Lesa February 25, 2010 at 5:37 pm

I live in Northeast Ohio and my chickens also need to be “secured” to keep out the predators and keep them warm and dry. Mine are in a 10′ x 10′ stall in a barn with a light bulb on for 12 hours every day. At night, they all (five of them) pile into an old Eglu that’s inside the stall and it seems to keep them warm enough. We’ve not had any frostbite and they’ve contiued to lay through the winter – though not quite as frequently as spring, summer, and fall. We plan to get dwarf goats soon too!

Colleen January 30, 2012 at 6:31 pm

It is obvious you are not providing enough warmth and protection for your chickens or they would not be up near the window or in the trees. They do need protection for the cold weather and also have the ability to go outside when they want. There are many websites available how to properly treat animals whether they are consisered farm animals or not. All animals need some form of shelter. I have worked for animal protection orginizations for many years and know what I am talking about. Hope you can make proper accomodations for your pets. Good luck to the animals.

Angie November 6, 2012 at 1:57 am

I live in the arrowhead region of Minnesota along Lake Superior and we’ve got to provide chickens with a closed coop and heat lamp when we get cold setting in. We have wolves, coyotes, bear, fishers, martens, mink, weasel, lynx, bobcat, cougars and I’m probably missing some but you see what I mean. Let me not forget hawks too…

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