Chickens in the Snow

by Daisy on 03/03/2014

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I took advantage of the snow day here to sleep in.

When I finally peered out of the window around 9 o’clock, I noticed there were no chickens pecking around the chicken run. We’ve had snow before, several times in fact, and the chickens didn’t seem to mind terribly so I became a little concerned. They always beat me up, that is, they always rise before I do, so they were very late indeed.

I bundled up and trudged through the very light coating of ice and snow to check on them. Reassured by the restless chicken noises in the coop, I opened the coop door and looked in.

I wish I had taken a picture. All eight hens stood around, on shelves and roosts, and in the thick straw on the floor, seemingly at a loss for what to do. They took turns walking the plank to peer out the window where they exit the coop into the run, halting fearfully on the sill, then walking back.

“Go on,” I urged them. “It won’t hurt you. It’s just snow.”

Surprisingly, my words had no effect. I tossed a handful of chicken pellets out the window which made a pattering noise as they skittered down the chicken ladder. The hens were not tempted. Indeed, they were probably less hungry than usual, having been milling around the coop since sunup with nothing to do but eat from the feeder and look at each other.

I picked up the nearest bird and exited the coop with her under one arm. Maybe once they saw the evil white stuff didn’t kill her, they’d feel better about things. However, I’d forgotten about the glassy coating of ice that was deposited on everything just before the snow began to fall last night. The run door was glued shut, both at the latch and where the bottom of the door meets frozen grass and soil.

I stood chipping at the ice on the latch with one hand, kicking the door with one foot, and hanging onto a chicken with the other arm. What is that talent whereby you have the ability to think a step or two ahead of yourself? I don’t have that. Literally the world’s worst chess player.

But it worked anyway. I finally got the door open and put the test chicken in the run and the others couldn’t wait to follow. If you know any chickens, you know the worst thing to a chicken is to be late to the party.

Except for Brownie, one of our Easter Eggers, holding up the line.

She stood at the top of the window. I could tell it was killing her.

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Maybe it’s better from over here?

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Easy.

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Ready to fly.

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No big deal.

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I still can’t explain why this snow in particular worried them. I guess chickens don’t have long memories and it has been a while since it last snowed. Or should I say, since the last appearance of the evil white stuff.

I join them in hoping it will be a very long time until the next one.



{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Patriz March 3, 2014 at 2:30 pm

Very appropriate article and oh, so funny! My hens do not like snow on their feet…lol. I’ve tried hoisting a couple of them out of the coop, where they only turned right back and bolted for the dryness and warmth of deep straw. Today, the low will be 2*F, so my hens are locked up inside until further notice.

Amy March 4, 2014 at 6:58 am

Great story and pictures. Thanks for a morning chuckle. Their memories are reminiscent of someone else I know.
Being the chicken illiterate that I am, I was wondering how long it will take their eggs to freeze with temps in the teens once Mama has left the nest. In other words I guess I’m wondering how low the temperature has to get before fresh eggs freeze within a reasonable time.

Daisy March 4, 2014 at 7:44 am

Amy–Thank you. Freezing eggs aren’t as big of a problem as you might think. Unless you have an uninsulated exterior nest box (some nest boxes are designed to protrude out of the coop for ease of collection) the interior of a coop provides very good protection from wind and extreme temps. When you collect eggs daily or sometimes more often, you will rarely have that problem. Even eggs in a protruding nest box have some degree of protection.

Wendy March 4, 2014 at 8:54 am

Thanks for the laugh! We live in Georgia, where we’ve had more than our fair share of the evil white stuff. Sometimes the chickens venture out but the mostly go under bushes and such where there’s no snow, but they always get stuck on our stone step right next to said bushes. And then they don’t know how to get back to the coop. We always have to rescue them or they’ll stand on that step all day. Silly birds!!!

Sharon March 5, 2014 at 5:35 am

I am SO over winter this year, it isn’t even funny! I have spoiled chickens…….my husband runs the snow blower in the chicken yard to give them a nice clear space so that they can get out of the house. Other wise they would end up being “house bound” all winter long! We have had a good old fashion winter there in NY and there is no way that my poor flock of bantys would be able to get outside for fresh air if it wasn’t for the trusty snow blower. He also runs us a path to the manure pile by the barn……then complains about the horses messing up his nice neat path! ha ha

alechia April 2, 2014 at 10:13 am

Just wish I had a few chicken in my back yard. I don’t think I can sent I have 5dogs. My next-door neighbor has a hand full of chicken. The first year she got them,my dogs don’t know what they were and I was scared that the chain link fence would hold my dogs back. My dogs bark every time they come near the fence and now they don’t even care when they are out coop. But sent then I have found two dead bird in my back yard. Don’t if the dogs kill these bird or what happened. But I have heard that you can’t have dogs around chicken unless they grow up with them. And the other is that you get snakes around your chicken coop. So this why I haven’t got them yet or even started building the coop/pen.

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