Chickens Versus Snowpocalypse

Hi, Tom here… Lyanda’s away on a writing retreat so I am hijacking her blog for a few days.

freaked chickenIn Seattle it’s a snow day–we are having our annual “snowpocalypse,” when a few inches of snow completely shuts down the city and sends cars skidding into the curbs and children flocking into the unfamiliar white stuff.

The snow is not just unfamiliar to our children; this afternoon I went to check on the chickens and found them completely flummoxed by it. They had managed to make it out the coop door onto a branch in the run, but were totally unwilling to put their feet down into the scary cold white stuff. It was two PM, and the entire coop was covered with a virgin, untouched layer of snow, more than six hours after dawn.

Ethel was brave enough to fly over to a box, where I found her pacing back and forth, unsure what to do next.

Watching for a while I saw their technique for getting across the coop without having to put a foot into the snow. Crafty!

Even after I pushed the snow aside, they remained completely unwilling to come off their perch. Bird brains!

4 PM update: they are still on the branch. How do your chickens handle the snow?



  1. Pam Dane

    My chickens haven’t see snow yet, but they were a bit put off today by the wind and hard rain. I just went to put them to bed and they had already gone in early. We have 4 chickens–Emma, Hilda, Chick, and Sally all living in Eugene.

  2. sheldon

    Talk about wimpy chickens!! Mine dont like deep snow but they were out today in only a couple of inches and a high temp of 18. I have about 35 and too many roosters so always lots of fun.
    We are in NY state south of Rochester and friends of Dave who attended your workshop this fall

  3. Kelly

    Mine get “hot cereal” (warm water poured over their food) and they stay in their coop all day. When it gets really cold (20s) we put them in a dog kennel in the basement. They never want to leave.

  4. Very funny! I’ve raised chickens 30+ yrs., never seen one walk in snow……chickens and snow do not get along! The most daring I’ve seen them is to get under their house, otherwise it’s a day indoors…or sometimes a week, we get a bit more snow then Seattle. We pamper them with inside water dishes, defrosted every morn.

  5. Scott & I have hens that also dislike snow. They have a covered run, but when we open the gate those chickens just stop at the “snow border” and stare at it, give up, and go back in the coop.

  6. Mary Jo

    Our crazy chickens like adverse weather. They have a cozy, warm (heated), dry coop and choose the abandoned, leaky dog house instead– unless, of course, it’s rainy or snowy, when they like to hang out outside until they look bedraggled and cold, but happy.

  7. Courtney

    We live in Spokane, just on the other side of the mountains from you! We have 11 chickens (McNugget, Attila the Hen, Squeaker, Rose, Itchy, Scratchy, Foghorn, Leghorn, Melvin, Funky, and Snooki) and they love the snow! We have gotten a few inches every once in awhile since about November and they love going out in it! However, we have about 6 inches and they refuse to walk out of the run. Such peculiar creatures! 🙂

  8. How funny! My chickens are totally stoked about snow – they love to peck at it and scratch around. We haven’t had any deep snow yet, so I’m not sure how they will respond. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Humm, we used the plans on this site for our house (we call it the Easter Basket) and maybe for the run too. Since we live in Everett (north of Seattle) we put panels over the yard to keep them out of the rain. A’la Joel Salatine, we put a straw “diaper” that we refresh (as in the video) on the ground since they do not get tractor time in winter. Short day chicken life goes on with apparently happy hens. When the snow started I saw them all up on a perch watching it come down but there is very little snow in their yard so they do their chicken thing all day long (or is that all day short this time of year?)

  10. Our ladies faired pretty well in the snow. During the early snowfall, the free ranged and would peck at the snowflakes as they fell (so cute!). The run is covered by a roof and there was no snow accumulation in the run so they were okay. They were pecking furiously at the coop door to get out into the back yard, but when we opened the door, they tip toed out for about 45 seconds before deciding it better to stay in the run. Then, 5 minutes later, they were back at the coop door, pecking and wanting to get out. Went on like that for 3 days! Believe it or not, all 5 birds kept laying, and have continued to lay, all winter despite the cold. This is our 1st winter with the chicks, and we love ’em. love your blog too!

  11. Those poor chickens looked like they had no idea what to do! Not so much the case with our birds here in Utah, although it’s been a dry winter. Thanks for the article. I’d love to write a guest post sometime. Send me an email if you might be interested.

  12. We live just north of Seattle on beautiful Camano Island… back in Jan we got a LOAD of snow… ugh. Our 3 “laying ladies” are now approaching a year old and did very well in it ! We scooped out the majority of stuff… we have 2 Barred Rocks, 1 Buff Orf, 1 Brahma and 2 Americaunas… all did very well, and managed to even forage in the snow! Good hearty breeds 🙂

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