What do free range chickens do in the winter

So what do you do with free range chickens in the winter?

Good question. Thank you for asking.

Since we live in Minnesota, our free ranging hens do not free range all year. Instead, when the snow begins to fly, we bring them inside.

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They have nesting boxes to lay their eggs in.

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They also have areas to roost.

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This day I brought the hens some left over lettuce scraps. They attacked them. Usually they are fed grains and grit.

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For all the love we give them, they thank us with about nine dozen eggs each day.

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Soon the temperatures will rise and the hens will be able to go outside again. The calendar says Spring starts next week, but here in Minnesota we just never know.

Easter is just around the corner and everyone knows that “older” eggs peel better. Make sure to stop by the farm today and pick up a dozen or so. Click here for our current egg prices.

9 thoughts on “What do free range chickens do in the winter

    1. Zweber Farms Post author

      Good question: We get grit from our local feed store, but it is mainly small rocks and minerals. Chickens need the grit to grind up food in their crop (the area before their stomach) since they don’t have teeth. When they are outside it is easier for them to pick up gravel naturally.

  1. Amy

    My husband and I moved to a farm in September and bought some older chickens to start our own free range flock. What do you do for light for them? As in, how many hours do you have a light on in the house and when do you start/stop using it or do you use it year round?

  2. Patricia Hofmann

    Help! This may be an emergency. I am a new (this year) chicken keeper. Tonight it is supposed to get to -18 degrees and stay in the negatives for about 48 hours. The chickens (10 of them) are in an insulated coop, no heat except for the water and the heat lamp. The ferocious wind is blowing snow into the small openings I thought we had sealed. The roosts are on the wide edge so their feathers can cover their feet, but some of the chickens have exposed skin on there back near the tail feathers (molting and plucking.) I tried to cover the bare places with lined pads with straps but the chickens pulled them off. Do you think they will die? They like to lay their eggs in cardboard boxes, and I put an exptra one in the coop, all with fresh wood shavings on the bottom, in the hope that they will huddle together in the boxes for warmth.
    Thank you.

  3. Mary Bond

    Recently I made little ‘coats’ to cover the hen’s backs to allow feathers to grow where the feathers had been pecked. I think it also helps keep them warm. To make your own little coats, research it online by entering “chicken saddles” or aprons. If you don’t want to sew them, there might be someone online that offers this service…including me. Thank you and happy chicening