Raising Hens in Snowy Weather
When the hens look outside to a white pasture, they hesitate in stepping outside. Don't we all! Chickens are warm-blooded creatures that do not tolerate cold and snow very well. That's why we chose to build insulated pens. But we still pasture them daily and they must go outside to get their drinking water from the creek.
For the winter, chicken pens are stationary because of providing electric lighting for them to continue laying throughout the winter months. We put down wood chips close to their pens so that they have a source for bugs and worms. We throw food scraps to them. We put kale into their feed. We cut a cabbage in half and watch them peck at it.
Inside the pens, we dump wood ash and sawdust through the holes of the slat floors to add warmth and to keep the odor down and to keep the lice and mites away. Periodically we spray the walls and nests with oil and dish soap which kills mites and lice.
In the Spring after hours of daylight are increased, we move the pens and scoop up the litter with the tractor loader. Dried manure makes a wonderful pile that composts into lovely soil for the garden. And the chickens picnic on any feed that escaped through the holes of the slat floors.
While it's easier to raise hens in a warmer climate, chickens can thrive in cold, snowy weather with proper management from the farmer.