Storm Preparation for Chicken Coops

If the weather report is accurate, we’re in for a doozy of a storm tomorrow. There will be sleet and snow accumulation. It’s the sort of heavy, icy precipitation that causes power outages and dangerous roads. Today there’s no hint in the blue skies of what’s to come. I took advantage of the nice (albeit below-freezing) weather to prepare for the storm. I let the animals out to wander and forage while I readied the barns.

animals out


There is frost on the ground, but the hens pay it no mind. A half-foot of snow, though, will be another story. They’ll be inside for at least a day, and I want to make sure that their coops are dry and fully stocked.

chicken feet


Water is more essential than food. We don’t have running water in the barns in the winter (the pipes would burst, and so they’re drained and turned off in November.) But, there is electricity. So, instead of hauling water out daily, I’ve installed a large heated bucket for a water source. It’s so much more convenient to fill the waterers from this than to carry them inside the house. Each barn has a tub, and they’re filled once a week – on our schedule, on a nice day, not in the middle of a storm!

water tub


The hanging feeders needed to be topped off.

hanging feeder


Manure, even frozen, is too full of moisture to leave in a coop, especially if the hens have nowhere else to go and the pop-door will be closed to keep out blowing snow. This is only two days worth, it’s what drops down when the hens sleep, and they usually stay out of it during the day. But it had to go before the storm arrived. I mucked out and refreshed bedding. Unfortunately, the manure that is frozen on the ground outside is stuck hard. That will have to wait for a thaw. But, I was able to sweep the goats’ patio clean. That will make shoveling the snow easier.

Manure under roosts


Dust bathing outside won’t be possible – so I added fresh sand to the inside dust baths.

dust bath


Sunshine is essential to your flock’s well-being. I can’t imagine keeping hens in winter climates in coops that don’t have large windows (all too prevalent in small, prefab coops!) Coops do get dusty, and so I swept off the windows to let the full amount of sun stream in.

clean coop


Not a bad place to weather a storm.


  1. Do the hens ever show any behavior that indicates a change in weather?

    Hope everyone stays warm and safe!

    • Not that I’ve noticed. They’ll stay outside until a storm physically hits. No hunkering down early, and they venture out during lulls. No waiting it out until it is gone.

      • My grandfather use to say if the chickens come out in the rain it will rain all day. If the cows lay down during the rain it will rain all day.

        I’ve never found any truth in it. Some hens don’t mind the rain others are complete princesses and don’t dare get wet. ;-)

    • HI from NH I just came across your animal cam. I loved watching that rabbit hop and race around. I used to have rabbits in my yard as pets years ago. Thanks for sharing I actually got a few laughs and it made my day.

      How many years have you had them? Stay warm we are in for a wicked snow storm too!

  2. A satisfying job, to know you’re ready for whatever is coming. Hope it’s not too horrible for you all.

  3. I am grateful that I don’t have to deal with this! Although we do have the occasional hurricane. I have been wondering about the metal leg bands. once when I was visiting Minnesota, my metal glasses felt really cold on my face. In fact they stuck….is that ever a problem? Or are they plastic?

    • The bands are thin metal, put there by the state vet tech after testing. Don’t bother the hens at all, even in the cold. Chicken legs have tough skin, and few fluids, so the cold doesn’t affect them like it does on exposed skin.

  4. What great planning! The snow is really coming down this morning, Saturday. The animals are lucky to have you for their “Mom”. Stay warm and cozy.

  5. Good luck. “The boys” and Phoebe are certainly well insulated for whatever comes your way.

  6. Holy crap! Guess the weather guys got it right for once. Hope everyone is snuggled in and warm!

  7. We love your Hen cam….my son asks me every day to have a look what your hens are up to :-)
    What a cozy coop you have there – the bird feeder is such a great idea for bread slices – keeps them busy for hours when its stormy outside….Greetings from Australia

  8. Hope this works I have been watching for over two years but have never tried a message. Just wanted to say a very big thankyou to you for your wonderful animals, and to Steve your IT guy/husband for his amazing web cams. If my comment works, I will tell you about my six girls. Meanwhile keep up the stoic works. Lol from Hampshire in England.

  9. I eagerly logged in this morning to see how much snow you have there on your outside cam. WOW, a lot! Good thing you were ready for it :)

  10. Just finished doing the same, cleaned the chicken coop fresh straw, water filled to the max, as is their feeding bucket. Kept the pop door open for the day but the girls rather be inside with the new straw (they are like kids in a candy store after cleaning the coop lol). Happy chickens, happy mom :) They are ready for the bad weather to come. We had just a bit of snow today, so far so good but expecting around 5 inch by tomorrow morning.

    We have all we need in the house, going to ride it out a few days, Hope you will all be warm, cozy and safe :)

  11. Hi Terry, great to see the girls out in the sunshine and snow, hope it does not get to bad for you all. We have been very lucky here in Hampshire uk, had a few nights down to -5c but then sun comes out and it melts away. Wet weather is more of a problem but girls have plenty of places to shelter and dust bath. Watch the cams everyday, love seeing all the animals enjoying themselves you are doing a great job.

  12. Merci chére Terry to prepared for all good thinks to animals-and Merci pour Mr Steve for us the MHP counter /Mega Hecto Pascal/. I remember, when Sandy storme was-the highest degre was 14. I hope will be not now so big storme…

  13. Hi Terry, 9am here in uk just been watching your weather and news for today onwards, sounds like a major snow storm coming your way. please be safe and warm. lol

  14. Hope Steve will do another time lapse shoot of the blizzard like he did a couple years ago. Reports of 4 to 6 inches per hour are expected. Can he do it?

  15. not sure but by the looks of it the snow has not been falling 2 much there Terry, it has been snowing constantly here as of yesterday afternoon.. :( More snow for the rest of the week here but for Wednesday.
    The girls look very content in their clean warm coop :)

    Heading outside to shovel some snow and get some snow out of the pen for my chickens, temps are not 2 bad so they will want to be outside for a bit. (they do NOT like the snow in their pen LOL) They do have a roof over their head in the pen but snow will still blow into the pen.. spoiled girls hahaha