I am looking to raise chickens on my 100 acre farm. I live in USDA Zone 4 which gets long, cold winters.

I am wondering how I can keep free-range chickens in those conditions, with minimal intervention on my part - i.e. only checking in on them when picking eggs from their coops and otherwise letting them forage and look after themselves.

What do I need to do to have chickens survive harsh winters in a free range method?

  • 3
    What is minimally keep my chickens alive? Are you talking about food, warmth, diseases ...? How are the coops constructed? What is the weather actually, instead of refering to a theoretical definition? This question has way too little information.
    – user2451
    Jul 28, 2016 at 8:41
  • Somebody needs to feed the coyotes and foxes. Nov 26, 2020 at 1:09

1 Answer 1


There isn't much to do at all. Chickens are just fine in snow and at night pile on top each other for warmth. The primary issue with cold weather and chickens is crop freezing. So pick a cold-hearty breed such as wyandottes, which are known to be very resistant to that problem.

Obviously the chickens will want access to clean, dry nest boxes for laying eggs.

If you want additional protection for the coop, build a wind block. Just make sure the coop always has excellent ventilation.

  • I'm thinking a hedge row of things like Elderberry would work well for this.
    – a coder
    Jul 31, 2016 at 23:21

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