Keeping chickens dry

runningtrailsMarch 8, 2009

My chickens and rooster don't have enough sense to come in out of the rain! It's far too cold here at night and on intermittent days for them to be wet. It was pouring rain yesterday and a few of them with the rooster were standing out in it. Half of them were soaking wet at bedtime so I turned on the heat lamp for them. It's just above freezing and raining a lot right now. Dipping into below freezing temps at night. Is this normal for chickens?

I had hoped that I could trust them to come into the coop in the rain so I could just open their coop pen door in the morning before work and leave it open all day, now that spring is almost here.

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Goodness I can't stand micromanaging animals that don't have a lick of sense. We supply the basics & take it from there.

Sorry, rant over!

Cold & wet = sick as you know. Maybe they aren't wet down to the skin? If they were mine I'd lock them up & let them out when conditions were favorable. We're not big on chickens though so take my advise with a grain of salt.

I've stated many times they either make it or they don't on our farm. Either they are hardy or they are not, sooner or later the flock will become hardy. Then again we don't rely on them heavily like others may.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 9:19AM
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Mine go out in the rain and never get sick?? They rarely get soaked to the skin anyway.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 12:13PM
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My neighbor who grew up with chickens told me they have an oil gland right above their tails. Before it rains, if you watch them, you'll see them taking the oil from there with their beaks and spreading them on their feathers. It's supposed to help waterproof them.

That said, I've seen mine looking pretty wet when it rains but they never get sick. The only time I'd worry is if a sudden huge temperature change is predicted. If it's already cold when it starts raining they should know best. I've picked mine up when they were wet and it was freezing out and they feel like little hot-water bottles. I guess we need to remember they are wearing down coats.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 6:32PM
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OK, so they're fine. It's not really spring here permanently yet and is just barely above freezing. I guess they do know best. I worry a lot about everyone.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 6:54PM
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I read "soaking wet" as probably being wet down to the skin? If they are wet & cold below freezing, just like any animal they are suseptible to getting sick. Wet alone or cold alone isn't a problem, it's the combination that can become a problem.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 6:55PM
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whaaat you let your chickens get wet???

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 5:57PM
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lindag(7 Ar)

My mother always said if it's going to rain all days the chickens will stay out in the rain if it's a quick shower they will run for cover.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 11:38PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

So long as they have adult feathers and aren't molting they should have enough oil to handle a little water.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 4:16AM
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I'm relieved to hear all of this. They seem fine now so it didn't hurt them. They did not run for cover, some did.

lol@Msjayu2! Next time I'll tell them to use their unbrellas.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 5:01AM
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