Area is Tex./ Okla. border so winters can get a little cold here but for the most part are
generally mild. We have been getting abnormal amounts of rain lately. Just received 5" plus a few days ago.
My chickens absolutely throw a fit if not let out of their coop around sunrise. With the coop
left open during the day so they can go back in anytime they want, when it rains they all will wonder around in the yard even with a driving rain coming down on them. Sometimes they will get under several different large porch areas that have awnings over them during rain showers but 90% of the time they will just free range in the rain and bad weather. They get
absolutely soaking wet and drenched and will not seek shelter to stay dry and out of the rain.
Their coop stays nice and dry, plenty of deep straw on the floor, insulated walls but plenty of ventilation. I haved started putting a 100 watt light on a timer for two hours each night they return to the coop. This seems to have returned their egg production to near normal since the daylight has grown short. I changed the bulb to a heat lamp on the days they return soaking wet in the evenings to their coop and this runs in place of the regular 100 watt white light for two hours also. It doesn't change the temperature in the coop but maybe 2 degrees. Good or bad? Regardless, they are always dry when they get let out of the coop a sunrise each morning.
All of them are very healthy and happy and seem no less worse after being soaked all day
when it rains. I've tried to leave them in the coop when it is raining in the morning but they
raise cain when not let out at sunrise. So, I give in and let them out. Also many days it isn't
Raining when they go out but when it starts To rain they will not take shelter back in the coop or any of the other areas available for them to stay dry and get out of the rain.
Should I let them bite the bullet and remain in the coop when its raining in the morning
and they want out? What about the days it starts raining during the day and they won't return to stay dry? Hope this isn't harming their health in any way.
I have thought about a covered run but where the coop is located this would be less than ideal and they still couldn't free range and go where they wish.