bad weather and chicken ranging

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by steve&kris, May 18, 2011.

  1. steve&kris

    steve&kris Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 15, 2011
    Pittsburgh
    I live on a large farm, though no farming is actually done on it. We built a large nice coop for our chickens and are raising them organic (except for the chick starter which I was told was important) and free range. My chicks are 6-7 weeks, and don't really know what to do on their own yet. They've only had access to the outside for 4 days (today will be 5). It rains 70% of the time in Pittsburgh, and my chicks don't yet really know how and when to go back in their coop. I still help them at night, though after yesterday I think they're on the verge of getting it.

    My question is this.... when it rains, they do not go back up into their coop, they just huddle in a corner somewhere, partially out of the rain. Should I let them out at all on a day when it's going to rain all day, and should I help them (force them) back into their coop if I let them out in cloudy weather and it starts raining later. I don't know if chicks/chickens normally play in the rain, so I don't know what I should be doing for them.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Two Creeks Farm

    Two Creeks Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 23, 2011
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    Mine stay out and do their thing. They are all wet right now but have full bellies and are at the moment preening and taking a nap. I watched them yesterday and they did not seem to mind the rain. I dont recall ever chaing our chickens to the coop when i was a kid, unless really bad weather was coming
     
  3. AKsmama

    AKsmama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 20, 2010
    South Carolina
    Were your chicks locked up in the coop for several days before you let them out? That way they know the coop is home, and they usually come in by themselves, and you don't have to try to herd them all in at night.

    Mine go out in any kind of weather, rain, snow (I live in SC where we don't get much, and what we do get is gone pretty fast), whatever. I open the coop up and let them decide. As long as they are fully feathered, they should be ok. If you have cover on their range- other buildings, trees, bushes, etc., then they will find shelter when they need it.
     
  4. steve&kris

    steve&kris Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 15, 2011
    Pittsburgh
    yeah, I did keep them in the coop for a few days before letting them out, and i keep their nice warm red heat lamp in there, but they just don't seem to naturally know what to do a lot of times. I think they are within a day or two of going in at night, just wasn't sure about the rain. They do have other cover, so I guess I'll open it up and leave it up to them.

    Thanks!
     
  5. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    They shouldn't need the heat lamp any more; I wonder if they are avoiding it. I would at least turn it off during the day.

    Mine usually stay out in the rain as well. If it's really pouring and/or windy they will go in. This time of year they are more likely to go in at midday to get out of the sun; it is cool and breezy in there.
     
  6. steve&kris

    steve&kris Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 15, 2011
    Pittsburgh
    yeah i probably should turn it off during the day, some days i have but I'm inconsistent. I also figure if they get wet maybe it'll motivate them to come into the coop if there's a little extra heat. The heat lamp is raised a couple of feet, so it's not toast warm, it's just fairly warm. I keep reading people say "when they are fully feathered.........", but I don't know what is "fully" feathered. They have lots of feathers, I assume they're fully feathered, but I don't really know the difference b/n fully feathered and mostly feathered. too many to count [​IMG]

    I will turn it off in the days and raise it a little more to continue weening them off though.

    Thanks!!
     
  7. Wildflower_VA

    Wildflower_VA Chillin' With My Peeps

    Fully feathered means they have real feathers everywhere, including on their head. They may not have as many feathers as an adult chicken, but the important areas are all covered. Most breeds are fully feathered by 6 to 7 weeks of age.
     

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