I know this is kinda a stupid question, but if it's a cold hard rain, in a colder climate like we have here in the Great Northeast today, do you let yer birds out, and just give them the "option". We do, and the fools all STAY out in it most of the time. Makes me nervous about colds, and snuffly beak syndrome? What if it's snowing???
If it's down in the lower 40's or lower, my chooks stay in lock down for the day. Snow, they get to go out in if they choose to though. It doesn't seem to soak them to the bone like freezing cold rain does.
My girls will go out if its pelting it down with rain (like yesterday!) i left them in their boxes a bit longer than usual to see if the rain would die down but as soon as i opened their boxes they ran straight out! sometimes if it rains in the day they will hide under the hedges but 9 times out of 10 ill find them soaked through and looking like drowned rats walking around scratting for food! i havent had them in the snow yet though so that will be interesting if we get any this winter!!
The one thing i am worrying about the winter is what can i do to prevent their drinker from freezing over?
We live in Carson Valley, NV and often get winds from the SW & NW. With winter coming on I was concerned with the wind chill factor and rain. My coop is an eggloo tractor from Omelet. To protect my 5-BR hens I made panels from USB to fit on the sides to block cold winds and wind driven snow & rain. For the top I put across some clear plastic. It seems to work well as when the wind gets 15 mph & higher, they continue to use the run without getting their feathers riled.
I secure the plastic on top with bungee cord as well as the panels. These quick disconnects makes it easier to disconnect the panels which I do in the morning when I move the tractor to another location.
Right now the wind is blowing very bad and keeps turning the power off. But it's not raining. I open the barn door and if they want to go out in the rain they will if not they just stay in. Most of the time they go a running out. But today I didn't let them out. We saw a red tail hawk the other day trying to get one of my birds at the end of the yard. The 22 is now sitting by the door.
lemoniee, I bought a large rubber tub from TSC and it helps with the water. I need to go out 2 or 3 times a day in the winter to change the water. If it freezes I just throw it outside and and ice comes out. I put warm water back in it.
Yeah, it's raining hard off'n on, and you'd think they'd be half drowned, but in and out the coop they go,,,,,,
The freezing thing,,,,,we bought a water heater base from TS, for less than $40.00. Only thing ya need too is a metal waterer, so you don't melt any plastic one. It starts if it's less than like 36 degrees out.
Animals belong in the weather. Theyre made for it.
Iam in the NE too, and its cold and raining. But my chickens are outside.
Feathers are waterproof, the down stays dry. And when they get too wet or cold, they go back inside.
Dont worry about it. If the birds get sick from being in the cold wet rain too long it they die and it keeps them out of the breeding population. Thats harsh, but honestly you really dont want a bird that cant take care of itself on the most basic of things like keeping dry and warm.