Flock just standing in the pouring rain....

picklestheduck

Songster
Oct 16, 2021
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Soooooo....I don't know why......but my flock of chickens will just stand in the rain and get completely drenched during the day...I'm pretty concerned since we have started to get frost overnight and the warmest the days get anymore are around the 50s. A few of my hens have been outcasted from the group and will kinda wander on their own, but I'm afraid they will freeze....especially with this cold rainy weather nonstop!!! They get locked inside at bedtime...but wet chickens overnight are still not good! Some days I will just leave them inside if it rains all day, but I feel like they need some fresh air.....Any ideas? Also I have 2 ducks in quarantine in a horse trailer....(I know its weird but its our only option) and they shiver a lot. I'm assuming they are cold since the weather has been super chilly and rainy, and they are probably more likely to get cold since they are sick.....but I'm not sure....I'm afraid to use heat lamps anymore since a good friend of mine had a huge fire started from one of those and lost 150 birds to it.....Any ideas on what to do?
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
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You don't mention if there is a run or some place where your chickens can take cover in the event of rain or even an aerial predator. Chickens need cover of some sort, even if it's just trees and bushes.

If you have no place for the chickens to take cover under, perhaps you might find a way to provide something such as a carport awning or even a crude lean-to.
 

K0k0shka

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
Jul 24, 2019
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My Coop
My Coop
I agree with the suggestion of cover - give them shelter from the rain somewhere outside, ideally large enough (or multiple areas) so that the bullied birds have somewhere to shelter from the rain without being chased away by the others. Are you able to put a roof on their run? Do they have a run? That would be the best option, but not feasible for everybody. It's not for me, for example, so I put 3 large patio umbrellas in their run so they have someplace to hide from the rain. The umbrellas are lined up next to each other and they are square in shape, so there are no gaps for rain to fall through where the sides meet. The first one is against the coop wall over the pop door, and the rest lined up next to it, so the chickens have a dry path out when they come out of the coop. In the winter, I also put clear polycarbonate panels on the run walls to block out wind and precipitation being blown horizontally under the umbrellas. The rest of the run isn't covered on top (other than welded wire for protection) but the umbrellas and the clear panels are enough to give the chickens a somewhat protected area to roam around in during the day.
 

Isadora

Soli Deo gloria
Premium Feather Member
Mar 29, 2021
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You mentioned that sometimes you leave them in the coop on rainy days but you would like them to have fresh air. Does your coop not have enough ventilation then? Do you have pictures?
 

picklestheduck

Songster
Oct 16, 2021
156
304
126
You don't mention if there is a run or some place where your chickens can take cover in the event of rain or even an aerial predator. Chickens need cover of some sort, even if it's just trees and bushes.

If you have no place for the chickens to take cover under, perhaps you might find a way to provide something such as a carport awning or even a crude lean-to.
The chickens have a coop they have free access to all day, there is a huge bush out back, and my horses have a lean to that they can go in and out of, and my barn is always open to them. We also have trailers and trucks parked out back they can run under and sometimes do but not always.
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
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Your chickens may not be as wet and uncomfortable as you fear. Chickens can tolerate a certain amount of dampness and it really isn't much more than what we would experience by walking through a light rain and getting our hair and shoulders wet. We dry quickly after reaching out destination. So do chickens as their oily feathers protect their bodies from getting saturated to the skin.

As long as they have the choice of scooting under cover to avoid drenching, they should be okay. It might set your mind at ease to pick up one of these wet chickens and feel how deep the wetness goes. If the chicken is wet to the skin, you then can conclude the chicken hasn't the sense to get in out of the rain and you may need to rethink how you are providing cover to protect from very serious weather.

Watch for signs of hypothermia. The symptoms include lethargy, imbalance, and leg weakness. If you see those signs, you need to warm the chicken quickly. Using a warm hair dryer, blow warm air onto the underside of the wings or wing pits and the breast area where most of the blood circulation is close to the surface. Dry the chicken completely and keep the chicken warm for the rest of that day and night.
 

U_Stormcrow

Free Ranging
Jun 7, 2020
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Definitely want to see that coop and run. My birds will tolerate some rain, if its not windy - but will readily seek shelter if its rain and wind, or heavy rain. If the birds are avoiding the coop under those conditions, I'd suspect there is an issue with the coop, whether mites, inadequate ventilation, or some other reason its deemed less hospitable than serious weather conditions.

A sunshower is not a serious weather event. Nor is a constant drizzle, however much we may dislike them.

Details matter.

/edit to clarify, what I consider "wind" may be a higher standard than most. Hurricanes have been a life long companion, and our normal summer thunderstorms generate gusts which are national news worthy when they hit New England states. As we expect 1"+ rain a week, that too has a moderately high bar.
 
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DonyaQuick

Chirping
Jun 22, 2021
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Upstate NY (Otsego county), USA
Do any of your chickens show an inclination to at least get under a covered area when it rains? If they do then this won't be relevant, but my young chickens were total derps about rain for a while when I first added an uncovered run extension that let them get rained on properly. I think they genuinely didn't understand that there were protected areas they could go to, so they stayed in the bigger fun place and got soaked - and they were definitely unhappy about it. It took a few iterations me putting a treat bar in a dry, roofed area during rainstorms for them to learn that there were places they could go to stay dry. Now when they hear the rain pick up, they go back under roofed areas on their own well before getting soaked.
 

Bodhisan

Chirping
Jul 11, 2020
61
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Seattle area
They can look like 'drowned rats' on the outer layer of feathers,
but be dry and toasty next to their skin.
Stick your hand under there and see.
You just described mine as of lately. It was pouring the other day, and they were all out there pecking at the ground like nothing was going to stop them from their routine. Mine do have protection, if they need/want it, so I don't worry about. A side note: Last winter (my first with chickens), when it snowed, they would not come out into the extended run into the snow - they stayed in the covered run for almost a week until it melted.
 

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