Wet chickens am I doing it wrong?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by RickyDean, Dec 2, 2015.

  1. RickyDean

    RickyDean Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 5, 2015
    I have a 16 chicken flock of mixed breeds, no roosters. I feed them well and have a nice coop for shelter and my girls free range all day in our large yard with a five foot fence all the way around it. There are plenty of places outside of the coop for them to hide, get under cover, stay dry ect.

    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.
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Some roofed area outside wouldn't be a bad idea. I wouldn't waste my time or money with a heat lamp. 2 degrees isn't worth it.
    When it rains, my birds go to bed soaked but are completely dry by morning. It has never hurt them, especially with good ventilation.
  3. JackE

    JackE Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.

    X2, my birds do the same thing(Been doing it for years now). They look like a bunch of half drowned rats, in the coop at the end of the day sometimes. Next morning, they look as fresh as ever when they come out from their un-insulated and unheated coop.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2015
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I'm in the PNW. If my birds didn't go out in the rain, they'd never go out [​IMG]

    they're not waterproof like ducks, but those feathers do shed a lot of water. I'm betting most of the time, your bird's skin is dry even though the feathers are wet.

    I agree, have good ventilation with the extra moisture they're bringing in. Otherwise, I trust my animals to self regulate. I have one horse that stands outside in the rain while the others look at her like she's insane. She's the alpha, so I know she's not getting kicked out of the shelter.

    I have a dog that prefers to be out in the rain. One I can hardly drag out for potty breaks all winter, she hates to get her feet wet and makes a huge production of it sometimes.
  5. Bridebeliever

    Bridebeliever Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ditto here, I'm in the rainy state of Washington. Wet stuff falls out of the sky
    11 1/2 months out of the year! (Okay, not every day...but sometimes it feels like it!) My chickens hang out in it and seem perfectly content even though they have access to their nice dry coop. I do have one big baby Rhode Island that prefers to spend most of her time in the coop but will come out if she has to for treats.
  6. RickyDean

    RickyDean Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 5, 2015
    Pretty sure one of the reasons they won't come out of the rain is because of the worms coming up to the surface and
    a lot of crickets are flooded out of their holes in the ground.
  7. Bridebeliever

    Bridebeliever Chillin' With My Peeps

    Well, it's only lightly raining today but 7 of my 10 chickens are currently hanging out in their coop. My coop cam pic, 10:33am:
  8. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    Yes, it is the best free range feeding time. What's a little water on the back when the eating is good and the extra energy to dry off is easy to come by?
  9. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    I read everyone’s posts with much interest and bewilderment .. my bantams to not do ‘get wet’.

    They do like to scratch around in the wet grass and dirt after the rain and do not seem to mind wet foot feathers but you will always find them either hiding in the covered run or on the back deck under the gazebo with the humans if it is raining [​IMG]
  10. Bridebeliever

    Bridebeliever Chillin' With My Peeps

    If the Washington birds (or people) did that they would rarely go out! LOL

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