Wet Chickens, Cold Night

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Stacykins, Dec 15, 2011.

  1. Stacykins

    Stacykins Crowing

    Jan 19, 2011
    Escanaba, MI
    Gosh, are chickens hydrophilic or something? It has been unusually warm here, and also unusually rainy (usually it is cold and snowy, heh). All this rain means it is sloppy and muddy outside. Because my chickens really get a kick out of free ranging, I've been letting them take advantage of not trudging through feet of snow. But last I checked on them, they were happily scratching through the compost heap and are completely soaked. Like, as if they jumped in a bathtub and got scrubbed soaked. Whenever they were out in light drizzle, it seemed as if their feathers repelled water. I am guessing their feathers finally reached saturation?

    Anyway, tonight the temperature is supposed to get down below freezing again. Low is 18. Their coop isn't heated, but considering how saturated they are, I am considering for one night, putting out extension cords with a heat lamp out there. Should I? I don't think one night will cause dependence, but if they can't dry off their feathers quick enough once they go to bed (the only time they actually go in the dry coop), I think I have some frosted chooks tomorrow morning.

  2. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    Yes, I would worry. Wet feathers can't insulate. Actually, I'd try to get them dried up as much as possible before nightfall.
  3. Pele

    Pele Songster

    Feb 25, 2011
    I think you are right to be concerned. A heat lamp for one night isn't a no no. I actually either add heated bricks, or clip on a heat lamp at night if it gets below 20. The most either does is bring the temp up by 10 degrees, which is still cold enough to encourage feather growth. Plus my girls get to have plenty of 'cold time' during the day. We've had a cold winter, brr!
  4. Stacykins

    Stacykins Crowing

    Jan 19, 2011
    Escanaba, MI
    I hooked 'em up with a heat lamp for the night, which definitely warmed up the interior of the coop. I also towel dried them once I got them all rounded up (resulting in great displeasure!). Ah well, hopefully they stay drier next time they're out and about, silly birds. Their coop is well ventilated, at least, so when they stay dry they are set even in the cold.

  5. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Songster

    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    Sounds like you did the right thing. You gave them the option. See how they respond & go from there in the future. Birds can handle bad weather & adjust to the situation their living in. This helps keep them from becoming ill. They live & adjust to the weather this keeps them strong & enables them to live in their environment that they are facing at the time.

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