wet chicks and coop??? please help?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by GoodEgg, Jul 24, 2007.

  1. GoodEgg

    GoodEgg Songster

    Feb 12, 2007
    NW Florida
    Well, now I feel like a dummy. My coop isn't so great after all. We had a bad storm last night, and this morning, about 80% of the coop floor is wet. The weather is cooler than normal, still wet, and supposed to keep raining for days.

    I'm so worried about my chicks. They are 7 weeks old, been in the coop less than a week. I don't know how to say if they are fully feathered or not. They *look* just about like little chickens to me, but they are fluffy underneath (some of them). And the feathering is a just a tiny bit rough here and there on some, not perfectly smooth.

    Temps here are between 70 (night) and 85 (day). There is a bit of wind.

    As soon as I went outside this am, they insisted on coming out of the coop. The ground is wet, but they don't seem to care. I left the coop door open for now (they are in run) because it's wet in there too. I don't know if the sun will shine at all today. One of my RIR's might have sneezed, I don't know if that's what it was. They didn't eat last night although the feed is dry. They wanted lots of starter/grower this am.

    They were fully vaccinated, if it matters. (Cocci, marek's, and something else I think. Pullorum free.)

    I don't know what to do. I guess I sound kinda stupid, but I don't know if this will hurt them? And I don't even know how to dry out the coop. I have heaters, but I'm afraid they might cause a fire. I thought of fans but I don't know if the wind might not make them sick. And it's very wet, so I'm afraid to run electric there. I do have a dry bale of litter, so I'm thinking I will put a big box out there for now with the litter inside so they can have a sheltered dry place in the coop if they need it.

    Will they come in if they are cold? Will this make them sick?

    Is there anything I can do to safely dry the coop?

    Must I toss all the litter? I would like to dry it if possible, since I have several large bales in there.

    I feel so dumb now. I'm trying to figure out how to modify the coop to make it more weather-proof without making it too hot.

    Thanks if anyone has any suggestions. And sorry if I put this in the wrong forum. It wasn't exactly a true emergency, maybe (though to me it is) and it's not only a coop issue, so I thought this was the best place. Sorry if the mods have to move it.

    Last edited: Jul 24, 2007
  2. blue90292

    blue90292 Songster

    Jan 30, 2007
    Rosharon, TX
    i would clamp a temporary 250 watt bulb in the coop just for the day and then remove it so there's not fear of fire. that'll dry things up fast.

    for your birds sake, i'd remove the old wet stuff and put in new. what's more important? the birds or saving the litter? if you want to save the litter, you need to get it out and dry it in the sun anyway, or else they'll mold and you'll have even bigger respitory (sp?) problems for your birds.

    in the meantime, i know this sounds bad, but get you a tarp and cover the top of the coop to keep any more rain from coming in until you get the coop fixed.

    good luck!
  3. chickbea

    chickbea Songster

    Jan 18, 2007
    You could get some pallettes (sp?) and put them in your coop and in the run so that the babies aren't sitting directly in wet litter.
    If the sun is coming out, and you really want to try to save the litter, you can lay it out on tarps and fluff it around until it dries. If you have any doubt about moldiness, I wouldn't take a chance though, especially with babies.
    I use a heater in my coop in the winter when it gets really cold. I hang it from the ceiling so that it can't get knocked over. It has a shut-off feature if it tips over, but I don't trust it.
    Don't fret - I don't think I've ever built a coop and had it work out perfectly from the start - I always have to redesign!
  4. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Honestly, I'd just remove it and try to figure out how the rain got in and fix that. If you can dry it out in the sun with full air flow, that may be fine. If you add heat to a wet situation inside the coop, you will get mildew, not dry litter.
  5. chickbea

    chickbea Songster

    Jan 18, 2007
    Quote:Good point!
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Yeah, I've been flooded enough in my houses/apts in the past to remember the instructions I got. Get one of those industrial sized fans and start it blowing, then open up all the windows and leave it cool in the house-never turn on the heat or everything will mildew, was what I was always told by the insurance/carpet people.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2007
  7. GoodEgg

    GoodEgg Songster

    Feb 12, 2007
    NW Florida
    Thanks everyone.

    Thank the Lord it was actually sunny with a bit of wind most of the day, and I kept them out of the coop. I couldn't remove the litter, but it is mostly dry. I do think I'm going to take it out tomorrow and trash it anyway. It cost a good bit, but I really don't want sick chickens. I've gotten too attached to them already. They might have to go with a thinner layer though.

    I'm going to have to go to the store tonight and get an extension cord to run out there (and more litter!), and I have some small fans. I guess I'm not going to try to save the litter, but I'll make sure it's all dry inside. (Floor is still damp under the litter.)

    Got a tarp over the one end. (The top is waterproof, it's the ends of the A-frame. I thought I could leave them mostly open during the summer, but the wind during the thunderstorm was more than I'd counted on.) I'll buy another tarp for the other end tonight, or tomorrow if Wal-Mart doesn't have it.

    Put in extra roosts so they can get off the floor.

    I guess the chicks are ok. Everyone seems fine. It's a bit stinky there; I can't tell if it's from wet litter or poo in the coop, or the poo in the run. I have 26 chicks, the coop is 8 x 8 but the run is still a little temporary thing that is maybe 7 x 8. I'm framing out a 20 x 10 run but I haven't finished it yet. So they are still too crowded and it's a bit damp.

    I just hope I don't have to take the coop apart and re-build. I really can't afford to, and besides I would have nowhere to keep them in the meantime. I already tossed the brooder box.

    I thank everyone so much for the info. Hopefully tomorrow I can put it more to rights.

    Fed the babies some yogurt tonight for the first time. I figured it might help boost their immune systems too. Hehe, I never would have thought they'd love yogurt so much. They slung it all over me and everything else, but they went back and ate every bit (even off themselves and each other ... and me!). Then acted like they were starving for their starter/grower. This sure hasn't hurt their apetite!

    So I hope they will be ok. Thanks again everyone! [​IMG]

  8. Bubba

    Bubba Songster

    Jun 18, 2007
    Is your coop resting directly on the ground? Could you place say 4 bricks or so then lay a sheet of plywood on them? Would raise them 6-12 inches off the ground.
    To make it more weatherproof in the long run just extend the ends of the roof.


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