WET WEATHER is here in Washington

Discussion in 'Where am I? Where are you!' started by LindaJean, Oct 15, 2012.

  1. LindaJean

    LindaJean In the Brooder

    Mar 18, 2012
    McCleary, Wa
    Well, my girls are all grown up now, laying like champs and after all the rain this week they look like drowned birds. Although I have provided them with plenty of cover to get out of the rain, they don't seem to have enough sense to do it. Their coop isn't heated and I guess my biggest worry is health. I have a space heater I can use at night to help dry them out - should I use it. My husband says they are farm animals and have been surviving in Washington and all the rain for many many years unaided by what we think they need for human comfort. I would just like to know what other Washingtonians are doing now that the rains have come. Any suggestions greatly appreciated
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2012

  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I live in SW Washington in the Willamette Valley and I only provide a 100 watt bulb when it goes significantly below freezing for my Orpington shed coop. For my bantam coop, I am going to run the light bulb(s) in there for under 35 degrees or so. (I have two 100 watt bulbs I can turn on if needed.)

    If you are going to be using a space heater, be very sure it is going to be a fireproof setup. I would NOT recommend a space heater in there actually, since chickens will knock it over, put dust, feathers, shavings on/in your space heater etc.

    You need to avoid having extension cord connections out in the rain also.

    Unless you have tiny bantams like me (Nankins and d'Uccles) I would recommend that you try them with no heat at all to see what works for you. Silkies are another one that I always did baby and gave them a light bulb since their feathers don't shed water.

    The large fowl really don't like the light bulb on at night- it irritates them and makes them grumpy/peck each other. So I only do it when I feel the weather is just brutal.

    They do make a "sweeter heater" for chickens that may be safer- I don't know.

    If you do use a light bulb as I do, make sure that you hang it at least two ways (I use metal wire) not including the clamp, so a chicken could theoretically land on it and it won't come down. I have mine on timers.

    Overall the greatest challenge is to keep the coop from getting moldy. I battle that every single year and sadly lost chickens last year since I threw feed on the ground, which got moldy and the coop got moldy since I didn't bleach it enough. They had that gasping/droopy wing and neck/quick deaths thing.

    So make sure you keep on top of any mold is all I can say and keep fireproof the #1 priority.

  3. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Oh I forgot to mention that when I used chick-n-hutches for coops (and closed in the sides some) I did provide light bulbs for even my large fowl below freezing because of the brutal wind and rain that is the microclimate of our chicken yard.

    So if your coop is marginal (like a drafty structure and you think they will just die in there) then listen to your gut. Draft = wind blows right on chickens as they roost and steals the heat from them.

    Good ventilation = wind blows above the chickens' heads and they can keep the air still around/between their feathers to stay warm.

    Drafts blowing right on them can kill them as they cannot stay warm.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2012

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