I raise pheasants mostly but my sister wanted fresh eggs and since she can't keep chickens where she lives I decided to get a few hens just for the eggs. I researched breeds for a moderate or better egg layer along with a pattern I liked (since I was the one going to look at them) and decided on golden wyandottes. I got 4 birds with the idea that ever few years I would add a bird or two so the egg production would stay at least 3 to 4 eggs per day as the hens started slowing down others would pick up the slack and eventually I could have a large flock of egg laying birds. Well, my two questions are: 1. Why is it that my birds have a constant supply of fresh running water but given the chance they will drink out of the foulest mud puddle they can find? Same with food, they have fresh food two or three times daily because that is the feeding schedule of my grey jungle fowl, I don't leave food in there for more than a few hours so I feed smaller amounts but I change it or add to it several times a day and still the chickens will eat the food on the ground in the mud always first before they go to the fresh food. 2. Even though today is June 4th I live in the mountains near Lake Tahoe California and it is a combination of rain, hail and some snow. My chickens are not restricted to the coop but can come in and out as they please, on nice days I just open the pen door and let them free range until the early evening and then confine them again so predators don't get them. Today when I went to feed the midday meal all of the chickens were out in the pen, standing with their heads lowered and soaked to the bone. Are they just not smart enough to stay inside the coop? All of my pheasants and jungle fowl are warm and dry on their perches which are covered for the pheasants and inside for the jungle and vulturine guinea fowl. What do you do to a chicken if it catches a cold? I put a block in front of the coop door so they can't get out now but what should I watch for as far as a cold? Should I try to dry the feathers? I would not worry except that the down next to the body is soaked as well, it isn't just the outer feathers. If they want they can stay in the coop which is lighted so they can see and has a clear "sunroof" panel to let natural light in but still the birds are now wet and shivering. What is your opinions on drying them, should I let them in the barn until they dry off? The barn has a straw over dirt floor and can have a draft but is a little warmer then the coop. Any suggestions or experience would be helpful.