When my daughter let my chickens out of the coop this morning, she forgot to use the clip that keeps the door from blowing shut. Well, I didn't realize it, but the wind had blown the door shut, and then the rain came. When I went outside to close up the coop door this evening, I found all my chickens outside, drenched to the bone! They were all gathered around the door, but couldn't get inside. My guess is that they were outside in the rain for a few hours. Well, once I found them, I immediately got them all inside the coop, hung a brooding lamp about 10 inches off the coop floor to give them some heat, and hung their winter blanket over the doors to cut down on drafts. When I left, I looked in the window and saw Pearl sitting right in front of the lamp trying to get warm. :(
My question is: Will they be ok? Do chickens get sick if they get caught in the rain? Is there anything else I can do for them?
Thanks for any help you can give. ...I'm a worried "chicken mom".
Seriously Im sure your chickens will be just fine. Chickens generate so much heat. Only in freezing weather would you have to worry about chickens getting wet. then your heat lamp 24" above the ground would warm them up.
Use caution when feeding laying hens strong flavored foods such as garlic or onion. they could flavor the eggs.
I don't and I am in Northern Michigan. We insulate the ceiling and I have a lamp I can turn on when it is too far below zero. The rest of the time they have deep shaving litter on the floor and they keep warm on the perches. My coop is about 5x10 and I have 17 hens. I think blocking drafts in the most important thing. This year their run is covered with a roof so they will stay dryer too. I use an old heating pad under their waterer to keep it thawed.
Thanks jylgaskin. You're the same zone as I am so you know the kind of weather I see. I like the idea of a roof over the run. I can't do their whole yard which is over 100 ft but I sure can do a small section so they can get out some. I've got 10 hens and need to get their new coop built fast. My geese and ducks will be in there too so they'll also generate some heat. These birds have all been together since they were 2 days old so no strangers.
What kind of lamp are you referring to? The one we used when they were in their brooder? Is the floor of your coop wood or dirt?
So glad to hear that jyl.. I have been having second thoughts about no heat.. just a little nervous..
We did run electricity to the coop so I can heat the water.. and run the red heat lamp when it gets too cold.. any ideas on what temp I should run that.. I mean when it gets 0 should I plug in the lamp,or just keep it going as long as I have heat on??
Also the hoophouse is 8x10 and I plan on covering it with canvas & plastc tarp.. for wind & snow/cold. That way they can get "outside" everyday.
I figured on the doors for the eggs I would hang rubber roofing like a curtian to help seal the wind and probably collect the eggs from the inside. I am sure egg collecting time will be feeding, water and bonding time all at once... LOL
The floor is wood with a good 6 inch closed airspace under it. I put at least 8 inches of shavings on top. Actually the droppings under the roosts generate some heat and I have a couple of 100 bulbs with broad reflectors that I hang above the roosts. I only turn them on if it is going to be 0 or below. Thier other light is on a timer to keep them laying. During the winter I gather eggs earlier than usual and check again later to keep them freezing. Mine wouldn't use the boxes above the floor so they have a couple on the floor in the corners with lots of straw in them.
My silkies also stay in an unheated coop with a corner with a light that I can turn on. It would probably be much as your hoop house. The corner they sleep in is kind of enclosed with a shelf about three feet off the floor. They have a heated dog dish for water. For the first few weeks of cold weather, I have to pick them up from outside and put them in the coop, though this year they are more used to sleeping in one.