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#67673 - 03/14/08 04:58 PM Rain/mud question
P. Smith1340 Offline
Chicken

Registered: 02/28/08
Posts: 94
Loc: Oregon
Hello all-
I was curious what everyone else does for their chickens while its rainy and yucky outside. My girls are in a wire enclosed 12x10 run underneath my deck, with about 5 feet of what used to be grass also in the run. Since being in there, the run has turned to mud (its spring time in the NW, 2 more months of rain at least). There are only 3 hens in the run. I would love to let them free range, but we live in the suburbs and I don't feel like having to go corral them every night to make sure they don't get eaten. They have a coop that I lock them up in at night. What does everyone else do while it's raining? Do ya'all keep them inside? They don't seem to care that they are getting rained on, as they refuse go back in the coop until it's dark (raining or not).

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#67674 - 03/14/08 08:16 PM Re: Rain/mud question
Ckvchestnut Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 06/12/07
Posts: 346
Loc: Canada
I am not an expert on chicken keeping, but I do think that having the run or turnout area should be exposed to sunlight and a good breeze to dry up muddy conditions. As well in my experience, we are always striving for dry footing conditions for our horses' hooves so we implement sand and pea stone to help in soil drainage. So if you don't want to change where you keep your chickens, perhaps you can change the soil conditions. Having a run area on a hill so it drains is also an option. My chickens don't mind minor wet conditions from time to time, but they prefer to rest in drier places. Hope this helps :-)
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Ckvchestnut

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#67675 - 03/14/08 08:25 PM Re: Rain/mud question
Rhea Dean Carter Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 07/24/03
Posts: 1379
Loc: Tennessee
I keep mine confined to pens inside my barn. The only time they get to go outside is when it's nice and I can be out there to keep an eye on them.
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Rhea Dean

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#67676 - 03/14/08 09:24 PM Re: Rain/mud question
CJR Online   content
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8483
Loc: Montana
I would not think of letting my birds out in the rain, or when the ground is wet or muddy--or snowy! They are inside all winter, and with a few delightfully sunny days, they have been out in outside pens for a few hours in the afternoon and have enjoyed their bits of greening grass. My runs remain grassy and are watered and mowed during the growing months. The litter in the houses remains dry, never muddy feet to make nests and eggs dirty. The windows in their inside pens (2,3,or 4 birds per pen) gives them light, sun when it shines, and they stretch out and enjoy it when it is wet outside, and dust in their shavings. YEARS ago, when I lived in Oregon, our chickens were never outside in wet or rainy weather. Still, many birds are left to free range in any weather--just not mine! CJR

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#67677 - 03/14/08 10:43 PM Re: Rain/mud question
Joachim Dippold Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1823
Loc: Austria
Good Morning Folks,

I donīt think chickens were designed/meant to be confined!!! I donīt want to quarrel, I just think itīs "not right" to keep them caged/confined, point. After all an average hen runs 1 mile a day if she getīs the chance to do so (source: http://www.awionline.org/pubs/cq02/Cq-chick.html ). Please take a minute to let this sink in: 1 mile a day!!! Please donīt tell me that all your barns and coops are this big...

I agree on that keeping the coop clean is WAY more work when itīs wet outide. I also donīt like it when itīs muddy, sure. But I would never think of confining our birds just to make my work/chores easier. Our birds are out all year round, regardless if itīs sunny or rainy or snowy or windy.


( HQ: http://www.krassesrudel.at/fotos/brahmas/2007/37weekswetguy.jpg )

Best greetings,

Joachim

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#67678 - 03/15/08 12:11 AM Re: Rain/mud question
P. Smith1340 Offline
Chicken

Registered: 02/28/08
Posts: 94
Loc: Oregon
Sand is a good idea, I hadn't thought of that. Their coop isn't very big (living in suburbia with a small yard isn't conducive to a big coop, or a big flock) so I feel bad keeping them locked up. I remind myself that they are afterall chickens, and as such they should be able to figure out if they're cold and wet to go back inside. What I might try is some kind of portable pen where they can mow a different part of the yard while their run is drying out and the grass is growing back. They are definitely voracious grass eaters! Windows in the coop is also a good idea I hadn't thought of. They have a "skylight" on top, but more windows would be excellent. A mile a day! Wow that's more than I get in a whole week! I'll buy that, they do run/fly around quite a bit, especially at turnout time smile Perhaps I could get them some little yellow rainjackets LOL

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#67679 - 03/15/08 01:34 AM Re: Rain/mud question
RuffEnuff Offline
Ruler of the Roost

Registered: 01/27/06
Posts: 1148
Loc: Australia
poultry happily go back to their coop in the evening or when it is raining, once trained...which is easy for most birds.

i live in the tropics and red mud. it is not unusual to get 3 meters of rain a year or months when it takes all day to rain 2mls. 25mls = 1 inch.

i specialize in both indian game (cornish) and pekins (bantam cochin). i loath mud. my pekins are kept on shavings or run free. i try to restrict their freedom if it is raining, especialy if there is no sun and the rain is constant. mobile pens are moved once a day. the birds if not put on shavings are put on newspaper which can be changed twice a day.

the indians seem to thrive in the wet (warm wet) except when little chicks. i only lock them in at night. the large indians need to have their pens mown regularly. the bantams run totally free.

when i had to confine birds to open wet pens i used low grade pasture hay over the mud and just kept adding more on top. when the sun came out i put the hay on the gardens. if you use quality hay it goes mouldy and rotten very quickly which is no good.

if my pens get wet and muddy (like when it rains 5 inches in a night) the birds are on perches in the night and i just open the doors and let them go until the rivers stop. luckily my australian game have very long legs as a few days ago the door caused the water to dam up.

at the moment i am battling the wet and no one can buy dry woodshavings anywhere. but i could not let my birds get grotty in the mud otherwise i would have respiratory disease and the pekins would be no good for show as their footings would be broken. however my old large indian game does not look much better than joachims bird as he sleeps on the floor. however my younger indians have headed for the trees and are perching 8 feet off the ground in the trees and on the roof of their house......not sure which is better for them in the long run. they have low perches but have decided the water might get higher....i hope they are wrong.
k.

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#67680 - 03/16/08 05:27 PM Re: Rain/mud question
Ckvchestnut Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 06/12/07
Posts: 346
Loc: Canada
I have never trained my birds to come in or go out of their coop during warmer weather (wouldn't even know how to). They go out in the rain if they feel like it and go back in their coop or one of the horse shelters if they get caught in the rain. I kind of treat my chickens like my horses, I give them free choice of whether they want to be inside or outside. Mostly it seems that the chickens are quite sensible, they will stay in when they feel like it. Some stay in more than others. As long a there is a sheltered roof in their turnout and you can have the area drained well with good sand or a mixture of sand and pea stone so you can avoid muddy footing, the birds will decide where they want to be.
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#67681 - 03/16/08 10:39 PM Re: Rain/mud question
Foehn Offline
Administrator
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1968
Loc: New Zealand
My hens use a mobile coop similar to this one.
Mobile coop
When the door is closed it has that handle on it where it is easy to lift and shift on the wheels at the other end. I have a waterproof cover over three quarters of the run, for shelter from sun and rain. Most of the time my hens just free range in the back yard, but I do not have a predator problem to guard against. If it rains my hens have places where they can shelter. They prefer either under the terrace, or under the fig tree which is quite large and has dense leaves in the summer/autumn.
I have found that using a long bamboo stick in each hand, is a good way to get them into a tight bunch and "herd" them into their run. You just move quietly behind them and move them where you want them using the sticks to keep them together and guide them. They catch on fast. To begin with I used temporary plastic netting barriers to direct them into the coop, but I haven't needed those in a long time. I don't show my hens, so a bit of mud is ok with me.
Since you only have three hens, something similar, but perhaps smaller would be a good solution. You could put a daytime roost in the run part and a nest in the hutch part. They could then be returned to their main coop for security at night.
It would be a good way to "tractor" your vege garden if you have one also, otherwise you could simply give them a new piece of lawn each day to eat. If you keep them this way on the lawn though you will have to provide them with a basin of dry dirt to bathe in if you don't want them digging up your lawn in the summer to make a dust bath.

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#67682 - 03/17/08 03:06 AM Re: Rain/mud question
RuffEnuff Offline
Ruler of the Roost

Registered: 01/27/06
Posts: 1148
Loc: Australia
foehn you do not have indian game. if you try to herd them their main aim is to go in the opposite direction. if they get close to a tree well it becomes round and round the mulberry bush.

my aussie game a re very different butthey can run faster than me.

by training them it is sort of getting them to know where home is. it is taking them their every night until it clicks in their small brain that it is not a bad place to be....relativly dry with water and food. some times it take 3 days and some times it takes 3 months. with indian game if the new perch is higher than the old one then they like it...if not well it is mind over matter.

sometimes you have to control your impulses when they are being most uncooperative and you feel like scewing their heads off slowly as you are dripping wet and cold and it is nearly dark.

ahhhh those sunny days.
k

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