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#67693 - 03/18/08 05:35 AM Re: Rain/mud question
Upback Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 06/04/07
Posts: 457
Loc: Maine
Sorry for getting off your topic a little, psmith!

I just want to stress that there must be a happy medium between letting chickens run completely free, vulnerable to every predator known to man, and being shut indoors for months or weeks to "protect" them from bad weather or predators. A run, any kind of run that fits the situation, with the chickens deciding when to be in or out is a humane solution.

There are many posts in this thread that really resonate with me. Take cgmcgary and his city chickens. Certainly they are not roaming free like bison on the prairie, but he has an amazing run and lets his birds choose if they want to be in or out. It's that simple.

I would honestly like to know why people could not build a dog proof run and let the chickens choose. Or why a chicken must live inside a coop all winter long or can't get rained on or step in the mud. We all love birds, I don't doubt that. People on this forum, in this thread, are way more experienced than I. I just can't wrap my brain around it. I want to understand the reasoning behind the management, that's all. And I think it's important to have these discussions where we strongly disagree - with respect and no offense.

By the way, on the mud issue, covering the run with a tarp during wet weather is a great idea!

#67694 - 03/18/08 01:29 PM Re: Rain/mud question
Henry the First Offline

Registered: 05/11/04
Posts: 61
Loc: Ohio
I live in NE Ohio - we have gone from 0-60 this year by the week almost!. No snow on the ground to 2+ feet in a week.

My birds have not appreciated the snow until this winter,,where they MIGHT put a foot outside the cosy coop for a few minutes (if the sun is out!).
If the snow is really deep I will shovel a large area for them to go out into - it is their choice.

My birds have a DRY, warm big coop to live in no matter what the weather.

I do not think that they should live in damp wet conditions no matter what..and show birds need to be kept high and dry wink

#67695 - 03/18/08 01:36 PM Re: Rain/mud question
P. Smith1340 Offline

Registered: 02/28/08
Posts: 94
Loc: Oregon
Hi Upback-
I agree, I grew up on a farm where chickens did one of two things (and sometimes both). They either produced eggs, or they produced meat, and that was it. They weren't pets at all, they were just chickens smile I got my 3 because as I've grown up, I miss living on the farm. I now have my own house, kind of out in the country, but in the middle of town if that makes sense. We don't have a huge backyard or any acres, so I can't have goats and turkeys or anything (much to my boyfriends dismay LOL). The girls were living inside in a big cardboard box all winter because I got them in November and we were in the middle of moving and hadn't built the coop yet. The run could have been better planned out, but its only chicken wire and metal posts so it won't be too hard to enlarge a bit and add some sand for drainage. A tarp is a good idea, except the chickens run is mostly underneath our deck. I could cover the other part thats exposed with one though. I think I baby them a little too much, but I didn't want them to get sick as they are mutt chickens that came from an auction somewhere for .25 each and they weren't the hardiest bunch from the getgo smile I hate keeping them "cooped" up though, so as soon as I solve the drainage issue I think they'll be a lot better off.

#67696 - 03/20/08 08:12 AM Re: Rain/mud question
J. Henderson Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 08/16/02
Posts: 674
Loc: New York
If the expression "mad as a wet hen" has any merit, some of our hens are quite mad.

#67697 - 03/21/08 03:16 AM Re: Rain/mud question
Jocelyn Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/26/02
Posts: 1467
Loc: Canada
WE had freezing rain today and most of the chickens were out. Every so often, they will shake like a dog to get a little drier. They don't seem to get wet through, as they are pretty downy under all the feathers. Perhaps birds that are out all year feather up more? The barn is always open, but it only seldom they are inside.

#67698 - 03/27/08 05:10 AM Re: Rain/mud question
Dee Dee Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 11/19/02
Posts: 174
Loc: Maryland
My chickens do not like a pouring rain but happily putter about the yard when it is not raining hard. They even adjust to the snow. I have no problems with wet bedding in the coop but it is a good sized one and is a deep litter system. I keep straw in my runs, and replenish it regularly. I too am not comfortable with keeping my hens continually confined but I do not have show birds and do keep an eye on them when they free range. Hope you find a solution, constant mud is not a good idea.

#67699 - 03/27/08 09:47 AM Re: Rain/mud question
Eva Offline
New Egg

Registered: 09/16/07
Posts: 5
Loc: Tennessee
Our chickens are out almost all the time in all weather, pecking around even in heavy rain, going in and out as they please, and always very happy. I get worried sometimes when the run gets very muddy for several days, but I've taken to spreading an inch or two of wood chips or shavings every few weeks, and that keeps the mud down and keeps it from smelling 'barnyardy.' I guess going back to composting principles of having a reasonable carbon/nitrogen/moisture ratio has cross-applications for chicken runs smile

And they peck around in the wood for worms and bugs, which keeps them occupied on the rare days when they're just confined to the run.

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