Chickens are pretty hard birds, but they do need some protection. How much do you need to worry about chickens in the rain? What should you do to protect them? What kind of wet weather are chickens okay to go out and about in?
Chickens are descended from jungle fowl and they are usually quite happy in a wide variety of weather. They don’t mind warm weather as long as they have shade and fresh water. Their downy undercoat keeps them protected in cold weather as long as they aren’t exposed to drafts.
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Many chickens don’t mind get wet occasionally in the rain. Their feathers can repel water a bit just like a raincoat for us. (With the exception of silkies and frizzles, as their feathers are not as water resistant and can easily get soaked). If they have a shelter they can choose to go into, you most likely do not need to worry about your birds at all in regular rainy weather.
Sometimes drizzly days can be great bug hunting days for your birds! There also may be fewer predators out and about as well.
Concerns About Chickens In The Rain
That said, if your birds get soaked down to the skin you do need to watch out for hypothermia. Signs of hypothermia in chickens can be subtle and deadly very quickly. If your bird is shaking, has a blue wattle or skin, and labored slow breathing you need to get them warmed up!
Some birds are silly and try to sleep outside even when it’s raining. I have a few like that. If the weather is generally warm, one wet night probably won’t do them in.
If you are having an extreme weather event, do provide adequate shelter for your flock. They need to be able to get out of the wind and rain. They should also have a place to hang out and scratch around that is not muddy. Standing on a damp or muddy floor all day can lead to foot problems.
As long as you’re keeping an eye out for hypothermia and your birds can get to shelter if they chose, you do not need to worry about chickens in the rain!
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