Recipe for Happy Rainy Day Chickens

May 16, 2012

It’s started raining here last night.  I love a good rain.  The garden’s wake up, recent bursts of pollen from the scrub pines is rinsed from the skies and I get to take time and focus on indoor projects.  The only downfall for me is that I can’t spend as much time with my chickens, especially in the torrential types of rain that we have had all last night and today.  So what is a girl to do? I prepare myself and the chickens to make weathering the storm a bit easier.

For me, when I know there is rain in the forecast, I love to keep a fresh bouquet of flowers sitting on the kitchen island.  When the gardens are in Summer bloom, I love snipping dahlias, spider flowers, liatris, hydrangeas, poppies, cone flowers and sedum to create lovely focal points.  Yesterday, I did the next best thing.  On my weekly food shopping at Trader Joe’s, I spied one of my favorite flowers, ranunculus, in bouquets.  It was meant to be.  I brought them home and arranged them in a vase.  This would be my cure for the next few days.  Something to glance upon.  Something that makes me smile.  Then I began to focus on the chickens.  I like to make them happy in rainy weather too.

Rainy weather for chickens can equal boredom.  They spend most of the day in the coop and miss the outdoors.  With a few easy measures, I have been able to make these sorts of days more tolerable for the girls.  To the point, where I believe that they do not mind the rain as much.  Don’t get me wrong, the chickens don’t mind a bit of rain, but in my experiences they do not like to be drenched to the bone.

Recipe for Happy Rainy Day Chickens

Cover the run.  On days, when you know rain is ahead, think about covering the run, or a portion of it, with thick plastic.  I pick up a roll of 6mm plastic that comes in a 25 foot long roll in Home Depot’s painting section. The plastic is pretty durable and when covering the run, still allows sunlight to penetrate through to the chickens.    It keeps them nice and dry too.  To cover my A-frame run, I cut the plastic to length.  On both sides of the plastic that runs parallel to the run touching the ground, I staple a 2″x4″ board sized the length of the coop.  These boards act as a counter weights and helps to keep this simple tarp from blowing away in the wind.

Promote Dust bathing.  By keeping an area dry in the run or even adding a small tub filled with soil from the run inside the coop, your girls will spend time dust bathing.  It is entertaining for them.  It also helps to keep them clean and parasite free.  I promise you, there might even be a line waiting to use your portable dust bathing bin.

Keep food and water available.  It is a great idea on rainy days, to move the food inside the coop and have a water source too.  Wet food can harbor mold and bacteria.  Why make your flock go outside when they are hungry or thirsty?

Keep them entertained.  Hang a treat ball.  Make a pinata with a head of cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower. Toss in some weeds roots and all from your garden.  They love dandelions!  Have the girls go on a scavenger hunt.  Try tossing tiny little seeds like sesame and poppy into the dry section of the run or coop.  The smaller seeds are more difficult to find adding a bit more time to the scavenging.

Keep puddles from forming in the run.  Stagnant water is tempting for chickens to drink from.  It harbors harmful bacteria and coccidiosis that can make your chickens sick.  Fill any puddles with straw or pine shavings to soak up the water.

Add a mirror.  A shatterproof mirror will keep the chickens wondering just who that beautiful bird is in the mirror.  Chickens recognize each other by the shape of their combs.  Interestingly, they have never seen their  own combs even though their flock members recognize it by heart.  Sometimes, they think they are meeting a new chicken when indeed it is their own reflection.

Keep them dry.  If your chickens do becomes soaked.  Dry them with a towel, especially the Silkie Bantams.  Their feathers are different than those of your traditional chickens.  They tend to “absorb” water.  It is true.  Wet chickens can catch colds.

Photo Credit:  Tilly’s Nest

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Melissa

Hello friends, welcome! Follow along on our chicken, beekeeping, gardening, crafting and cooking adventures from Cape Cod.

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15 thoughts on “Recipe for Happy Rainy Day Chickens”

  1. I enjoyed this post, thank you. You have given me an idea, I just happen to have a mirror 18" x 30" and I'm going to put it in the new coop when I get it finish. Will mount it lengthwise at floor level on one wall of the coop ( coop is 10' x 10') to keep them busy. Their run has a full roof over it so they can go out in any weather if rain is not blowing hard (run is 10' by 16'). I think they will be happy no matter what the weather. We spoil them terribly but they give us so much joy.

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  2. Thanks for the ideas! It's been raining in Pa the past few days also & I've been trying my best to stave off chicken boredom. Why didn't I think of a mirror?? I'm going shopping so I can be better prepared next time.

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  3. Thanks for the update and information, good points for me to note. I'm working on converting an old tractor shed into my chicken coop. Must add a mirror and some of your other ideas! 😀

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  4. I tried a mirror once. All the girls loved themselves in it. The main trouble was when the Roo finally noticed it and then it was all out war till I took it down. I think the Roo in the mirror was winning the battle.

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  5. I used pay no attention to ranunculus, but that was before I saw your beautiful pictures! I can't believe I never noticed how spectacular these flowers are. Thank you!

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  6. I love bringing flowers inside from the garden. Makes for great outdoor smells inside. Those ranunculus are beautiful. Will getting abage pinata ready to hang this evening.

    @ 3Beeze Homestead

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  7. Hi Melissa,
    I love your first photo, very nice colours. Although we still can't have chickens I love to come here and read along about your flock. Sometimes shouting out to anyone who is nearby some of your tips or facts, like we already have some girls, but I believe one day we will, so I keep myself informed. Thanks for this post and have a good week,
    Maureen x

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  8. I really enjoy your site. I am just starting out in the chicken game and brought 5 chicks home less than a month ago and they started flying quickly, so had to scurry to get a basic coop together for them. It's in the works and your ideas are definitely helping. I have completed all of the extra 4 items on your list to win the prize. My email address is [email protected]. Thank you for your expertise.

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  9. Hi there, love your blog and I would ADORE to have some of the Nesting Box Blend ! Your tip about the mirror makes sense to me and I'm getting one for my feathered babies next time I go off the reservation to shop. 🙂 GREAT idea !! Thanks so much, I plan to visit here often~ Best Regards, Susi

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Sharing an inspired life from the New England seaside. Chickens, Bees, Gardens, Art and Yummy Goodness.