Rainy Day Chicken Care

We’re having a drenching autumn rain. It’s miserable out. These days morning is slow to come and now that winter nears, nightfall seems to happen suddenly. On a day like today, it’s hard to believe there’s a sun in the sky at all, and the word dreary is an understatement. The ground is muddy and slippery from fallen leaves. No one wants to go outside.

The goats loathe getting wet. I don’t usually feed them hay during the day. Lazy boys that they are, they’d never venture back into the meadow if they had food in their stall. But when it rains, I give them a flake, or the the poor boys would starve (emphasis added by Caper.)

Chickens don’t mind getting wet, that is, as long as it’s not windy and the rain isn’t cold. Their outer feathers shed water (silkies aren’t waterproof and shouldn’t get wet), but on a day like this most of the hens are inside. The Polish, of course, go outside and let their heads get soaked first. They have very little sense.

Candy joins the flock indoors. It can get boring in there, so I’ve put the last of the wormy kale, and some parsley, from my vegetable garden into the suet feeder (which, by the way, is the perfect way to feed green to your hens. It takes them longer to peck at it and the leaves stay fresh up off of the floor).

I’ve attached the feeder low enough so that Candy can have a nibble, too.

Buffy has no desire to be inside with the rest. She’s old and mellow and wants to be left alone. Under the hutch is dry enough for her.

The Gems are all inside, where there’s plenty of room for everyone. Still, Jasper, who is on the bottom of the pecking order, is showing signs of her low status. So far, Opal and the rest have only pulled out feathers from the base of Jasper’s tail.

But, today I noticed exposed skin, so I treated it with blu-kote, which darkens the skin to make it less attractive to the peckers. It’s also an antispeptic.

To keep the Gems busy and less focused on Jasper, I tossed stale cheerios onto the floor. It’ll take them awhile to hunt and peck for all of the tidbits.

It took less than fifteen minutes to do my rainy day chicken care. I’m back inside, holding a hot cup of tea. On a day like today it’s hard to get motivated to work on my writing projects. Thank goodness for the barn chores which give my day a sense of purpose and accomplishment!


  1. Great post Terry! Dreary is a huge understatement. The poor girls! Same weather here. Great day to sit and sip tea:)

  2. I love checking in with Hencam on a rainy day. Something about those ladies all huddled under the bunny hutch… Chickens sure do have the body language thing all figured out. Those are some MISERABLE hens!

  3. It’s the same way here, looks and feels more like winter than fall.
    The other thing I dislike about rain and chickens is eggs with mud all over them from muddy chicken feet.

    • It’s why I don’t keep cochins (well, except for Pearl who I couldn’t resist. Grey fluff.) Those feathers on the feet carry mud!

  4. My girls don’t mind the rain, as long as they aren’t penned up. They will happily wander around the backyard, getting totally soaked. I just shake my head. Chickens!

  5. I enjoy watching all the gals inside on rainy days – especially Candy invading the hen’s space. Thank you for sharing your chickens with us. Hope you get your eggs from the Gems soon! Love the goats too!

  6. Your days sure are getting shorter. It is just before one in the afternoon here and everybody is in bed for the night. I did look in on the hen cam when I first got up this morning, around 5 a.m., and saw the huddle, and candy up in the coop keeping dry!
    My chicks are a month younger than the gems and I had my fist eggs this week! It has been such a help to follow the gems and know what to expect!. I worry about the one that got pecked! Did the bluekote stop the pecking?

  7. I just have to tell you how much I look forward to your posts. Even when they don’t hold happy news, they always encourage me. Thank you so much for posting even when you “should be” working on your writing projects :)

  8. It does look dreary there, Terry! But everytime I checked yesterday and today, those Polish are running around having a ball! I too look forward to your posts as it is a routine when I get to work. Coffee? Check! Computer on? Check! HenBlog? Double check!

  9. If chickens don’t mind getting wet, where did the phrase “madder than
    a wet hen” come from? Maybe they never heard of it.

  10. I hate these dreary days too, but your henblog and cam reallycheer me up and I thank you for that. In regards to plucking, I have cockatiels and they pluck each other too and I have to seperate them. I feel so bad for Jasper that she is at the bottom of the pecking order. I like to look at this too to cheer me up, techno chicken! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8410qUT4QtA