….but perhaps not for chickens. The last week or so it’s been pretty much persisting it down, which whilst it’s no bad thing for the garden or the ducks in the garden, it can have its pluses and minuses on the chicken front.
Chickens don’t mind a bit of rain, in fact it’s fairly safe to say that they do seem to welcome a bit of a wash down and don’t mind getting wet, having a good preen afterwards. Despite looking like drown rats they do actually dry out quite quickly given the right sort of shelter.
Things to watch out for are ventilation in the chicken coop. Don’t be tempted to seal the house up against the elements in an attempt to stop the birds ‘getting a chill’ by going to bed wet. Poultry generate an amazing amount of heat when roosting and if you’ve sealed the house up the birds won’t dry out at all, instead the coop will become a warm damp environment – an ideal breeding ground for disease. So keep the ventilation clear and let the birds air dry overnight.
Boggy ground can be another problem for chickens in wet weather, not only will they potentially be standing in a mass of mud, but they could well be traipsing the mud into their living quarters. Whilst not quite a designer look, putting old wooden pallets down in the run and near to the pophole will help get the chickens out of the mud. If possible you could also add a porch to the pophole. Ok, they are unlikely to wipe their feet before entering the house but it will at least keep the mud down a bit.
If pallets aren’t your thing and you prefer something a bit more pleasant looking then a good thick layer of hardwood chips will be help lift the ground level and aid the water drainage. Don’t be tempted to put ornamental bark chippings down though, these will begin to rot down quickly and the resulting fungal growth will mean the chickens are at risk of inhaling large quantities of spores. These spores are bad for the birds health and can in turn cause respiratory problems for them. The classic example is aspergillus which thrives on bark, if ingested by poultry it can cause aspergillosis which is difficult to treat successfully and will cause the slow death of the infected bird. Hardwood chips can often be source cheaply from a local tree surgeon and if that’s not possible then consider putting down sand instead.
As for the ducks…. leave them to it, the saying goes “as happy as a pig in muck” well there’s nothing much happier than a duck in rain & muck too!