|Wet Hen from Six Orange Carrots website|
Tropical depressions and hurricanes can pound our area with persistent rain for days. This can create three problems, wet birds, wet feed and wet litter. Chickens do not like being wet (ever hear "madder than a wet hen") and wet feathers can alter the appearance of a hen and lead to an attack on it by the others. Wet birds are more susceptible to disease, so the coop needs to provide a dry retreat for the hens. Wet food spoils so you need ways to store and deliver feed that remains dry. Finally chicken droppings become more obnoxious and smelly when they get wet, so work on a design that keeps litter as dry as possible. If your yard floods, this may mean a little elevation.
If you do not have a movable coop:
1) Check its stability and consider using screw-anchors and rope or webbing to better anchor it.
2) Make sure feed is in a container and location that will not get wet. Bring it in the house if need be.
3) Consider adding temporary panels to reduce wind driven rain, but remember the birds need good ventilation -- don't wrap it in polyethylene and cook them -- they need air.
4) Set aside dry bedding material so that after the rain stops you can get birds up out of the mud.
5) Plan on keeping them cooped up and off the ground for awhile.
6) Have a system to provide several days food and water to the birds if you have to evacuate.
|Projected path of Irene as of 5:00 pm Monday|