Should Chickens Be Out In The Rain?

Rain is usually a good thing for many living things. It helps plants grow, provides water for animals, and freshen up the air. As for chickens, when it rains, you may wonder if you should keep your chicken inside or let them out in the rain.

So, should chickens be out in the rain? Chickens are good at determining if the rain is too much for them. They will start to look for shelter when it does. It will come down to each chicken. Some chickens like to be in the rain, while others don’t. For the most part, chickens enjoy light rain as this is when their favorite food such as worms and bugs comes out from the ground.

Do Chickens Like Rain?

It depends on each chicken. Some chickens like the rain, while others don’t. Those that like it when it’s raining will continue to forage for food.

On the other hand, chickens that don’t like the rain will start to seek shelter.

If the rain is light, most chickens will still be out looking for food. They have feathers that are good at repelling water.

When it’s raining, it’s actually beneficial for the chickens. During this time is when bugs, slugs, and worms come to the surface.

Providing Shelter For Chickens During Bad Weather

Chickens know when it’s time to seek shelter when the weather is bad. For this reason, it’s a good idea to provide them shelter in your yard.

If you have free-ranging chickens, they will usually seek shelter until trees, shrubs, and other objects.

If your yard doesn’t have anything that can shield them from the weather, you can create one for them.

Below are some ideas for shelter:

  • Pile large woods on top of each other.
  • Let them use an unused shed or outhouse.
  • Set up a makeshift tent.
  • Let them go under your porch.
  • Set up an outdoor table for them.

When setting up a shelter for them, try to keep the ground area from getting wet. You can place a couple of boards under their shelter to keep their feet from getting wet.

If their feet are in the water for a long time, they could become ill or develop bumblefoot. Bumblefoot is caused when the staphylococcus bacteria infect the foot of the chicken. It will cause swelling, and the chicken will have a hard time walking.

Making Chicken Coops And Runs More Weatherproof

While chickens will happily be outside during the rain, it’s important to provide them shelter too. This will keep them dry and safe when the weather turns harsh.

If you don’t let your chickens free-range, it’s important to ensure the chicken coops and runs are weatherproof.

Some coops are raised above the ground, which provides shelter for the chickens underneath.

However, it’s a good idea to provide them with extra shelter. This means when it’s about to rain, you can cover a tarp over the entire coop and run.

Also, check for leaks along the walls of the coop. If water leaks in, it will cause the coop to become damp. This will cause mold to start growing, which can become harmful for chickens.

When it’s raining, for those that don’t like being inside, they can come and graze in the run.

Can You Keep Chickens Inside If The Weather Is Bad?

Ideally, you should give your chickens the option to choose where they want to be when it’s raining. Chickens are smart and will seek shelter when the rain is too much for them.

Chickens don’t like to be kept in their coop for a long time. If that happens, it can lead to boredom and may cause the chickens to fight each other, and promote bad behavior such as pecking and egg eating.

To prevent that from happening, always provide your chickens with an option to go outside. They’ll come back inside the coop if they can’t handle the rain.

When Should Chickens Not Be Allowed Out In The Rain?

Most of the time, there isn’t any problem with letting the chickens out in the rain.

However, there are some instances that chickens should never be allowed in the rain. This includes:

Chicken is sick – If you have a sick chicken, avoid letting them out in the rain, even if it’s light rain. The water can cause them to become even more ill. It’s best to keep them inside where it’s warm and dry.

Chickens that have lost most of their feathers – Chickens that are molting or ex-battery hens should be kept away from the rain. Provide them with a run that’s covered with a tarp. This will allow them to graze outside and able to go inside the coop when they need to.

Small breeds and less hardy breeds – There are breeds of chicken that don’t do well in cold water. Breeds that are from the dry climate should be kept inside when it’s raining.

Baby and young chickens – Younger chickens have underdeveloped feathers that are not able to withstand the rain. They should be kept inside during a rainstorm.


When it comes to chickens, through evolution, they are able to regulate themselves in the rain. They know when the rain is too much for them and will seek shelter. For the most part, chickens tend to be out in the rain since they know many of their favorite food will be coming up to the surface. It’s a good idea to provide shelter for your chickens, just in case they had enough of the rain.