Hurricane Prep and Your Flock

by Blaire G

Published July 3, 2024

Hurricane season means the potential for high winds, flooding, and power outages. Chickens, like any other pets or livestock, need special consideration to keep them safe during severe weather.

Category 5 super typhoon from outer space view. The eye of the hurricane. Some elements of this image furnished by NASA

Don’t Wait to Prepare

Hurricane season is from June through November. Getting started on preparations before or early in the season is a great idea. From the time a hurricane is announced to the time it hits land is usually less than a week. In that short time people will rush to complete their preparations. Building materials, feed, and other necessities could become scarce if you wait until a storm is approaching.

The base of a chicken coop elevated on cinder blocks, providing protection from potential flooding. The coop's wooden structure is visible along with the blocks supporting it.

Elevate the Coop

Flash flooding is common with hurricanes and tropical storms and can be dangerous for your flock. Consider elevating your coop off the ground. You can build it with wood stilts, or use cinder blocks or pavers to get it off the ground. Consider providing extra roosting bars in the coop and run so your chickens can get out of any standing water. Flood waters can take several days to subside after a hurricane. Keeping your flock dry is important!

Be Ready for High Winds

Assess your coop as it stands. Are there any loose boards, hinges or latches that need to be fixed? Now is the time.

A side view of a chicken coop elevated on cinder blocks, showing the coop door slightly ajar and a latch that needs to be secured. A chicken is walking nearby on the ground.
Red ground anchors lying on the ground, ready to be used for securing a chicken coop or run against high winds. Several chickens are seen pecking around in the background.

Measure and purchase plywood or plastic/metal panels to cover doors and windows, just like you would your home. Anchoring the coop to the ground can be done with ground anchors and ratchet straps. If your chickens have a caged run or tractor, prepare to anchor those to the ground as well.

Power Outages

Many people will lose power for days, if not weeks following a hurricane. This means ventilation fans and coop lights won’t work. Make sure your coop has some manual vents you can open for crossflow. If you are brooding chicks, check out our blog post on Surviving a power outage with young chicks.

Inside the Coop

When a hurricane is inevitable, double up on the absorbent, dry bedding inside the coop. Your chickens will be confined for a period of time while the storm passes and things could get messy! The right bedding will help them stay dry, clean and comfortable. Make sure all roosting bars are secure. Remove any unnecessary items from inside the coop such as swings, decorations or curtains that could potentially injure the chickens.

 A chicken coop with a green tarp covering the top, providing shade and protection. The tarp is securely attached to the coop frame. This tarp should be removed in the case of a hurricane.

During a Category 1-3 Hurricane

Check your local news station for updates on when your area will see the worst weather. Plan to get your chickens in their coop with time to spare. (You do not want to be chasing chickens around once the wind and rain picks up!) Provide food and water for your chickens for up to 48 hours while they are confined. Attach the protective panels mentioned earlier to the doors and windows to protect the coop from flying debris. Be sure to leave a few openings for ventilation. Remove anything loose such as tarps or shade cloths, before a storm approaches. Your chickens should be content inside the coop during the hurricane as they are familiar and feel safest there. There is no need to check on them during the storm; doing so could put you in danger! Trust that you have done your prep work and they are likely eating and sleeping like normal.

chickens in a chicken coop. barred rock and buff orpingtons with food and water. safe from the storm.

Category 4 or 5

If you must evacuate for a strong hurricane, this will present a challenge. If you can take them with you, poultry crates with good ventilation are the safest choice for transporting your flock. If you cannot bring your birds, you will need to provide them with the safest shelter possible. The best option is to confine them to a room or building with few windows on higher ground. They will need at least 2 weeks worth of provisions because you may not be able to access your property for some time after a category 4 or 5 hurricane. If you don’t have a shelter like this on your property, ask on social media or local animal shelters if anyone can help safeguard your flock temporarily.

After the Storm

When it is safe to do so, check on your chickens and let them out to stretch! Check for any injuries and treat them promptly. Meyer Hatchery’s Vital Packs are perfect for providing extra vitamins and electrolytes to help your birds feel back to normal.

Vital Pack Plus vitamin and mineral pack from Meyer Hatchery
Poultry Transportation Crate in mustard yellow from Meyer Hatchery
Naturally grown hemp pet bedding from Meyer Hatchery Hemp bedding in chicken coop

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