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At what temperature does frostbite start?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Yes, I understand that humidity is a factor.

I have a few more chickens than I "should" in my coop, although there is no fighting, and there are no signs of poor health. It is clean and well ventilated. I have decided to redesign next spring, and I am considering an open front, three sided  coop. Assuming maximum ventilation is occurring, how cold can chickens tolerate before combs get frostbitten?

I have a couple that insist on roosting out in their run at night, and we've been getting into the low 20's. I usually move them into the coop when I check on them before bed. They seem fine, and aren't even huddled together. They're toasty as can be under those feathers.

Formerly "PhiladelphiaPhlock" but I no longer live in Philadelphia. Currently in Cobleskill, NY, but hoping to buy a farm in VT in the near near future.

 

Breeding Wheaten Ameraucanas, Cuckoo Marans, Blue/Black Copper Marans, Seramas, and Olive Eggers.

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Formerly "PhiladelphiaPhlock" but I no longer live in Philadelphia. Currently in Cobleskill, NY, but hoping to buy a farm in VT in the near near future.

 

Breeding Wheaten Ameraucanas, Cuckoo Marans, Blue/Black Copper Marans, Seramas, and Olive Eggers.

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post #2 of 10

well its been in the 20s down here and my BR roo has black on his wattle and comb.... we also just got three feet of snow

post #3 of 10

Frostbite on a chicken comb is caused when the excess moisture in the air freezes. 

So its something that would depend on both the humidity level and the temp.  Those with lower humidity can get to a lower temp before frostbite happens.  Those with high humidity would start seeing frostbite much sooner (warmer temps)

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Everything I say is fully substantiated by my own opinion!
BYC member #4418
http://cherylmercer.blogspot.com/
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post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildsky 

Frostbite on a chicken comb is caused when the excess moisture in the air freezes. 

So its something that would depend on both the humidity level and the temp.  Those with lower humidity can get to a lower temp before frostbite happens.  Those with high humidity would start seeing frostbite much sooner (warmer temps)


And I suppose what temperature a comb will actually freeze is more dependent on the breed or size of comb than the actual temperature.

I wonder how far north people successfully use open sided coops. It seem that as long as there is adequate draft and wind protection they could be used quite far north.

Formerly "PhiladelphiaPhlock" but I no longer live in Philadelphia. Currently in Cobleskill, NY, but hoping to buy a farm in VT in the near near future.

 

Breeding Wheaten Ameraucanas, Cuckoo Marans, Blue/Black Copper Marans, Seramas, and Olive Eggers.

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Formerly "PhiladelphiaPhlock" but I no longer live in Philadelphia. Currently in Cobleskill, NY, but hoping to buy a farm in VT in the near near future.

 

Breeding Wheaten Ameraucanas, Cuckoo Marans, Blue/Black Copper Marans, Seramas, and Olive Eggers.

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post #5 of 10

I am picturing a coop with four walls closed, one wall open or non existent.  Is this correct?

Assuming what I'm picturing is correct I don't think ventilation is an issue.  Protection from the elements is the issue.  You will need to protect from the elements.

Your question is what temperature frostbite will occur. 
In humans frostbite can occur within 30 minutes at 10 degrees with a 55 mph wind.

I don't know what the threshold for chickens is.  One site I saw says 20*.  Another site says windchill rather than ambient temperature is a problem.  I think the author doesn't really understand the relationship between windchill and ambient temperature. 

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/windchill/

Hope this helps.

You might not be able to keep a bird from landing on your head but you can keep it from building a nest.

"My doctor says that I have a malformed public-duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fiber, and that I am therefore excused from saving Universes."
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You might not be able to keep a bird from landing on your head but you can keep it from building a nest.

"My doctor says that I have a malformed public-duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fiber, and that I am therefore excused from saving Universes."
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post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

What I'm imagining is a three sided structure with a roof, so that one entire side is open to the air. Perhaps some sort of roll down wind break if a storm rolls through. Of course the open side would need to be sheltered from prevailing winds to be successful.

I saw a post on here not too long ago about an old manual that advocated 3-sided coops exclusively for housing chickens. I'm thinking of just enclosing one more wall of my run  (2 walls are currently solid) to make it all into one large coop with ventilation galore. My girls are out all day every day, so the run isn't really being used.

Formerly "PhiladelphiaPhlock" but I no longer live in Philadelphia. Currently in Cobleskill, NY, but hoping to buy a farm in VT in the near near future.

 

Breeding Wheaten Ameraucanas, Cuckoo Marans, Blue/Black Copper Marans, Seramas, and Olive Eggers.

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Formerly "PhiladelphiaPhlock" but I no longer live in Philadelphia. Currently in Cobleskill, NY, but hoping to buy a farm in VT in the near near future.

 

Breeding Wheaten Ameraucanas, Cuckoo Marans, Blue/Black Copper Marans, Seramas, and Olive Eggers.

Reply
post #7 of 10

I'm not familiar with the weather in Philly. I know that a 3 sided coop would not work here in MN. My girls can tolerate below zero temps here in MN with no frostbite (my coop got as cold as -5F last season), but my coop is dry and draft free and we have relatively low humidity in the wintertime. Just for reference, I have Buff Orps and my coop seems to hold around 10F when the temps dip around 0.

My friends all think I've flown the coop....
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My friends all think I've flown the coop....
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post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

I don't have a thermometer in my coop, but it rarely drops below 20 here. We do get a couple of snaps into the teens, but not much lower. Our record lows for any given day are in the single digits, and 25 seems to be the average low for January, which is our coldest month. Despite the 2 feet of snow on the ground, it's not uncommon to not have a frost until Christmas.

Those girls are tougher than I gave them credit for.

Formerly "PhiladelphiaPhlock" but I no longer live in Philadelphia. Currently in Cobleskill, NY, but hoping to buy a farm in VT in the near near future.

 

Breeding Wheaten Ameraucanas, Cuckoo Marans, Blue/Black Copper Marans, Seramas, and Olive Eggers.

Reply

Formerly "PhiladelphiaPhlock" but I no longer live in Philadelphia. Currently in Cobleskill, NY, but hoping to buy a farm in VT in the near near future.

 

Breeding Wheaten Ameraucanas, Cuckoo Marans, Blue/Black Copper Marans, Seramas, and Olive Eggers.

Reply
post #9 of 10

i just found this site http://www.poultryhelp.com/blackspots.html i'm not sure if this helps you but it says that some black spots that look like frost bite are actually a disease

post #10 of 10

I don't see how an open air coop in Pennsylvania would work??  Unless it had three SUPER deep sides, I don't see how you would be able to keep cold drafts/breezes away from the chickens????


Edited by teach1rusl - 12/22/09 at 3:42pm

Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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