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Frozen Chickens with frozen feet...what can I do? HELP! - Page 3

post #21 of 42

As you've already figured out, it's important to keep working on the draft issue.  They have a very hard time maintaining their body temperatures when air is blowing on their exposed skin, cooling it more and ruffling their feathers, letting warm air out.

In freezing temperatures, they need to at least have a draft free area to roost in and to hang out in during the day to warm up.  Sometimes people will make a little covered area around the roost, to keep the chickens warmer.  Maybe you can make a sheltered area within the coop, if you can't get the entire coop draft proofed, yet.  Plastic and cardboard can block drafts, as well as wood.  They need an area with three sides and a roof, to prevent an area from having a draft and also keep in more of the heat they generate.  Since they're in a predator protected area inside, you don't need expensive materials to block drafts, just something that won't let the wind through.  It sounds like you are working on it.  Just keep at it.  I hope you don't have any more losses.

Did you mention what you have for roosts?  Do they have wide wooden roosts that they use?  Wood is warmer than pvc or metal to stand on.  The width helps them cover their toes with their body feathers when they crouch down roosting.  Do all your chickens roost at night?  Sometimes when you add chickens to a flock, the newer ones aren't allowed to roost with the original flock and that can be a problem, too.  Do you think that could be an issue with your newer chickens?

post #22 of 42

hugs  Pour hot (but not scalding) water, and melt the ice.  Then, take the chicken(s) inside to a warm room and keep them inside for a few days.  Hope this helps!

  2 silkies, 7 Standards, 1 Rabbit, A lab... 

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  2 silkies, 7 Standards, 1 Rabbit, A lab... 

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post #23 of 42

Do you have some thick bedding in the coop?  Thick, thick bedding to insulate some from the cold ground.

post #24 of 42

Use shavings (bed several inches deep on the floor and put flakes of hay on top of that for them to pick through.  As they spread it out it not only keeps them busy but adds another layer of insulation to the floor.  Hanging a heat lamp in the shed will help as well.  I agree with the PP in regards to the roost. 

My husband insulated the walls and ceiling of my chicken house.  That along with shavings and hay on the floor made a huge difference.  Even when the temps are below zero outside the temp inside the coop hasn't dipped below freezing.  Its been holding steady at 40 degrees.

post #25 of 42

This is an area where new keepers often make well-intentioned, but horrible mistakes that result in trauma to the birds. First and foremost- DO NOT SEAL UP THE COOP!!!!! That is GUARANTEED to give you frostbite and birds in a great deal of pain. Freezing temps DO NOT cause frostbite- moisture freezing on tissue causes frostbite. Coops that are wrapped up as tight as a drum keep all of the moisture from breath and dropping contained and can result in frostbite even at temps just below freezing. A VERY well ventilated coop will keep the birds safe and comfortable and free of frostbite at least down to zero, probably lower. The key is NOT keeping the coop warm- it is keeping it DRY. I keep my Dutch bantams (wafer thin combs) in an unheated building with two 4' square openings at one end and a third 5' square opening at the other. The temps often drop down into the single digits and even below zero. I have had no, zero, none, zip frostbite- not even a point. These are showbirds that cost a few hundred dollars so I would not risk them if I thought they would not be safe and comfortable. On the other hand- I DID have two LF roosters that lost 70% of their combs because we had an early cold snap (30 deg) and the window was left closed on the coop (the top vent was still open).

Secondly, heating a coop to 20-30 degrees above the outside temperature is extremely dangerous and very stressful for the birds. They cannot get used to cold temps when they are kept warm during the night and then allowed out in the cold during the day. That fluctuation is a great way to weaken them and predispose them to falling ill. New keepers sometimes cannot get past projecting THEIR feeling on the birds. It simply does not work that way. These are not things I am making up. They are facts about poultry. My birds have no problem with the cold- silkies, frizzles, various other breeds, all out running around in the snow and ice- happily! When do they have problems? In the HEAT of summer.

For the birds' sake- PLEASE give them ample ventilation. Not drafts- but there needs to be plenty of air moving through the coop all the time to keep it dry. Sealing up every crack and crevice is a recipe for disaster.

Copper Black Marans, Silver Sebrights, Dutch Bantams, LF Buff Cochins, BLRW, Showgirls and a few Odds and Ends
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Copper Black Marans, Silver Sebrights, Dutch Bantams, LF Buff Cochins, BLRW, Showgirls and a few Odds and Ends
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post #26 of 42

Wow, I can't believe they got frozen feet from the temps being in the teens.  My chickens would be very grateful for temps that high.  It was -22 here the other night and I had one heat lamp on my chickens in an uninsulated coop.  They go outside and have a party if it gets above 20.  And if it's not at least below zero they get no heat lamp.

Call Ducks, LF Orpingtons, Barnevelders, Bantam Cochins, Bantam Faverolles

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post #27 of 42

I agree- something just doesn't add up. It was 1 degree here the other morning and all my birds are fine. I have never lost a bird to cold unless it was sick already. In order for the feet to be frozen there HAD to be moisture. This is physics, not my opinion. Yesterday our high was 17 and all my birds were outside happily scratching in the snow.

Copper Black Marans, Silver Sebrights, Dutch Bantams, LF Buff Cochins, BLRW, Showgirls and a few Odds and Ends
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Copper Black Marans, Silver Sebrights, Dutch Bantams, LF Buff Cochins, BLRW, Showgirls and a few Odds and Ends
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post #28 of 42

There are a number of variables in all these scenarios -- You all live in different places, and the humidity is going to vary greatly.  Please remember, different breeds are much more cold hardy than others.

Just because you haven't had it happen doesn't mean it can't happen to someone else in even warmer temperatures than yours.

I got frostbite on both feet when I got stuck on a ski lift up on an exposed cliff.  I had very good wool socks on and the humidity was low (it was actually sunny that day).  My feet were dry.  But I can tell you first hand what frost bite is and feels like and it damaged the nerves in my toes.  I have problems to this day.

Please be nice to our fellow members.  Everyone has their own situation.  Instead of telling them you can't understand how it could have happened (regardless what you think, it DID happen), just give them advice on what to do with injured birds and some advice on how to prevent it from happening again.  It could be a heat lamp would be a great solution in their case.

I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my wonderful husband, 4 horses, 2 dogs, 3 cats, and, 21 young hens and a beautiful Black Copper Marans rooster.  Who could ask for more?  Okay, I want more!
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I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my wonderful husband, 4 horses, 2 dogs, 3 cats, and, 21 young hens and a beautiful Black Copper Marans rooster.  Who could ask for more?  Okay, I want more!
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post #29 of 42

I would be devistated if my chickens' feet froze.  I'm glad they are reaching out for help on this Forum.  I just think there is something we're missing here.  Chickens are more cold hardy than that.  Maybe it was the wind, or humidity.  But the temperature wasn't totally to blame.  It was below freezing, yes, but there was certainly more in the equation.  It's a matter of finding what needs to be done, whether it's deeper litter, less humidity or cutting down on drafts.   I know my chickens do well up here because I keep cold hardy breeds but I also have deep litter and a well ventilated coop.   And even though I did have a chicken coop burn down a couple of years ago, I am back to using a heat lamp occasionally.   It's just secured much better now.  There is a lot of criticizm about doing this but I can't leave my chickens in -20 and expect them not to be suffering.

Call Ducks, LF Orpingtons, Barnevelders, Bantam Cochins, Bantam Faverolles

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post #30 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by wsdareme 

lease be nice to our fellow members.  Everyone has their own situation.  Instead of telling them you can't understand how it could have happened (regardless what you think, it DID happen), just give them advice on what to do with injured birds and some advice on how to prevent it from happening again.  It could be a heat lamp would be a great solution in their case.


I really do not know what you mean. This has nothing to do with being nice or mean. I am talking about facts regarding poultry care. If you are not interested in FACTS about poultry care then say so. Post a message saying "I really don't care what the facts are, I only want to be told I am doing everything right". Sorry- not going to happen here. Healthy birds under healthy conditions do NOT die because temps drop to the teens. Heat lamps in the teens are completely unneccessary. Telling someone that it is normal is wrong and irresposible. What gets me is that so many people around here always claim that their chickens are all that matter yet  all they care about is THEIR OWN FEELINGS!  Human feet are NOT the same thing as chicken feet. I really do not understand what is so difficult about this. Human feet NEED to me kept warm or they will get frostbite. Many, many species of wildfowl, from which chickens originated, are very cold hardy. I will say it again- Healthy birds do NOT drop dead from one night of cold temps. They do not drop dead from multiple nights of cold temps.  If you choose to rebuke this and think otherwise it is fine with me but it is only because of what you want to believe. My birds, and most all others' throughout the colder areas of the US, typically do not get temps above freezing for weeks at a time and do just fine. If you want to truly care for your birds properly and give them HEALTHY conditions then deal with the facts, not your feelings. Here in New England it is not uncommon to go from warm to extremely cold much of the time throughout fall and spring. The average poultry keeper does not lose birds because of it. Your choice- learn how to keep poultry correctly or be coddled into thinking that no matter what you do it is correct and continue to post about how your birds die unexpectedly. Simple choice- your birds' life or your ego. Either take care of yourself or your birds.


Edited by MaransGuy - 12/16/10 at 6:11pm
Copper Black Marans, Silver Sebrights, Dutch Bantams, LF Buff Cochins, BLRW, Showgirls and a few Odds and Ends
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Copper Black Marans, Silver Sebrights, Dutch Bantams, LF Buff Cochins, BLRW, Showgirls and a few Odds and Ends
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