Advice needed - small amount of frostbite found on rooster's comb

nickyblase

Chirping
8 Years
Apr 7, 2013
26
16
87
Hi All,

We had a pretty good snowstorm the last day and a half and I ended up leaving my birds in the coop all day yesterday. I shoveled them out this morning and looked them all over and noticed that my rooster had a small amount of frostbite on his comb. All of my birds are 2020 hatches, so all are less than a year old. I have ventilation high up, but based on Rodney's comb, I'm thinking I will be adding more in the Spring. In the interim though, I'm looking for ideas on what I should do to get through the current winter (I'm in New England, so it gets good and cold here). Coop is wood, uninsulated, with deep shavings bed on the floor. I use a 5Gal bucket with nipples for water, so there isn't evaporation that goes into the air from their coop waterer.

Should I install a computer fan in the vent pointing out so the interior coop (humid) air gets pushed outside? I have a bluetooth thermometer/hygrometer, so I could probably set up some IFTTT rules to have the fan turn on when the humidity gets above x%.

and/or

Should I put in a couple of the heat panels or one of those dog house heaters to keep the inside of the coop just above freezing? I'm not looking to have the coop warm as I know that is bad for the birds, I'd only want it to be able to stay slightly above 32 when needed.

Any other ideas?

Thanks!
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
34,652
282,475
1,642
NY Southern Tier
My Coop
My Coop
Hi All,

We had a pretty good snowstorm the last day and a half and I ended up leaving my birds in the coop all day yesterday. I shoveled them out this morning and looked them all over and noticed that my rooster had a small amount of frostbite on his comb. All of my birds are 2020 hatches, so all are less than a year old. I have ventilation high up, but based on Rodney's comb, I'm thinking I will be adding more in the Spring. In the interim though, I'm looking for ideas on what I should do to get through the current winter (I'm in New England, so it gets good and cold here). Coop is wood, uninsulated, with deep shavings bed on the floor. I use a 5Gal bucket with nipples for water, so there isn't evaporation that goes into the air from their coop waterer.

Should I install a computer fan in the vent pointing out so the interior coop (humid) air gets pushed outside? I have a bluetooth thermometer/hygrometer, so I could probably set up some IFTTT rules to have the fan turn on when the humidity gets above x%.

and/or

Should I put in a couple of the heat panels or one of those dog house heaters to keep the inside of the coop just above freezing? I'm not looking to have the coop warm as I know that is bad for the birds, I'd only want it to be able to stay slightly above 32 when needed.

Any other ideas?

Thanks!
Can you please post pictures of your coop, inside and out? Best to know what exactly you have before offering suggestions.
How many birds are in the coop and what are the dimensions?
 

jreardon1918

Crowing
5 Years
Jul 13, 2016
879
1,600
286
Southeast, MA
My Coop
My Coop
Can you please post pictures of your coop, inside and out? Best to know what exactly you have before offering suggestions.
How many birds are in the coop and what are the dimensions?
If you could also give us an approximate location, that too would be helpful. SE Mass, NH White mountains... I usually say, near Gillette Stadium. Speaking of a rough go. ;)
 

nickyblase

Chirping
8 Years
Apr 7, 2013
26
16
87
I'm in Southern coastal Maine. The coop is 8.5 ft x 6.5 ft x approx 8'tall.
I have one rooster and six other standard sized birds (largest is a standard Buff hen, for reference). The rest are on the very small side of standard or bantams. Total # of birds is 17. They all free range during the day.

The pics aren't very good, but hopefully you will get the idea. I use PDZ on my poop trays, which get cleaned out every 24-48 hours.

BTW, I took some photos of my rooster when I went out to take pics of the coop, and the lil' man is making me a liar. I now see no sign of frost bite, so maybe it was dirt or something. His comb looks totally normal.

Nonetheless, I think I would like to entertain the option for either getting coop temps to stay just above 32, or improve circulation until I can put in another vent in Spring.
 

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jreardon1918

Crowing
5 Years
Jul 13, 2016
879
1,600
286
Southeast, MA
My Coop
My Coop
I would think a coop near the South Maine coast, doesn't need heating. YMMV.

It looks like more ventilation would help. I would keep the window open except when snow and rain are flying. Better yet, put up an awning or shutter. That would allow the window to be open pretty much all the time. Also, maybe add some side vents. A window in the human door. Good luck.
 

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nickyblase

Chirping
8 Years
Apr 7, 2013
26
16
87
Thanks for the input!

Coincidentally, those were things I was planning to do in Spring, but I can try to at least put one in the man door on a warmer Winter day.

As an interim step until I am able to do that, should I put in a small computer fan pushing air out the vent, or would that not really make any difference?
 

Sally PB

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Aug 7, 2020
8,257
36,045
933
Belding, MI
I can't see where the roost is in relation to the windows. I was concerned with my birds getting a draft from the ventilation, since any air movement will go right over the roost. So I lowered the roost to make sure that their heads would be below any breeze. Don't know if this is something that can help you, but there it is.

Just saw your second post. I wouldn't put in a fan. Warmer air rises, and so does ammonia. They will naturally pull moisture out with them. I would think a fan would create too much draft.
 

21hens-incharge

Moderator
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Mar 9, 2014
26,751
111,159
1,722
Northern Colorado
I can't see where the roost is in relation to the windows. I was concerned with my birds getting a draft from the ventilation, since any air movement will go right over the roost. So I lowered the roost to make sure that their heads would be below any breeze. Don't know if this is something that can help you, but there it is.

Just saw your second post. I wouldn't put in a fan. Warmer air rises, and so does ammonia. They will naturally pull moisture out with them. I would think a fan would create too much draft.

OP is looking at a very small fan (computer fan) it won't make a draft.

I'm in Southern coastal Maine. The coop is 8.5 ft x 6.5 ft x approx 8'tall.
I have one rooster and six other standard sized birds (largest is a standard Buff hen, for reference). The rest are on the very small side of standard or bantams. Total # of birds is 17. They all free range during the day.

The pics aren't very good, but hopefully you will get the idea. I use PDZ on my poop trays, which get cleaned out every 24-48 hours.

BTW, I took some photos of my rooster when I went out to take pics of the coop, and the lil' man is making me a liar. I now see no sign of frost bite, so maybe it was dirt or something. His comb looks totally normal.

Nonetheless, I think I would like to entertain the option for either getting coop temps to stay just above 32, or improve circulation until I can put in another vent in Spring.

In addition to the places @jrearden1918 indicated above the nest boxes on the side opposite the window would be a good place for a decent sized vent. You can add baffles if you are concerned about draft/wind.
Many people are using the "cut to size" furnace filter material as a buffer to slow any potential wind. I would caution that if doing that the vent should be larger.
 

nickyblase

Chirping
8 Years
Apr 7, 2013
26
16
87
It's a little hard to see in the second pic, but the roost bar height is such that their heads would come just to the base of the window. The vent is at the very top of the window, probably ~3 feet above their heads, if not more.

I could trim the piece of plexi that is covering the window to make a larger opening. I could also, come to think of it... remove a piece of the wood that is covering the other window, above the perpendicular roosting bars. That too is well above their heads I just covered the whole thing thinking it would be too much open air in there.
 

21hens-incharge

Moderator
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Mar 9, 2014
26,751
111,159
1,722
Northern Colorado
It's a little hard to see in the second pic, but the roost bar height is such that their heads would come just to the base of the window. The vent is at the very top of the window, probably ~3 feet above their heads, if not more.

I could trim the piece of plexi that is covering the window to make a larger opening. I could also, come to think of it... remove a piece of the wood that is covering the other window, above the perpendicular roosting bars. That too is well above their heads I just covered the whole thing thinking it would be too much open air in there.

OMGOODNESS! You had it covered so well I didn't even think a window was there!

Yes open that one up too! Even if you cover the lower 2/3rds of it it will be a huge help.
 

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