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At what temperature does frostbite start?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by BeardedLadyFarm, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. BeardedLadyFarm

    BeardedLadyFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 31, 2009
    Cobleskill NY
    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.
     
  2. cowman910

    cowman910 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 1, 2009
    Suffolk County,NY
    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
     
  3. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

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    Oct 13, 2007
    California
    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)
     
  4. BeardedLadyFarm

    BeardedLadyFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 31, 2009
    Cobleskill NY
    Quote: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.
     
  5. dacjohns

    dacjohns People Cracker Upper

    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.
     
  6. BeardedLadyFarm

    BeardedLadyFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 31, 2009
    Cobleskill NY
    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.
     
  7. CityChook

    CityChook Chillin' With My Peeps

    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.
     
  8. BeardedLadyFarm

    BeardedLadyFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 31, 2009
    Cobleskill NY
    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.
     
  9. cowman910

    cowman910 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 1, 2009
    Suffolk County,NY
  10. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    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????
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2009

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