Coop Preparedness to Prevent Frostbite

Sydney65

Crowing
Aug 2, 2019
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Indiana
(From the Chicken Health Handbook/Gail Damerow/Storey's Series)- "use wide roosts constructed from 2×4 lumber with the wide surface facing upward, so feet are entirely covered by the body. Low ceilings or roosts close to the ceiling helps traps body heat. Humidity control is important, as humidity w/i a coop ie elevated due to damp litter, fresh droppings, and respiration. Fix leaky drinkers, block entry from rain/snow,keep the outside of doorways cleared of snow so it won’t get tracked inside. Deep litter that’s stirred or topped off frequently absorbs moisture from fresh droppings. Deep sand retains daytime heat to keep the coop somewhat warmer at night. Use dropping board and remove droppings frequently. Respiratory humidity is controlled only via proper ventilation. If condensation collects inside the windows,ventilation needs increased.
 

Sydney65

Crowing
Aug 2, 2019
1,401
2,940
266
Indiana
(From the Chicken Health Handbook/Gail Damerow/Storey's Series)- "use wide roosts constructed from 2×4 lumber with the wide surface facing upward, so feet are entirely covered by the body. Low ceilings or roosts close to the ceiling helps traps body heat. Humidity control is important, as humidity w/i a coop ie elevated due to damp litter, fresh droppings, and respiration. Fix leaky drinkers, block entry from rain/snow,keep the outside of doorways cleared of snow so it won’t get tracked inside. Deep litter that’s stirred or topped off frequently absorbs moisture from fresh droppings. Deep sand retains daytime heat to keep the coop somewhat warmer at night. Use dropping board and remove droppings frequently. Respiratory humidity is controlled only via proper ventilation. If condensation collects inside the windows,ventilation needs increased.
The Vaseline Controversy Coating combs and wattles with petroleum jelly (Vaseline) to prevent frostbite is a matter of some controversy. Whether or not it works depends on just how low the temperature drops and for how long. The coating works in three ways: First, it helps conserve heat that might otherwise dissipate from the comb and wattles. Second, since moisture is what causes frostbite, the coating insulates the comb from moisture and thus from freezing. Third, petroleum jelly freezes at a slightly lower temperature than the cell fluid in a comb or wattles and therefore protects these parts from freezing at temperatures hovering around the freezing point. Note, however, that if the temperature dips much below the freezing point (32°F/0°C), especially for a prolonged period, petroleum jelly will freeze and therefore become useless at preventing frostbite.
 

saysfaa

Songster
Jul 1, 2017
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Upper Midwest, USA
Thank you! I have wondered about why some people think the vaseline works and others think it makes things worse.

There are some good points in the first post. About the sand, though, retaining daytime heat to release at night is offset by retaining nighttime cold into the day. In a climate with sharp temperature differences between day and night and no prolonged deep cold spells, that might have value. It wouldn't here although there may be other reasons to use sand.

I would rather have the better ventilation options a higher ceiling gives than the minuscule temperature (if any) a lower ceiling may give in a properly ventilated coop.

Many good points in both, thanks.

edit to add. I came to this from the recent posts functions. I just noticed this was in the guinea section. I don't know how it makes a difference but in case it does ...
 
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Mixed flock enthusiast

Free Ranging
May 21, 2018
3,714
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676
Stillwater, OK
Thank you! I have wondered about why some people think the vaseline works and others think it makes things worse.

There are some good points in the first post. About the sand, though, retaining daytime heat to release at night is offset by retaining nighttime cold into the day. In a climate with sharp temperature differences between day and night and no prolonged deep cold spells, that might have value. It wouldn't here although there may be other reasons to use sand.

I would rather have the better ventilation options a higher ceiling gives than the minuscule temperature (if any) a lower ceiling may give in a properly ventilated coop.

Many good points in both, thanks.

edit to add. I came to this from the recent posts functions. I just noticed this was in the guinea section. I don't know how it makes a difference but in case it does ...
Probably doesn’t make a lot of difference as we have similar considerations in guinea fowl as compared with chickens. However, guinea roosts are usually higher up as they are more comfortable roosting high. So my guinea roosts are close to the coop “ceiling “, but the ceiling is just a tarp so I don’t expect much accumulation of heat there!
 

Sydney65

Crowing
Aug 2, 2019
1,401
2,940
266
Indiana
Probably doesn’t make a lot of difference as we have similar considerations in guinea fowl as compared with chickens. However, guinea roosts are usually higher up as they are more comfortable roosting high. So my guinea roosts are close to the coop “ceiling “, but the ceiling is just a tarp so I don’t expect much accumulation of heat there!
Have I mentioned it's cold out today? 🥶 Lol. Anyway, I went out and stood in coop, I have about 4" of head space bc roof slants. So 5'9" - or 10"? Roosts are abt 2' from roof, and my "vents" are are. actually the tunnels created by the corrugated steel roof. They allow fresh air to be constantly moving at the ceiling above their heads.
I remember some telling me that wouldn't work 3 yrs ago, but has worked well; the hardcloth prevents intruders, getting through, the air moves freely, the roosts keep them below the draft. No ammonia,no condensation. We did put little windows in to increase airflow when it's hot. I use hemp for bedding - no more dust from zeolite or DE. BUT - I have a much smaller operation here than most, and it is expensive. (anyone losing money on cash crops, look into planting hemp🤷‍♀️).
I may as well toss the vanilla experiment in here as well-I had read that putting little tree vanilla car air fresheners would keep out black flies (buffalo gnats), & Mixed had asked to share results if I did it.
I put one in coop and two in run, and at first, I had zero flies. But it was as short lived as those air fresheners. Didn't hold for a month.
I haven't, but keeping thinking I will try a few things, like getting a bottle of Buggins at TSCto use in coop, which is for buffalo gnats -or make my own.
 

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