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Feather footed breeds and winter

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by iajewel, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. iajewel

    iajewel Songster

    Oct 22, 2008
    Corning IA
    I orignally bought some feather footed breeds thinking that the feathers on the feet would make them more winter resistant. I have since found this to be the exact opposite. While none of my clean legged birds have suffered any damage to thier legs or feet historically, this winter I have had entire feet freeze off of my partridge cochins, a Silkie actually got her feet frozen to the ground, via the wet feathers on her feet. (Yes she is ok, but has no feathers on her feet anymore, they are still in the ice) Many have suffered ice balls on th bottoms of thier feet etc.
    Im starting to re-think feather footed birds for this climate.
    Has anyone else had issues partaining to feathers on the legs and feet, and how do you all compare the over all durability of the feather footed breeds to clean legged ones over the winter?

  2. sewincircle

    sewincircle Songster

    Nov 19, 2008
    Central New York
    I have feather footed breads as well. Unfortunately, they are stuck in often. If the temp is too cold I keep them in. I give them fun things to play with like heads of cabbage and such so they dont get bored and pick. I hope yours are okay.
    Jillio likes this.
  3. Chickenaddict

    Chickenaddict Songster

    May 19, 2008
    East Bethel MN
    I have feather footed breeds and a few clean legged breeds. My cochins never have a problem in the winter, I keep their coop warm with a heat lamp and their run covered with several inches of straw down for them to run around on. I also have high perches in the run for them. You might want to try putting some bedding down for them to walk on.
    Jillio likes this.
  4. iajewel

    iajewel Songster

    Oct 22, 2008
    Corning IA
    My birds do have bedding and very clean pens. I don't have heat lamps etc as the birds either sink or swim and for a reason. I think the less over care, and the more natural care makes the flock healthier. I keep things spotlessly clean, de-worm, de-lice etc.. but they do have to have some natural resistance to the world. All but my Cucko Silkies.. My word they are spoiled.. [​IMG]
    When I bought them I knew they were a very domestic breed that would need spoiling.. so the game plans changed with them.
    yet one still managed to get where some ice had melted, then froze and was stuck come morning.
    Jillio likes this.
  5. jab91864

    jab91864 Songster

    Apr 3, 2007
    Northern Michigan
    I've been fortunate that I have not had any issues to date *knocks wood* with any of my feather footed breeds having problems in the winter. The flock is given the choice of going out everyday into the run.

    I would be horrified to find a chicken frozen to the ground by it's feet.... the guilt!!!! Like most folks here I tend to pamper them a little too much compared to a flock of yester-year.

    Although thinking on that aspect how many true barn yard chickens of yester-year had such intense feathering down the legs/feet. I realize my cochins and brahmas etc have been around for a long time as breeds but I think the amt of feathering we now see on the legs/feet is due more to current show standards. Just a thought.

    Sorry I started to ramble....
  6. iajewel

    iajewel Songster

    Oct 22, 2008
    Corning IA
    Quote:You may have hit the nail right on the head. The birds that are getting thier feet wet in the day ( as they can go in or out by choice) then that moisture freezing at night are birds that are extreamly feathered. I pull ice balls off thier feet reguarly. I think you are very right in the days of Grandmas chickens and current show birds could very well be the answer here.
  7. iajewel

    iajewel Songster

    Oct 22, 2008
    Corning IA
    PM.. Yes I was horrified to find a bird with its feet frozen in ice. Stunned! it took quite a while to work the feet out, however the bird is fine, and all is well.

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