Frost Bite...will the chicken know enough to stay inside?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by BBB Becky, Dec 15, 2016.

  1. BBB Becky

    BBB Becky Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 15, 2016
    Georgetown, MA
    This is my first winter with six hens. I am worried about way too many things. First, my water is heated but outside the coop, Second, can I let them out on these freezing days to get to the water or will they get frostbite. Please send your comments.
  2. PeepersMama

    PeepersMama Living in a galaxy far, far away...

    Their water needs to be inside, or as you said, they will likely have issues with this weather. Maybe not frostbite, but they'll just be miserable. If it can't fit in the coop, maybe just get a small heated dog bowl, and just check it and fill it up a couple times a day.

    If you wrap the run completly in gardener's plastic stuff (the stuff you put under flower beds to keep out weeds), top to bottom, that'll at least keep out the wind. As long as there aren't any major drafts out there, then they'll be fine.

    Keeping the water outside will make them not want to go outside to get water. They'll probably get dehydrated, especially if they're a smaller, less-feathered breed, like leghorns, or old english games.
  3. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    Any photos of your coop/run and flock?

    There are many factors to consider for winter time flock care.

    Each of us do things differently and it really all depends on how your set-up is.

    For me, I open the pop door and let them decide if they want to come out or not.
    Most of my run is covered and dry, so having wet feet is usually not a worry. I too have heat (light bulb in a cinder block) under the outside water station, but usually I put warm water in it first thing in the morning.

    Chickens need a lot of water in winter, so if you don't let them out, then make sure they have access to water. If you place water indoors, check for any wet bedding and remove it promptly, moisture in a closed up coop can cause frostbite as well. A winter coop needs to block wind, but have plenty of ventilation to move moisture up and out.

    Having some type of wind block outside is a good idea. Chickens can stay warm, if their feathers are not blown around too much. A wind block can be a simple as a couple of boards propped up for protection, to wrapping areas with plastic. I found some scrap underpinning and attached it to the backside of my coop to block most of the North wind. It's not pretty, but does a good job.

    Here is a really good, comprehensive article that give you some tips on frostbite, treatment and tips for prevention and cold weather care.
  4. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    The thing with frostbite that you need to understand is that it's not usually caused by cold temperatures. It's usually because the coop doesn't have proper ventilation and moisture builds up, condenses on the combs, and freezes. Chickens are very hardy creatures, and even 'light' feathered breeds can do just fine if acclimated to cold. Leave the water where it is and let your birds choose whether to stay in or not.
  5. BBB Becky

    BBB Becky Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 15, 2016
    Georgetown, MA
    Thank you for your comments. I really appreciate them.
  6. chickens really

    chickens really Chicken Obsessed

    Chickens need access to water all the time they are not sleeping.......Yes, let them out to drink.....I keep my feed and water inside all year around......

  7. BBB Becky

    BBB Becky Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 15, 2016
    Georgetown, MA
    Thanks to all of your helpful tips, my chickens made it through a a negative -1 degree night. I added more ventilation (as suggested) since someone said I had too many chickens in my coop. I did coat their combs and wattles with vasoline and let them out in the morning for their water, food and warm oatmeal.

    I am using the deep litter method successfully (I hope).

    I also read the link someone sent on frost bite.

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