Frost bite

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Kimberlypwrs, Jan 9, 2015.

  1. Kimberlypwrs

    Kimberlypwrs New Egg

    9
    2
    9
    Mar 18, 2014
    Texas
    It appears my rooster has frost bite on his comb :(. I tried to catch him to put some Vaseline on it which is info I found on here and failed catch him, grrr. So now I am sitting here trying to figure out how to prevent this. I live in West Texas, the overnight low last night was low 20's. This is cold, but I didn't think too cold for the chickens, because I read a lot on here and seems a lot of people up north have much much colder temps. As far as ventilation, that was one of my top priorities when building the coop last year. I have ventilation along rafters and at peaks. I also have a wall that opens up above coop and a window that opens, but I have those closed for winter. I believe the temps combined with wind last couple days would be the cause. But we are new to chicken keeping and I am assuming this is frost bite. So I would like to know what you all think about our temps which get as low as 20 F (after tonight will be going back to 30-40's for overnight) the current ventilation, if I went wrong by not putting heat lamp in there (at what temp would you say chickens need heat lamp in coop??) do you think it could be anything else? He does seem healthy in every other way. Thank for any advice!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2015
  2. Kimberlypwrs

    Kimberlypwrs New Egg

    9
    2
    9
    Mar 18, 2014
    Texas
    Can anyone make a suggestion on my ventilation? Was against putting a heat lamp in coop, because chickens have survived for a long time even before electricity. But my rooster appears to be frost bite on his comb :/
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2015
  3. jgoldy2

    jgoldy2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    647
    20
    116
    Jul 8, 2014
    Colorado
    Hi where I live in CO it was really cold last week and my head roster had frostbite on his comb and I got concerned because he is showing in two weeks but the blue is literally coming off
     
  4. AtlantisPeeps

    AtlantisPeeps Chillin' With My Peeps

    630
    36
    113
    May 19, 2014
    US
    That does look like frost bite... You should bring him inside where it's warm, and rub vaseline on his comb. As for temp for a heat lamp, 25degrees or under is usually when you should use one. Rub Vaseline on any of your chickens with large combs to prevent frostbite. Hope I helped!
     
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    29,324
    3,385
    491
    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    yes it looks like significant frostbite. Your coop is pretty, but on the smaller side, and your ventilation where the roof meets the walls looks to be very close to their roosts. Can you lower the roost or block off some of the ventilation around the roost, but keep the high up ventilation? That is good for summer heat, but they probably are getting too cold. Unfortunately I had a couple of roosters last year that suffered some frostbite on combs. Here is a good link on frostbite: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2013/12/frostbit-in-backyard-chickens-causes.html
     
  6. skymama65

    skymama65 Out Of The Brooder

    13
    0
    29
    Sep 17, 2014
    Vermont
    Any hardware store can supply you with insulating foam. It comes in a can with a skinny straw that attaches to the nozzle. Carefully spray along the top edge of board, in the gap space, and watch as it fills the space! Once the foam stops expanding you can determine if you need to add more. I did this with my tiny little pre-fab coop that houses 4 hens. I've since added an old blanket over the coop, covering only 3 sides completely, and then a tarp on top over the whole thing (to hold in their body heat, but not creating humidity inside the coop-- wet and cold kills, but dry cold is ok).
     
  7. Kimberlypwrs

    Kimberlypwrs New Egg

    9
    2
    9
    Mar 18, 2014
    Texas
    Wow thanks for all the suggestions. Eggcessive thank you, the roost is too high! And too close to vents. I will definitely lower the roost or block off the vents above it for now. I am glad I posted pics and feel so bad for not realizing this :( I really wasn't sure if I had too much or not enough ventilation. Now you say my "coop is pretty, but small", almost like it being small is a negative?? It is a bit larger than a 4x5 and I house 4-5 chickens in it, so I thought I had a great size coop for my flock. Would it being smaller have anything to do with the frost bite? Are you saying too much ventilation for its size? I really appreciate everyone's input! This is our first winter with the chickens so I am so appreciative to have input of experienced folks as we learn what it takes to keep and house chickens successfully :) I put a lot of time, focus on chickens needs, and hard work into building this coop all on my own and my top priority was to make it comfortable and safe place for the chickens as well as functional and not just making it look pretty.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2015
  8. skymama65

    skymama65 Out Of The Brooder

    13
    0
    29
    Sep 17, 2014
    Vermont
    I have 4 hens, and a very small pre-fab coop, that is not much bigger than your typical sized dog house. We'd originally intended to have 6 hens, but one chick turned out to be a roo, and he had to go (found him a wonderful farm, with plenty of ladies to keep him busy! lol), and one was killed by the neighbor's dog (effectively ending our intent to allow the chickens to free-range. But I've created a good sized penned area for them).

    Anyway, with a blanket & tarp on top of the coop, which helped insulate, while allowing ventilation, it allowed their body heat to keep the space warm. I have EE's, which are apparently very "cold tolerant" birds, which is part of why we chose them. Their inside water did not freeze on most nights this past winter! During a particular harsh cold-snap however, when temps were -17 degrees F for several nights in a row, I did feel I needed to add some other source of warmth; I ended up putting several 10-hr hand warmers placed inside some old socks, and tossed them in with the girls. I also put a few of them under their water dispenser, just under the outflow part. They survived, with no frostbite or injury throughout the cold-snap. When the cold came around a 2nd time (ya, it was a hard winter here) I didn't even do that much and, Lo and behold, they were fine!

    Considering the size of the coop, a simple light bulb would probably have added just enough extra heat inside. But, even if I'd wanted to add a heat source (other than the hand warmers), I don't have access to electricity, and I certainly can't afford a solar set up, either, so I have no other choice but to let the girls build up their cold tolerance in the fall, and keep their coop from getting too moist. Ultimately, it's about DRAFTS and MOISTURE. Their pee, and breathing, can add a lot of moisture to the air, which is why proper ventilation, up high, is so important. And drafts sweep away any warmth they are generating by snuggling close together, or it flows through their feathering, taking away the warm air they've trapped there.

    Oh, after reading this here, somewhere, I also stuffed a bunch of their soiled bedding (straw and/or wood shavings) directly under the coop (it's only about 6 in. from the ground) and allowed it to compost, stuffing more as the weather got colder, until it was fairly packed. As it composts, it generates heat, directly under the coop! If you have a larger coop, one might simply rake the moist bedding on the floor into a pile once a week, and then simply add plenty of dry material (straw--not hay--wood shavings, etc) over it, then pack it down a little flatter. This would keep the moisture from getting into the air, while allowing it to continue composting and creating a little extra heat inside (just remember to keep adding dry material on top as often as needed).

    I raked out most of my composting straw a few days ago and, indeed, it was still producing heat; in the very center of the packed material it was already completely composted, and ready for my garden!

    Best of luck next winter! I hope this is helpful for someone else here.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by