Frost on my chickens back feathers. Should I be concerned?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ElCerritoPlace, Jan 1, 2014.

  1. ElCerritoPlace

    ElCerritoPlace Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 17, 2013
    This is my first winter with chickens. We have had a very cold December with nightly temps consistently below zero and highs either still below zero or in single digits. The last couple nights temps have reached -21 to -10. I don't heat my coop, but the night it reached -21 I did put a lamp out there. I have 6 standard chickens in a 8x4 coop. I've noticed in the morning the chickens all have frost on their feathers between their shoulder blades. Just one little patch 2x1 inches. What does this mean? I have the gable vents open, they are approximately 8x8 inches. But I close up the door to the run. Too much moisture? Not enough venting?

    I do keep food and water in the coop although the water is not heated.

    Any thoughts? Thanks!
     
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    I think you're on the right track thinking about too much humidity. I have 17 chickens in an 8x16' coop, with the ceiling about 8' high. It's not completely tight, and I also have one window tilted open about 2" at the top. I have had no problems with frost or frostbite. We have been experiencing temps like yours.
     
  3. ElCerritoPlace

    ElCerritoPlace Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 17, 2013
    Just wondering do chickens sleep with their heads tucked back like you see ducks and geese sleep? Could it be frost from their breath that I see on their feathers between their shoulders?

    if it was a moisture issue would I have seen frostbite on the chickens combs, given that we reached -20 to -24F on several occasions this winter?
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Chickens tuck their heads under their wings and their breath condenses causing a bit of "frosting" between the shoulder blades. I also noticed it when we were in the deep freeze. It took a while to figure out what was causing it. Not a concern.
     
  5. ElCerritoPlace

    ElCerritoPlace Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Great! Even though I was trying not to worry, it still bugged me that I didn't know what it was from. Thanks!
     

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