Frostbit chicken wants to be outside?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Mrs. Linkletter, Dec 18, 2010.

  1. Mrs. Linkletter

    Mrs. Linkletter New Egg

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    Jun 10, 2010
    WI
    Hullo! I just posted a ventilation query in the 'coop and maintenance' forum, but I have another question for you all. One of my RIRs has a frostbitten comb (just became evident this morning), but wants to be outdoors. We live in Wisconsin where it is currently 15degrees. I've rubbed vaseline into her comb. Is it okay for her and the other nine girls to be outdoors? The coop temperature is currently in the mid-20's. We try to keep it at or slightly above 15deg at night.

    Thanks!
     
  2. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    May 8, 2007
    Wisconsin
    In these temperatures, I let them decide where they want to be. If they get too cold, they come back inside and hang out in the coop, until they feel like going back out.
     
  3. Mrs. Linkletter

    Mrs. Linkletter New Egg

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    Jun 10, 2010
    WI
    Thanks Woodland Woman. I didn't know if the chickens would 'know' what's good for them. They seem to like being outdoors so much, that I was afraid they might stay out to their own detriment.
     
  4. True Grit

    True Grit Chillin' With My Peeps

    My situation is like yours Mrs.Linkletter but I tend to think mine got a little frostbite when they were outside in the run on the really cold days last weekend. Do you think it is possible for them to get frostbite just because it's -8 F (-20 C)? That is what I'm thinking so I probably should have shut them up in the coop that day but my heated waterer is outside. I'm surprised they didn't go back inside when it was that cold out. Their run is encased in plastic with ventilation at the top and straw over sand.
     
  5. abhaya

    abhaya Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 5, 2010
    cookeville, tn
    I would let them decide.
     
  6. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    May 8, 2007
    Wisconsin
    Flocks and individual chickens can have their own likes and dislikes. Some are really bothered by snow and others don't seem to mind it at all. It's the same thing with rain. Cold tolerance can be different, too.

    The thing I mainly watch out for are young chickens dealing with new housing or new weather that they aren't used to. Sometimes, when they first come out of the brooder and move into a coop with a ramp, they don't know what a ramp is or how to use it. In that case, you can't count on them getting to water, food or shelter and they may need some help. Sometimes, the first time a heavy rain happens, they take shelter where ever they are and get stranded out in the yard. Often, chickens are afraid of snow the first time they see it and can get stranded out in the yard or run. I can remember some pullets that looked a bit shell shocked when they first saw snow, huddled under a patio table. With adults that are used to the environment, though, mine have always been good about going into the coop to warm up or get out of a heavy wind.

    In the teens and 20's, they still go outside a lot. Single digits, they go in to warm up a lot. Once the highs for the day are below zero, like -6 or -8 F, mine usually choose to stay in the coop all day. I know there are other people with chickens that seem to be out more than mine, in the same temperatures. Mine really like their coop, though, since it has a lot of windows and seems to have an airy feel to it. They look out the windows a lot when they're hanging out in the coop. Their food and water is in the coop, also. To me, they seem to putter around in their coop like we do in our houses.

    If they had a coop without any light in it, they might not want to go in during the day. Some people have smaller, darker coops, that are mainly only used to roost in. I first started keeping chickens of my own when I was renting an old farm house that already had a hen house. It was a big building that had a lot of windows and the chickens had lots of space to live in it during the winter. My coop designs have tended to be similar to that.

    So, a chicken's desire to be in the coop or outdoors, can also be effected by the coop design and the run design. Some runs are more sheltered and comfortable, others are wide open and exposed. My particular run has a cover to block falling snow, but no wind block, other than the coop. The run is on the south side of the coop, but we get swirling winds, as it's in a clearing bordered by woodland. That might also make the coop more attractive for my chickens when it starts getting a lot colder.
     

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