Frostbite, and introducing new birds?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ophelia3178, Jan 17, 2015.

  1. ophelia3178

    ophelia3178 Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi everyone, it's winter here in Montreal and its VERY cold, -25 it gets to. Most of my girls have frostbite, I tried everything and I can't seem to stop it. Is it really bad for them?? The ventilation in the coop is good, they have a heater that heats it to probably 17-20 degrees, and they have fresh water and food all the time. I let them out of the coop all day, but they have access to the warm house, but insist on coming out. When it's very cold I'll keep them in and they squak about it, and I let them out. also I'm curious about diseases, in 2 years in going to get day old chicks and then once fully feathered introduce them. I forgot about diseases though. How can I ensure my chickens can live together without getting sick is dying?
     
  2. lalaland

    lalaland Overrun With Chickens

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    Hi Ophelia,

    I live in northern minnesota, and it gets cold here too.

    First thing is that usually, frostbite is a problem for hens with large combs, and roosters (roosters don't usually tuck their heads under their wings at night, and doing that protects the comb).

    Second, frostbite is much more likely to happen when there is too much moisture in the coop. You said you have good ventilation, even so you might try to increase it, even it it means losing heat from your coop. stick your fingers under your hens feathers, you can feel how warm they are without heat. You also might want to gradually lower the heat you are providing - I don't provide heat except when it is -40F or so air temp, not windchill. And then it is just a heat lamp over the roosts.

    Frostbite usually doesnt bother the chickens - just watch the combs. If there is pus or wetness, you might have to do something, but otherwise it will just clear up on its own. I've had roosters with frostbit combs, the frostbit part just gradually turns black and falls off.

    When you get your chicks, if they are day old or so you don't need to quarantine them. You do need to keep them safe from your flock - if you were bringing in older, say a week or more, you would want to quarantine them. strict quarantine is keeping them totally separate for 30 days, and then adding one of your current flock to the quarantine group for a couple of weeks. If your current hen doesn't get sick from the new group, then you can begin to integrate them.

    You can also have the chicks you get vacinated....there is a ton on byc here about chicks, about quarantine, and about frostbite! lots of different opinions, so it is interesting to figure out from what you read what makes sense to you. good luck
     
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    how far from the ceiling and walls are your roosts? I have greatly reduced my frostbite by lowering my top roost, which was highly coveted, and put my birds close to the ceiling and wall. The moisture from their breathing and poo builds up on the colder surface of the wall and ceiling and that is a recipe for frostbite.

    When I lowered the roost so that there is about 12 inches of airspace above my birds, it also moved them away from the wall, I had an old fashioned slant roost or ladder like series of roosts, each level a bit higher than the last. I took off the top one, and added a couple more at the second level, so all my birds roost at the same height.

    I don't get poop build up on the walls, it lands on the dry hay, and rapidly dries out.

    hope this might help,

    MRs K
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. LipsChicks

    LipsChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hey neighbor! I'm from North Dakota so I feel your pain in this cold, ugly weather. It is decent now finally. A lot of my roosters have frostbite. I really hate to see it but I don't know what else to do. They have a new coop with an automatic door that opens at dawn. They go out every day except for a very few. If they weren't out by noon and weather wasn't going to improve, I shut the door. The open door helps with ventilation. I have a heated base to keep water from freezing and one heat lamp tp take the edge off. Looks like I won't be able to show any roosters and I have some beauties!
     
  5. hennible

    hennible Overrun With Chickens

    Some of my roos got frostbite this year and I had to illuminate water inside the coop, and I did some reading and learned that they're supposed to be one square foot of ventilation per bird. Drafts are bad but ventilation is good with appropriate ventilation they shouldn't get frostbite even if it is -40. another general rule I've been told is never let humidity in the coop be higher than it is outside... you got lots of great advice good luck
     
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    All fine and good about the humidity. But, the humidity outside in the dead of winter can be quite high. My roo is the only one... so far who is dealing with frost bite, and that being on a taller than average pea comb. I think that PP was correct in that rooster's watch dog behaviors make them more prone to frost bite. Last winter, it was my alpha hen who had a straight comb... most likely for the same reason: watch dog. Spring is coming. Only 9 more weeks!!!
     
  7. ophelia3178

    ophelia3178 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 16, 2014
    Montreal, QC, Canada
    Thanks everyone! So helpful!! I'll make more ventilation holes!! Their run is already covered soo it's fine. Their water needs to be put outside and heated. And for the day old chicks ! Awesome. Getting some in about a year or two!!! First time getting a new batch. Thanks again! Have a great day everyone
     
  8. hennible

    hennible Overrun With Chickens

    Stock tank heaters are a great buy for a big open water bucket. A stock tank heater will last you longer than a heated bucket or any sort of hanging heated water on the market. I think they run around $45...
     
  9. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    The best time to integrate new chicks is when they are around 16 weeks of age. Otherwise the older ones may peck and kill/injure them. I don't quarantine day old chicks myself, from reputable sources.

    Fully feathered status usually occurs at around 6 weeks of age.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2015
  10. LipsChicks

    LipsChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I always put my little ones out when they are about 6 weeks or less if it's real warm outside. I can only take them being in the house for so long, even though I love the little tykes. By the time I get my spring babies my others will be close to a year old.. I'll put them into a pen inside the coop so they can all get used to each other for a week or so.. I'll let them out at night so they will all wake up together after that week.
     

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