Frostbite is driving me nuts!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by pipthepeep, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. pipthepeep

    pipthepeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 19, 2010
    I have been reading for months about frostbite, and how it is usually caused by too much moisture/humidity in the coop and not by the cold alone. Are there cases when it does not necessarily mean excess moisture? I have a tiny coop (basically a roosting box), and I am fairly sure the ventilation is adequate (I have already posted on here several times about it, including one post w pics)... A few weeks ago, the roost was used by two roos and I only had mild frostbite cases on the coldest/windiest nights...but now that I am down to one bird, even though it is warmer, his frostbite seems to be getting progressively worse! I am thinking at this point, it likely is not caused by moisture, since it was not a problem with 2 birds in the coop, but has gotten worse with only one....Is it possible it is just too cold for one bird, even in a small space where heat should be conserved? Temps have basically been around 20 degrees, give or take....I know this should not normally be a problem!

    I am at wits end...tried putting the hens in there to roost for extra body heat, but they just won't do it...they would rather sleep outside in the secure run than in there with him:( And, when they do sleep in there, they won't let him go in....ARRRRGH
     
  2. Luvroos

    Luvroos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You could try coating his combs and waddles with vaseline every few days. This will help to keep him warmer since this is how they adjust their body temps. You could also try to encourage the hens to stay in the coop with him for added warmth. If it is as small as you have described it to be you could also place a tarp over it with hopes that this will stop any drafts that might be entering some how. Do any of your hens have it?

    Temps here are down in the 30's and my free range flocks do stay cold until the sun starts beating on them and then they soak it all up. I see them trembling occassionally!
     
  3. RhodeIslandRedFan

    RhodeIslandRedFan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello, pipthepeep. Are you sure you are dealing with frostbite? Black areas on combs can also be favus or fowl pox. Fowl pox is transmitted by mosquitoes, so I don't know if this is possible right now where you live. I don't have experience with any of these, but I've been reading about all three of these on this site. Here are some links with further information for you. See if any of these match what you are experiencing. Good luck to you.

    frostbite and favus (see post #5) https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=437377

    favus
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=436257

    fowl
    pox https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=399246
     
  4. pipthepeep

    pipthepeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the info. I have posted pics and everyone so far has said it is frostbite... initially I wasn't quite sure bc it started out yellow (and actually is still primarily yellow and really gross looking)... vaseline does not seem to be helping, like others have suggested. So I will definitely take a look at the links you sent! Maybe I will try to post updated pics too when I get a chance and see if people still think it looks like frostbite.
     
  5. RhodeIslandRedFan

    RhodeIslandRedFan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I haven't seen your pictures and have no experience with any of these, so these were just some suggestions. I hope you find out soon what is happening [​IMG] Sorry I could not be more helpful!
     
  6. pipthepeep

    pipthepeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, any little bit of advice is helpful...I'm a newbie at all this:) I did look at the links and associated pictures...doesn't look like what I've got, so I still think my guy has frostbite..even though it is still bright yellow with no black. Now just have to figure out why it keeps getting worse!
     
  7. Luvroos

    Luvroos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It sounds like frost bite to me with the yellow discoloration! I'm shocked that the vaseline is not helping him since it provides a good protective coating! Maybe it were put on a little to late for it to make a difference and what damage is already there is going through with the process.

    My sebrite has it, after I placed the vaseline on him. I coated his comb with neosporin and he seems to be doing much better however the yellow color has not gone away yet! I continue to add vaseline every few days before he goes out and it seems to be helping a lot but, has not cured the frostbite area.

    Hope it's nothing serious! I'd like to see photos!
     
  8. pipthepeep

    pipthepeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 19, 2010
    These are the best pics I can do for now...I will try to get a closeup of his comb and post tomorrow...

    Here is a pic of when it very first started...very mild frostbite not even a month ago...at this point, I had been putting vasoline on it because it had been getting pretty cold at night
    [​IMG]

    I continued to put vaseline on it and here is what it looks like now...its kind of hard to see because the pic is from a distance...but the yellow-green area on the right (back) of his comb has definitely spread. The last point is all swollen and yellow...and the middle points are turning yellowish-dark purple! Don't mind all the black spots...he was in a nasty fight with my other roo last week and is still healing:( He looks horrible right now, but really is a very pretty bird when he is clean:)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I think he might have slept outside the night before last as the hens were in the coop, and they seem to not like to share the space...I put tons of vaseline on it that night, but it still seemed to have gotten worse the next day. I have noticed that he does tuck his head under his wing when he sleeps, so his wattle seems to be fine (but also that means he gets greasy vaseline all over his feathers!)
     
  9. barngem

    barngem Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dont let him sleep outside. Even if you have to put him in after dark when the hens are roosted. They wont pick on him after dark.

    Sorry Kinda long

    A couple things you can do

    You can get a small matt heater that is for dog houses or cat beds. Get the outdoor waterproof one. They are safe in a coop and they add just a bit of warmth not too much just enough to help keep your coop dry and keep the chill offI have a small coop that is 4'x4' x 4' high. My coop walls are about 3" thick and insulated with some reclaimed drop ceiling tiles between plywood they are old fiberglass type. I would not call it great insulation like in a house but it helps.

    When I had just two chickens I used a light bulb and changed the wattage according to the temps outside. My coop was too small for the usual 250 watt bruder bulb because I could not get it high enough off the roost area to keep them from getting burned. (has to be 18+" from tallest chicken head to be safe) I started out with a 40 watt bulb for cool nights like 25 degrees, then if it was going to be below zero I used a 65-75 watt bulb. I had about 10" of clearance but put it towards one end and they would not sit under it just next to it. This was enough for two chickens..
    I now have 8 chickens and they can keep warm together. they fill the roost perch, but I wanted to make sure they did not have trouble staying warm in snow storms and below zero days/nights.
    I have a heated outdoor dog house type matt that is about 20x15 or so. This heats the coop enough to keep moisture out and take the chill off.

    You might take a look at what is in the coop as far as bedding.
    Are you using sawdust, straw or hay.

    My experience has told me..... Put sawdust on the floor then cover with straw, or hay. This year I have used hay and it will hold moisture but if you air out the coop during the day and you replace it once a week it helps. Straw absorbs some moisture and has great insulating properties, but from what I can see the hay is helping eliminate moisture because its drawing it to the sawdust. Straw will not draw moisture out.

    It all is quite technical believe it or not and you have to experiment and observe. And it can change from year to year depending on weather and humidity ect.

    The key to some things like this is proper ventilation as someone mentioned.
    [​IMG]



    Let me explain how mine works

    The small opening in the coop they enter through has a locking screen door for at night to keep predators out. I put straw or hay up against that door at night from the inside. This allows air to pass in and push the warm air up. Often times there is frost on the top of the opening in the morining this is the moisture that is escaping from my coop.
    The straw and hay allows air to flow but not a draft. Creating a dead air pocket so it gets warmed to some degree by the heater that is on the floor.

    My first year with two chickens I had moisture with the light and often I would put the solid door on at night. That was the wrong plan.
    After I had 6 chickens I had moisture issues on the nights I blocked the door off. I now have 8 chickens and dont block the door and have no moisture building up in the coop. I did have frost on the window at -10. But they roost right in front of that window so I am sure that it is persperation.

    I also wrap the pen with tarps for winter to keep the wind and snow out.

    As I said the key is experiment and observe. you will learn what to do for your situation. The vasaline will not fix the frost bite he already has but it will keep him from getting more.
    Good luck
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2011
  10. pipthepeep

    pipthepeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 19, 2010
    Thanks, I appreciate the practical advice and what a cute coop you have! Here are some pics of my "coop" from a post I did earlier...its a bit unusual I know, but my roo loves it!

    Quote:The roost is bedded with pine shavings and hay...I just add more shavings/fresh hay as it gets compacted, and I use dropping boards that are cleaned every other day. The coop is really only used at night for roosting, and my roo spends most of the day out in the run. It can get pretty warm in the run with the 6 mil plastic around the sides and the sun shining.

    I am going to try reducing the ventilation area at the top...maybe he is getting a draft on him at night, since the coop is so small. I think a ventilation area about the size of the one on your coop would probably be better for just one bird...
     

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