Frostbite : please advise!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by katelk, Dec 16, 2014.

  1. katelk

    katelk Songster

    May 6, 2013
    White Bluff, TN
    I live in middle Tn. Lately it has been raining during the day and then dropping below freezing at night. It is ridiculous how it can feel warm enough to not even need a jacket during the day, and after dark it becomes a winter wonderland.

    I have never had an issue with frostbite before. My birds take to the winters here pretty well, especially since we hardly ever get any snow.
    However, I think the rain/freeze situation the last week or so has caused one of my Roos to start getting frostbite on the tips of his comb. I have 2 Orpington roosters who have beautiful tall combs, but this is great for frostbite. So far only one roo has the slightest blackening on the very tips of 2-3 of his points.
    I am very worried about this getting worse, especially with the moist weather. What can I do to help him out and also prevent it from happening to the other roo?
    Does Vaseline actually help?
    I also have some girls with prominent combs, so I may need to think about protecting them as well.

    Their coop is up to par for wintertime. Like I said, this has never happened before, so I really think it is the weather.

    Any advice appreciated!
  2. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    It can be hard to prevent frostbite, especially when it is cold AND damp out. Two winters ago, two of my roosters got frostbite when a relatively warm 45 degree day was followed by a cold night. But, I haven't had a problem since then.

    My solution was to add a space heater to the coop that I would turn on when the temperatures fell below freezing. I did it because I didn't want my birds' combs to become ruined. However, a heater isn't really the best option for most people, as heating a coop can be expensive and pose a risk of fire.

    I have tried vaseline before. In my experience, it didn't work. It would warm, liquefy, and then drip down the birds feathers, creating a sticky mess. But, some people have had success with it. It may work when temperatures aren't significantly below freezing. It certainly wouldn't hurt to try it.

    Be sure that you have enough ventilation in your coop. Ventilation is one of the best ways to prevent frostbite. Though, In your case, I suspect that it can't fully prevent the problem, as it is likely as damp outside as inside the coop.

    I believe your best option to do for now is apply vaseline. Hopefully, the damp weather will pass by soon!
  3. katelk

    katelk Songster

    May 6, 2013
    White Bluff, TN

    Yeah I really hope the weather will change ASAP. I think the coop is ventilated sufficiently. It has holes along the roof on all sides and the whole front (it is a walk-in coop) is hardware cloth. The bedding is at least 6 inches of sand.

    Since it is sand, I guess there is really nothing flammable in there except roosts and nests. A heater would worry me though. Aside from a wooden frame, the walls and ceiling are sheet metal, so I can just see condensation dripping everywhere if I added heat inside. :/

    I didn't even think about the Vaseline getting gooey and running. I will give it a try tonight and see what happens. Thanks for the advice!
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2014

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