Frostbite prevention - how often vaseline?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ISSOLA, Dec 14, 2009.

  1. ISSOLA

    ISSOLA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I applied vaseline on my chickens' combs and wattle 2 weeks ago when temps were dropping to the 20s. They have been doing very well, without problems.

    This weekend temps will be dropping down to the teens. Should I re-vaseline? How frequently does one need to apply vaseline anyway? I can't imagine the vaseline disappearing anywhere, and the chickens sure can't eat it. I have 3 red stars and 1 black star about 5 and 1/2 months old.

    My first batch of chickens, I applied vaseline once, and left them alone for the rest of winter. They did fine, until the raccoons got them at spring thaw. [​IMG]

    By the way, these chickens love having the combs and wattles massaged with vaseline. It almost seems - huh - like they are in a happy trance/ecstasy.... Wassup wit dat?? [​IMG]
     
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    I'd put more on. It'll be essentially gone by now... between being rubbed off, absorbed into the skin, and shed with skin cells... plus as you say, they like the massage anyhow [​IMG]

    (FWIW, in my opinion it is not proven beyond doubt that vaseline helps vs frostbite, but between anecdotal evidence in chickens and medical opinion in humans I *think* it does and at hte very least it does no harm [​IMG])

    Pat
     
  3. ISSOLA

    ISSOLA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Al---right! I shall be masseuse to the wattles and combs tomorrow. [​IMG]

    There must also be sensitive nerve-endings on these organs, for them to be so zoned out [​IMG] when i apply/massage vaseline.

    Thanks Pat! The weather in Ontario is defintiely much colder than Massachusetts. I bet you use vaseline too. Have you ever seen a case of frostbite in non-vaselined or vaselined chickens?

    edited for spelling
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2009
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:Well remember, as I say, it doesn't get that cold in my chicken building (because of size and construction) -- in previous years it hasn't been below about 20 F, although it may well get colder this year because for the first time I will be forced to sometimes have popdoors open on *both* sides of the building which, in this windy location, gives a considerable crossbreeze and more 'ventilation' than I would actually prefer in January [​IMG]

    That said, all I've had thus far in my chickens is that the SUssex roo lost the end of one comb point last winter. It didn't seem to bother him, and it was small, not one of these big gruesome 'half the comb black adn falling off' deals.

    I do vaseline my chickens' combs (at night, on the roost, which is the easiest way for non-lap-chickens) whenever I expect it to be particularly cold. I won't swear it helps, but, I think it does and nayhow it doesn't *hurt* [​IMG] My main frostbite prevention programme is just the thermal characteristics of the coop, though. If my coop was getting down close to outdoor temperatures in January, that would be different.

    I have known a couple other people up here with chickens in unheated or mostly-unheated coops that have little or no problem with frostbite, I *think* they vaseline combs periodically but don't know for certain. (Actually the folks up here that I know of having the *biggest* problems with frostbite are in *heated* coops, but I think that is an artefact because their error IMHO is in closing things up airtight in an effort to keep the heat in, with the result that yeah, the coop is not much below freezing, but it is like a cold rainforest in there, so the *humidity* gets them into frostbite territory).

    IMHO a lot of it is individual to your particular setup, and you have to just kind of play it by ear, keep an eye on the chickens, and develop a system that works for your situation.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  5. kristen2678

    kristen2678 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi, I'm in Groveland MA. Where are you? I applied vaseline yesterday since we are getting this deep freeze. Hopefully I find some nice red combs out there this morning.
     
  6. ISSOLA

    ISSOLA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Hi Kirsten, just sent a PM to you. Great to know another fellow enthusiast who is from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts!

    Anyway, chickens are doing well with the vaseline. I only put on a thin layer.

    Today, temp is down to 12-13 F. I see 2 out of 4 chickens still outside the coop shelter in the run. They have their heads under their wings. I guess that is another good way to prevent frostbite!

    Thanks Patandchickens for all the information. I had though that once a chicken experiences comb/wattle frostbite, that would be "the end." Sounds like, that is not necessarily so. Chickens can live through frostbite incidents.
     
  7. michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler To Finish Is To Win

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    5 of my 6 hens have forstbite and I still get 5-6 eggs a day. It is not severe, just on the tips of the combs and the night they got it, the temp dropped to single digits with a fierce wind. Now I close the pop door (leave it open a crack for air). They get lubed up in the mornings. The last several mornings when I go to open the doors, I grab a random hen and feel her comb to check and so far they have been feeling nice and warm. My neighbor's roo and hens now got frostbite too. They have an insulated coop so she didn't think she had to bother with it. However, last night though it wasn't as cold as the previous night, her roo got it so bad that his comb and one wattle split. She said the hens only had it at the tips. She said she'll start using bag balm now.
     
  8. Balfour Girl

    Balfour Girl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We built a beautiful, insulated coop for our chickens this spring and keep the heat lamp on when it's really cold. That keeps the temperature around 40 degrees farenheit, which is just fine. Unfortunately, they like to be outside all day and that's a different story (more like 17 - 20 degrees).... so now I have frostbitten chickens. I'll try the vaseline (although none of them like being touched), but I guess I wondered if it hurts, or if it creates an increased possibility of infection that I would have to watch for? Advice would be welcomed...
     
  9. SpeckledHills

    SpeckledHills Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think that for chickens putting Vaseline on their combs feels a lot like people feel when they put lotion on their hands--goood! Especially when it's cold and skin tends to chap and split.
    I haven't noticed any problems with infection.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2009
  10. Balfour Girl

    Balfour Girl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's good to know... wait till my hubby hears what I plan to do with the vaseline. He already thinks I'm silly when it comes to having happy chickens!!
     

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