Frostbite

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by gottsegnet, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. gottsegnet

    gottsegnet Chillin' With My Peeps

    377
    5
    131
    Mar 19, 2009
    Nebraska
    It got really cold here last night (6 degrees) and is supposed to be colder tonight (-7). Of course, their heater went out, too. The birds survived, but I'm worried about frostbite. How can you tell? The are huddled in their roosting area which is small and I'm hoping that between it and the fact I buried the windward side of their coop in snow yesterday that their body heat was enough to keep them warm.

    But I don't know. What are the early signs and how do you treat it?
     
  2. gottsegnet

    gottsegnet Chillin' With My Peeps

    377
    5
    131
    Mar 19, 2009
    Nebraska
    OH, and a little description of their coop. It is 4' by 8' and we keep four hens in it. It is about 4' tall, surrounded in chicken wire, with a plywood roof. They have an old dresser we took the drawers out of and attached a roosting pole in to sleep in. We keep windows propped up around three sides to block the wind and let in the sunlight. Yesterday, I packed snow around the windy side, too. Normally we have a small heat lamp pointed at the dresser to keep it warm on cold evenings, but of course it went out the only night they have really needed it.
     
  3. ChicknLover

    ChicknLover Out Of The Brooder

    55
    2
    43
    Mar 27, 2007
    Montello
    Put some vaseline on their combs and make sure their roosts are wide enough so they can hunker down and cover their toes.
     
  4. gottsegnet

    gottsegnet Chillin' With My Peeps

    377
    5
    131
    Mar 19, 2009
    Nebraska
    Thanks! I'll put Vaseline on them. I hadn't heard of that. I think their roost is wide enough. I heard they preferred flat roosts, so it is a board about two inches wide all the way across their dresser.

    We got their heater working so tonight should be more comfortable for them, even if it will be light all night.

    What are the symptoms of frostbite?
     
  5. RanchGranny

    RanchGranny Out Of The Brooder

    18
    0
    22
    Jul 13, 2008
    La Center, WA
    I don't know about other symptoms or things to look for, but I do know their combs or wattles start to change color, getting deeper, almost purple. That's the stage right before frostbite, which is apparent when they turn black. And you can feel their feet to see if they're OK. If their feet are super cold, that's probably not good. It's my understanding a warm chicken will have warm feet, even when it's really cold. But I've only had chickens for a year, and while we had lots of snow last year, it only got down to the mid 20's. This cold we're having, with windchill making it below zero, may make me learn some new things about chickens!

    The Vaseline advice was good; I've read that before, also. Good luck with your hens!

    [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by