Frozen back feathers??

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ChickGeek, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. ChickGeek

    ChickGeek Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 29, 2012
    Manitoba, Canada
    Hi all

    I'm new to chicken ownership and have been learning a lot.
    I'm worried about my girls though. I live up in Manitoba and the winters get really cold. So far my two girls have been doing fine ... BUT I've been noticing they've been getting patches of frozen feathers on their backs, right between the shoulder blade area. The Rock has only had it to a small degree, but this morning the Brahma had a very large area.
    Their run is mostly enclosed and I can't see any way they could have gotten wet. And it seems so odd that it would happen in the same spot over and over.
    Any ideas?
    I haven't been using the heat lamp, but I turned it on for them this morning (the temp is getting pretty low, -25C)
    And I'm thinking of taking them into the shop today so they can get warm and dry ... will the shock of going back out hurt them?

    Thanks :)
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    The problem with changing around whether you provide heat or not is they don't get as well acclimated to the cold.

    Could the ones with the frozen spots be sleeping under the roost, and that isn't water that has frozen? Or -- is there sufficient ventilation in your coop? If there is any condensation in there, and it is condensation dripping on them, then you need more ventilation. this is a great article on the subject, written by a Canadian:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/...-go-out-there-and-cut-more-holes-in-your-coop

    The same member wrote a good article about cold weather coops:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/winter-coop-temperatures
     
  3. ChickGeek

    ChickGeek Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 29, 2012
    Manitoba, Canada
    Thanks so much for your reply! [​IMG]

    Those are great sources of info, thank you. I'm going to read them a couple of times I'm sure :)

    I really think there is enough ventilation ... but that being said, it does seem that something is 'dripping on them'. So that seems the most likely problem doesn't it. I'm going to look into that more closely.
    I did end up bringing them into the shop for an hour and it does appear to have done wonders for them. But I know that's not a solution -- acclimation is so important.
    But while they were 'thawing' ... what I did do was go into the coop and make a few changes. They don't sleep on the roost, but prefer to cuddle on a walled shelf in the corner. So I put a box (on its side) on the shelf and surrounded it with straw. At least that will stop anything dripping on them until I get things figured out.
    They seemed quite taken with the box -- I put them in front of it when I brought them back out and they curled up in it straight away [​IMG].
    It will also serve as a extra place of warmth in the large coop.
     
  4. ChickGeek

    ChickGeek Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 29, 2012
    Manitoba, Canada
    ****!
    They slept in the box, and same thing this morning ... a big spot of frosty feathers right in the middle of both backs.
    I don't get it. [​IMG]

    It was cold cold cold last night - I'm worried about my girls
     
  5. ChickGeek

    ChickGeek Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 29, 2012
    Manitoba, Canada
    Ah HA! I think I may be on to something ... I think when they snuggle up at night that they're wrapping their heads around each other and maaaybe one is breathing into the feathers of the other one. Odd? yes, but so far that seems to be the most reasonable hypothesis (hmmm)

    Now, I don't know how bad it is; doesn't seem good to have frosty feathers .....
     
  6. ChickGeek

    ChickGeek Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 29, 2012
    Manitoba, Canada
    LOL just saw that my "dam..n." in my earlier post was replaced by stars ... funny,
    ok, verrrry clean language - got it. Sorry, new here [​IMG]
     
  7. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    If the moisture from them breathing on each other could be the problem, then you've just revealed the real problem: Not enough ventilation. Yep. Too tight and "warm" a place and the moisture will build up and cause a problem. I've not experienced this myself, being in a much warmer climate, but I've read of it plenty. This is what causes many, many people a lot of problems. Hopefully someone with experience in cold climates can chime in.

    Basically though, air needs be able to travel out at the top of the coop at the roof line. Maybe you've insulated and made the place "tight" and stopped that air flow? Also, what breed?
     

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