Frozen Feet

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by protodon, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. protodon

    protodon Songster

    Mar 3, 2009
    I have this juvenile chicken who wasn't looksing so hot a few days actually. Actually he was frozen. He was acting a bit lethargic. Not really interested in food or water. I put some aside for him so the other birds couldn't get to it and he ate and drank a bit. I saw he was walking funny and yesterday I went to pick him up to put him in the coop early so he could get out of the freezing wind and his feet were frozen solid!

    I think I have heard of this or at least frostbite on chicken feet but in my 4 years of keeping poultry, this is the first time this has happened. This chicken is about 3 months old. He has 3 siblings that are the same age and they are all fine and active so it can't be his age. I guess this particular chicken was just more susceptible to the cold somehow?

    Anyway. last night I moved him indoors. To a cooler part of my house which didn't keep him from jumping out of his container and finding his way in front of the wood stove. His feet are thawed and in much better shape now. I am going to wait til he gets his strength back and is eating much more before I try to put him out again but here are my questions:

    Can I prevent this from happening to this chicken again? And how? Chicken booties?

    And how do I get a chicken who is now used to sitting in front of the woodstove, to go back outside without killing him from the sudden temperature difference?

  2. chickendude

    chickendude Songster

    Jun 4, 2009
    Dutchess County NY
    If the birds are going in a run I found it helps to keep their feet a little more comfortable by spreading hay or straw across the ground. It forms a nice barrier between their feet and the frozen ground. My RIR girls are fine in the cold but my Silver Laced Polish roo has a rough time in the cold. He spends most of his time in the coop.
  3. Peeper7

    Peeper7 Songster

    Apr 2, 2009
    Northeast Ohio
    ... love the pic [​IMG]

    cold exposure injury can happen pretty quickly -- especially with a wind chill factor. This bird may not know enough to seek shelter when it's really bad. It helps if you have wide wooden perches/roosts so they will sort of lay on their feet while roosting and keep them warm. straw/bedding material deep enough for him to keep his feet covered maybe... [​IMG] or just keep him inside when it's really bad.

    since the weather is extreme, your woodstove chicken probably would need gradual re-introduction to the cold. maybe a covered sheltered cage inside the coop for a few hours a day.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2010
  4. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Yeah...guess the feather footed chickens have an advantage??? If you have a run, put up tarps around it for a wind break (my girls hate the cold wind). And as others have said, put down a decent layer of straw in the run for them to walk around on. But if they free range, then I'm not may have to keep him in the coop on really bad days, which would mean a pen inside the regular coop since you probably leave it open for them. Just like people, dogs, and cats, some animals are more cold/heat hardy than others...Glad your little chicken got to warm his/her tootsies up...great pic!
  5. protodon

    protodon Songster

    Mar 3, 2009
    I don't have a run. My birds free range all day no matter what the weather is. They have the choice to stay in the coop if they like but none of them do during the day. The coop is well sheltered. It's a lean-to against my shed. Made of plywood with small "windows" at the top for ventilation. I do have a thick layer of straw but that really doesn't help this chicken if he was standing outside of it in -10 degree weather with 30 -40 mph winds coming at him. I guess he just wanted to stick with his siblings.

    I would also imagine that feathered legs would be a benefit in this situation. Too bad I don't like them haha

    And thanks to everyone for the advice of keeping him penned in the coop to re-acclimate him or to keep him safer from the cold on bad days.

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