Help!!! Chickens are dieing

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Betania, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. Betania

    Betania Out Of The Brooder

    My Chickens were dieing from the EXTREME cold.Need advice on how to help keep out the cold. Here are pics.
    [​IMG] The windy side

    [​IMG] sorry a bit tipped. Here Thu v

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Here

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    [​IMG]
    Tipped
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]Roof

    [​IMG][​IMG]pointed to the were the wind come from

    A while ago was the coldest we've had for like 20 years here in OH. -15 to -20 berrrrrrrrrrrrr.
     
  2. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    I'm sorry that your chickens are dying. [​IMG]Usually, healthy birds can survive even negative number cold, but I guess the prolonged cold you've been experiencing is just too much. It looks like there are a lot of cracks in the coop/barn they're being kept in; one thing you could do to stop wind from blowing through is get some plastic and staple it to the wood. Or you could use a tarp(s) to block the cracks, too. You could partially seal up any windows, as well.

    Inside the coop, what type of bedding are you using? Make sure it is kept stirred up and dry to prevent moisture/cold from the ground seeping up. A good thick layer of straw or shavings works wonders in keeping the coop warmer. Also, check for drafts up near where the chickens roost--chickens are great at staying warm in a windless area, but drafts just suck the heat out of them. Patch up any holes or drafty areas with some plastic or wood. Another thing you can do to help them stay warm is feed them corn or scratch grains before nightfall, as the heat produced by them digesting that food will strengthen their bodies for the cold.
     
  3. froggieogreen

    froggieogreen Out Of The Brooder

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    You need to close up those leaky slats, stat! Chickens and drafts do not mix well. Ventilation is crucial (and should be above where they roost so that they don't feel it), but holes in the wall like that are just horrible for the poor chickens.

    The coop doesn't need to be insulated (mine isn't - though there are some more things you need to take into consideration if you go this route if your climate is normally cold in the winter) but it does need to have solid walls if you experience any kind of winter/strong weather. At the very least, I'd tarpaper and shingle or just put plywood (whichever is cheapest/easiest for you) over those walls. Filling the spots with foam is a bad idea, the chickens will just eat it. Same with any filler, really.

    Also, it's hard to tell from the photos, but do they have roosts, or are they sleeping in the nesting boxes or on the ladder or on the ground? You want them too roost somewhere their feathers will cover their feet (to avoid frostbite - so you want a wider, flat surface) but that isn't on the ground, which is cold and possibly damp from droppings. At low temps like that (not sure if F or C, but either way that's cold) I've learned from recent experience that taking away their water at night is a very good idea - it made a huge difference in the humidity in the coop and it's that humidity that causes nasty frostbite. I'm still nursing a rooster who got serious frostbite almost two weeks ago.
     
  4. Betania

    Betania Out Of The Brooder

    I'm using straw. They have roosts and they use the ladder for a roost. I was always told use round roosts so the chickens can rap there feet around it. I use F.
     
  5. Betania

    Betania Out Of The Brooder

    what are the signs of frost bite
     
  6. pwand

    pwand Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I use a the flat side of a 2X4 for my roosts. They lay on their feet. Theres a lot of threads on here that many are dealing with frostbite. You can do a search on here at the top left hand corner about frostbite.
     
  7. froggieogreen

    froggieogreen Out Of The Brooder

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    Our guys have maybe 3" boards to roost on - the just kind of hunker down on top of them and that's that. There haven't been any problems with them not being able to stay on, or losing their balance or whatnot. We did this because winters can get pretty cold here and we wanted to be sure their little toes wouldn't get frostbitten.

    Despite our best efforts, there was a really nasty coldsnap and our flock is in their first year and didn't know any better to come in out of the cold. I was stupid and trusted their judgement. Two roos had really bad frostbite (one is still healing, the other looks horrible but seems fine so he's still with the flock). Minor frostbite is nothing at all to worry about - they bounce back super quick. What I observed was that everything looked fine the day-of, but by the next morning it was clear that all was not well. Their combs and wattles had mottled purply-black bits and some parts that were white. As the days went on, more of the white parts turned purply-deep-bruised-looking, and previously dark bits turned black. The affected skin has a rough, dry texture. If it gets severe, it can cause disorientation, lethargy, lack of appetitie, and other things - their bodies are in shock. I slathered vaseline and polysporin on them, massaging the parts that were still red to promote circulation, but just dabbing it on the damaged parts so as not to hurt them further.

    Light frostbite usually only touches the tips of the comb, and it's normal for the little bit at the end to turn dark black and eventually fall off. Generally, even if it covers a larger area, you really just want to keep an eye on them to make sure the damaged skin isn't tempting to other birds. Watching for infection (you can smell it as well as see signs of it) is a good idea, too.

    I quaranteened my rooster because he was having trouble eating (very swollen wattles) and also got his butt kicked by another rooster who took advantage of his frostbitten state. The healing process is veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeery slow. They bounce back from light frostbite quickly, and even back to a functional state quickly, but full recovery from serious frostbite... I'm expecting not to see it until spring.

    Thankfully, I've not had to deal with frostbitten feet, but from what I've read you want to bring those birds in as soon as you notice, because the chance of infection is quite high since it's their feet that have been injured.
     
  8. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    Mild frostbite can appear as a simple darkening and/or purpling of the comb/wattles. Slightly worse frostbite may turn yellow, white, and hard to the touch. Blisters may develop, and the comb/wattles may swell quite a bit. In the most severe cases of frostbite, the tissue dies and turns black. Except in the case of black frostbite, not too much of the comb/wattles is usually lost, with most areas scabbing off on the surface and being left healed. While frostbite is most common on a bird's comb and wattles, it may also affect the feet and legs, causing loss of a foot or toes in bad cases.
     
  9. Betania

    Betania Out Of The Brooder

    Thank you. [​IMG]
     

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