It hit 3degs today

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Bnemi, Jan 15, 2016.

  1. Bnemi

    Bnemi Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 9, 2014
    Bryan Ohio
    So everyone seems to have a different opinion on heat vs. no heat in a coop.
    I understand dry bedding, a dry coop floor and ventilation. How about preventing frostbite on single combs in cold weather. I need to know because my roosters have black tips after hitting 3degs Fahrenheit this week. I have a 100w light plugged into an outlet in the coop. Would a ceramic panel heater be better. I want to stop this frostbite problem. Any experienced responses are welcome...
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs I Wanna Be A Cowboy Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Sometimes you can't stop frostbite, most of my roosters get it every winter to some degree, most don't notice it unless it's a lot of tissue. I'm not sure if heat would help as the rooster would have to be under or next to those things all the time. The roosters will lose the points of the combs than next winter it's not as much of a problem, in the future I plan to keep rooster with smaller combs.
  3. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Try smoothing Bag Balm on their combs. It may help prevent condensation from forming on the comb tissue.

    But the best way to prevent frostbite is to control the moisture in the coop. Ventilation and proper air circulation is the best way to do that, not heat, which can actually encourage condensation to form on surfaces.

    On really cold, one digit days, I hang heat lamps in the run for the chickens to warm up under if they choose. My oldest chickens seem to be most affected by severe cold and they are usually the ones to take advantage of the warming station.

    My coops are small, and I have oil filled heaters which I set to the lowest heat setting to keep things from freezing, not necessarily to warm. But I won't use heat lamps inside the coops due to the high dangers of burns and fire.
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Flock Master Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    What is the humidity like in your coop? That's more often the cause of frostbite than the cold. We've had double-digits below zero here in MN the off and on for the past few weeks, and we have not had frostbite here. My chickens are in an 8'x8' coop, about 8' at the peak, with vented soffits and a window cracked open a couple of inches at the top. The combs are rose or pea combs, to they're not as likely to get frostbite, but the wattles are fine, too. Do you see any frost on the inside of your coop? If so, it's too humid. Is your coop closed up tight? If so, it's likely too humid. The black tips aren't going to hurt your roosters any, unless you're showing them.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Describing your coop's dry bedding, a dry coop floor and ventilation...or better yet pics....might help us help you with a solution.

    My coop is pretty dry.....massive ventilation with baffles to keep drafts off roost area, good bedding, closed waterer, frequent poop removal.....
    ......but you can't get the humidity lower in the coop than outside unless you have full HVAC set up to handle heat and ventilation.
    ...or unless you have money to literally burn on pumping heat into a ventilated coop.

    IMO frostbite is unavoidable, at least in my roo drags his wattles thru the snow and gets them nipped...SHM.
    3rd winter here and have seen various levels of frostbite on both cock/erels and hens/pullets.
    Some were minor graying of tissue, some went dead black, some got alarmingly swollen for a few days...but none resulted in infection.

    IMO it's best not to even touch's compromised tissue and touching it could very easily make it worse.
    Had several birds with frostbit combs and wattles last winter, most were the mild graying of the tissue, some had black necrosis that eventually soughed off. I think the wattles get bit because they drag them thru the snow.
    I just keep a watch for swelling that lasts more than a few days or obvious infection.
    Woody's wattles were swollen for 2-3 days, then swelling receded and tissue turned black, took a couple months before black tissue came off and pencil thin scars developed, by spring you could hardly tell it had happened.


BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by