Molting and frostbite

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by GWCooper, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. GWCooper

    GWCooper New Egg

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    Jan 8, 2013
    First question: Do birds molt at any specific time of year? It's winter and cold here in Michigan and I had a couple birds molt in late fall, but now I have one bird that seems to be molting or has lost a lot of feathers on her back and appears to have red skin in that area from the cold, probably minor frostbite. I don't belive the loss of feathers is from the other birds picking because they don't seem to bother her.

    Second: I feel bad for her because of the exposed skin. Is there anything I can do to treat that exposed skin? I've read petrolium jelly or bag balm but that won't stop frostbite from happening.

    There is no electricity out there so a heat lamp not going to be an option. Luckily we are going into a warmup with temps in the 40-50 range, but that won't last long. Maybe I could hang some hot water jugs in the roost at night to help there. The birds never had a problem with the cold and are healthy and happy, just the exposed skin issue. Thanks
     
  2. Hillbilly Hen

    Hillbilly Hen Overrun With Chickens

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    Newaygo Michigan
  3. cowcreekgeek

    cowcreekgeek Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Welcome to BYC, and I hope somebody has better answers for ya ... I've seen birds molt at times that don't fit well w/ the weather, and it sounds like you've got one of 'em.

    Solar mass is an excellent idea, but water weighs 8-1/3 pounds. Concrete blocks, bricks, etc. might be a better option, especially if you can find a way to allow sunlight to hit 'em during the daylight hours (even if it's cold outside, they'll retain some heat well into the night).

    Coops need fresh air, but insulation above where they roost (which should be as high as is practical), and directing any drafts away from them, would be very helpful ... possibly even a sloped sheet of plywood/OSB/etc. beneath the roosts.

    The more dry your birds are, and the less humid the air w/in the coop is, the better ... be sure 'n grain 'em well each evening, 'cause a full crop with help 'em generate more heat.
     
  4. GWCooper

    GWCooper New Egg

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    Jan 8, 2013
    I have no roosters, only seven hens. And it doesn't look like bad frostbite, just redness suspected from cold exposure where she had missing feathers. She is missing more feathers and that area is not redened, only where the smaller baldness was before losing more. It could possibly be from others feather picking, but I never see any picking at her and seem to not bully her at all. The roost seems dry enough, but I'll put in a humidity gauge to check.

    I have a 4x4 roost coop with open door to a 8x8 covered run, connected to a 5x10 open air run... 3 vents in upper part of roost. So they can choose where they want to be, in the roost, or outside fully covered from wind and elements, or they can go completely outside. They tend to stay in the covered when snowing, raining, or bad outside. Outside runs are straw covered ground to protect feet and let them scratch. the food and water in the covered run and the water only seems to freeze overnight and I exchange that with warm water in the am before work. Covered run has the opening to the outside run and also a vent opening in upper section ( picture a covered triangle)
     
  5. cowcreekgeek

    cowcreekgeek Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like a regular Holiday Inn for chickens ... speakin' of picturing things? Uploadin' a few photos would help us do that much better.

    Adding additional vents at a lower point, and closing those that are high, might warm your coop considerably ... foundation vents, perhaps, or even just the covers from floor vents?

    The main thought bein' that you can help to better trap the heat up high, and isolate any drafts below, which would help keep condensation from forming on or around them.
     

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