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So confused about keeping coop warm?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by borzoimom, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. borzoimom

    borzoimom In the Brooder

    Jun 24, 2012
    If I could get some questions answered, it would be much appreciated. This is my first winter having chickens and very confused and frustrated. We have a small hen house, approx. 4 x 4 x 5. Because of its size I did not feel that insulation or heat was necessary. We live in northern Indiana, so I chose cold-hardy breeds, we house 5 hens and one rooster. Our chickens are out in run every day from dawn to dusk and can get inside their house anytime they want. The coop is well-ventilated, maybe a minor draft on one side. The door to the house is closed at night. The chickens all seemed fine, until a few weeks ago. my rooster, a favorolle, suffered bad frostbite. He points of comb are all back and the top half of his comb are purple. Doesn't affect him, he is acting normal and doing his stuff. But now I don't know if I need insulation, warm lights or what? I have a thick layer of straw in house. Just as I go to do something to make it warmer, (I have covered the space of draft with tarp) I get conflicting information. Can anyone tell me why, if I don't need insulation, did my rooster get frostbite? Is there anything I need to do for him now?

  2. myhubbycallsmechickeemama

    myhubbycallsmechickeemama Songster

    May 9, 2011
    Arco, ID
  3. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Crowing

    Dec 6, 2012
    New Brunswick,Canada
    I heard some times if a rooster with a large comb drinks from a open bowl they are more susceptible to frost bite. Do not know if this applies in your situation. If so you could try maybe a nipple type waterer. My Delaware rooster had a touch of frost bite awhile back also. None of my hens were affected. Apparently Vaseline on his comb will help him.
  4. chfite

    chfite Songster

    Jun 7, 2011
    Taylors, SC
    Frostbite is generally attributable to high humidity with low temperature. Proper ventilation is the key to keep moisture under control.

    It never goes below 0 F here. My chickens come out into all manner of cold and seem to be unaffected. In the coop at night in the mid 20s, they are all hanging out on the roost the same as when it is hot.

    My rooster had some black spots on the extremities of his comb last year. I could not tell if these were from frostbite or from raking his comb against something abrasive such as the wire mesh. Over time, the places disappeared and his comb looks normal now.

    My coop has about 30 square feet of screening for ventilation. The down feathers will keep the chickens warm.

    1 person likes this.
  5. I can only echo what chfite says. Frostbite is a result of high humidity and cold. If you are getting frostbite, it might be wise to check out how much ventilation you have in your coop. High, above the roosting height of your chickens, making it ventilation, not drafts right on your bird. I suspect adequate ventilation is more of a problem in small coops as the 'overhead' room for your birds is more limited. Don't know how high your roosts are, but keeping them lower would provide more area up top to add extra ventilation.

    Hasn't been a particularly cold year here in CO, but have been below zero several times. My coop is built with half of the south side covered only in hardware cloth (covered by a plastic tarp in the winter), no insulation and I have no trouble with frostbite. During the day my birds are out in all weathers. If it were just cold that caused it, they would all be frostbitten just from being outside.

    Good luck solving your problem.
  6. littlechick1005

    littlechick1005 In the Brooder

    Apr 28, 2012
    My roosters all developed frostbite over the course of their life even with the use of a heat lamp...my hens were never affected the same as the roosters...they had black on their feet and their combs but were in great health condition so they continued to live lengthy healthy lives til the skunk got in the pen :(
  7. countryhen

    countryhen Chirping

    Jan 28, 2013
    I have a metal building for a coop & I wrapped inside walls with wet felt & have a small hot air heater that kicks on & off hanging in top of coop so chickens can't get it. this keeps em warm & you can get these heaters @ walmart for about $12

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