1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

So what do you do????

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by dandydoodle, Nov 19, 2011.

  1. dandydoodle

    dandydoodle Songster

    Sep 21, 2010
    When temps start going down what do you do??? Do you set out warming pads? Do you set up heating lamps? Do you cover the areas of your coop to block off the wind? I am still quite new to the chicken thing. I noticed today one of my chickens combs was purple on the back half. I think they are cold but, I really don't know what to do. So what do you do to prepare for the winter?



  2. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Songster

    Nov 2, 2009
    North Texas
    putting vaseline on combs can keep them from getting frost bitten...down here we just put up a wind block, and stuff the coop. I am trying straw this year. We shall see how that goes [​IMG]
  3. Mother_Hen2011

    Mother_Hen2011 Songster

    Aug 2, 2011
    New Mexico
    I block my run on the sides but not the front and only half of the top. I but done about 2 inches of pine shavings and make sure that it is nice an toasty in there for them. 3 hens and 2 ducks [​IMG] This is our first winter with chickens and Im hoping everything goes well. Got my vasaline ready to go helps keep them from getting frostbite [​IMG]
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Free Ranging Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    Make sure they have food, water, and a draft-free place to roost at night. They'll be fine, really. I don't think it could possibly get cold enough in GA to be dangerous to a fully feathered adult chicken. How cold was it there? Just wondering because the purple comb worries me a bit. It's gotten down to -20's here in MN in the winter and I've never had a chicken with a purple comb. Hopefully someone else can be of more help with that than I am.
  5. wyododge

    wyododge Chirping

    Sep 30, 2011
    I think the adaptation to cold is all relative. not sure though. My chickens will be WAY more adapted to the cold then yours will just simply due to environment. It gets stupid cold here Anyway, the purple spot could be frostbite as you have pretty high humidity down there, and if the temp dropped quickly, maybe they were not ready. It is also possible that it was cold enough to freeze, but not cold enough for them to tuck their heads in. In any case I would watch that bird closely, it may just be a genetic thing, but could also be a sign that she/he is has something hidden that is not readily apparent.

    As far as winter preparation, I have actually added holes in the coop. when the temps dropped, we got an ammonia smell indicating not enough ventilation. Apparently in the summer the heat created thermal convection that is no longer present. Live and learn I suppose. We do not used artificial heat though. I would start investigating with ventilation, unless your coop is wide open. if it is wide open, then maybe block off some areas with blankets or tarps to slow the air down. Unless it was significantly below freezing, I would not think that it is frostbite. At 30* it takes hours for bare skin to get frost bite to the point of deformation.

    post up as much info as you can though. lots of REALLY smart and experienced people on here, they'll get ya fixed up.
  6. stormylady

    stormylady Songster

    Dec 27, 2008
    Do you have a Rooster? because I noticed that a couple of his favorite hens were like that with the comb thing, turns out it was a bruise from where the Roo was hanging on to there heads with his beak while mating. Is your hen with the discolored comb acting funny (listless, tired, fluffed up, off her feed at all), because if she is acting sick at all it could be a respitory illiness (lack of oxigen) if she is I would get her on Medicine right away, I used corid v on my girls and it worked fast. Oh it could also be caused from fighting too, I noticed that when my roos fight they had bruised combs from grabbing each other by the combs. Hope your bird will fine, best of luck with her. Sandy

    As far as preparing for the cold, I don't do too much of anything outside of covering the windows to keep out the cold breezes, I live in Illinois and it does get pretty cold here, but I have never set up extra heat for them or anything just try to cut down on the blasts of cold air and everyone has faired really well so far, my smallest chicken in the coop is Blossom a white leghorn (3/4 yrs old) and have had her since my first set of chicks ever and she does really well in the wintertime without extra heat too.

    I had a strickly outside dog for 20 years, a pitbull named chance that I loved dearly, Everytime It got below freezing outside I would try and bring him in and he was miserable panting it was almost a punishment to bring him in, don't get me wrong he had a very nice large windproof dog house to go in, stuffed with straw, so he was warm in comparison to being outside with no shelter, Anyway point being that Animals get acclimated to the weather gradually, so it doesn't bother them like you would think, yes they get cold but they cope really well as long as it isn't a sudden change . Like say if the chickens were raised with a extra heat sorce and the electricy went out and it suddenly went from 50% to say 10% below zero theres not a doubt in my mind that I would lose some girls. I had a real problem with that issue the first year I was so worried about them dying of the cold and though I didn't lose any chickens there were a couple of cases of frostbite with the hens and Roosters with the very large combs, but I have learned that putting vaseline on the combs and wattles helps alot but more than anything covering the windows to keep out the cold wind helps most, I have ventitalation all across the top of the coop plus there pop whole is open all day for them to come and go at will, but that is closed at night mostly because of preditors more than the cold issue.

    I hope i didn't upset anyone with my chance being a strickly outside dog, he was well loved and well cared for and lived til he was 20 yrs old a very very long life for a pitbull. And even the vet was suprised when he came in for his checkups and shots, she just couldn't believe he lived so long, we all cried when he did pass away. [​IMG] Anyway I wasn't trying to get into all of that because now I'm in tears but like I said
    I would rather them cope with the cold them stress them with temp. changes like that. Again best of luck with what ever you choose. Sandy
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2011

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by