Uh oh.. does this mean my chickens are getting frostbitten?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Chick_a_dee, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. Chick_a_dee

    Chick_a_dee Songster

    May 23, 2008
    Peterborough, ON
    I noticed today a few of the girls have a bit of white around their combs, these girls don't have particularly bright or dark combs anyway, and it's not even that cold inside the coop. With the weather outside at -17 today the coop inside was coming from 0 to -5.

    What do you guys think? Should I get me some vaseline and/or a ceramic heat bulb. I just don't want to heat, they're supposed to be a cold hardy cross breed and I don't want to make them wimps by heating the place. The coop is insulated though not massively, is there anything else I can do? Otherwise they're fine, no one has lost toes, no one seems cold. They're all busy and acting as usual.

    Thing is, I've never seen frostbite before, and It just looks like they were outside in the cold too long, like when you don't wear mittens and your fingers go red at the ends?

    I'm going to pick up some vaseline tomorrow anyway just so I have it.
  2. FrontPorchIndiana

    FrontPorchIndiana Songster

    Mar 8, 2008
    Can you post a picture? That might help.
  3. Chick_a_dee

    Chick_a_dee Songster

    May 23, 2008
    Peterborough, ON
    Quote:I'll snap a few in the morning, they get really angry if I wake them up after lights out at 6pm LOL. I can't see how they could have frostbite, it hasn't been horribly cold out. I suppose though that the cold drys our your skin, so it could be the dry skin of their combs around the edges, in which case putting vaseline on would be a good idea, as if the temp goes down more they could get frostbite. Hum. Catching 15 chickens and vaselining them will be interesting LOL, but at least I can get the legbands on I've been meaning to put on for about 3 months.
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    You're talking Celcius I assume. I'd want to guess just cold and dry combs at those temps. My silly suckers are doing your inside coop temps... outside. [​IMG]
  5. Chick_a_dee

    Chick_a_dee Songster

    May 23, 2008
    Peterborough, ON
    Quote:Yup, Celcius. I felt a few of them earlier on, and they didn't feel cold or brittle or anything. I'm going to pick up some vaseline tomorrow regardless and smother them all just in case. I'm hoping no one decides that pecking someone elses comb is a good idea.
  6. Mine have the white speckles as well. They are sex links. One of mine had some frostbite...it turns black.
  7. Biddieacres

    Biddieacres Songster

    Mar 31, 2008
    Did you notice if they were purple first then turn white?

    It wasn't that cold here either and my RIR and Leghorn had purple spots. I put vaseline on and it did seem to help. It was a funny sight trying to vaseline them though. They would duck and dodge my hand every time.

    I was worried because I figured they had a long winter ahead and it wasn't even that cold so I broke down and got a panel heater on a timer which turns on at freezing and turns off at 40 degrees. Just so them and their eggs wouldn't freeze.

    Between the Vaseline and the heater, the purple did go away but I started to notice some white on the tips of their combs after. So you could have a little case of frostbite. I would try the vaseline.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2008
  8. Chick_a_dee

    Chick_a_dee Songster

    May 23, 2008
    Peterborough, ON
    Quote:Nope, no purple. Just a bit lighter at the edges of some of their combs. I don't want to put a heater in there and make them dependant on it. They have a 100 watt lightbulb in the mornings and evenings to extend the light, it keeps the water liquid and makes it a bit toastier in there. I'm going to smother some vaseline on anyway, it won't hurt.

    I was thinking it was just cold and dry, but if left could develop into frost bite.
  9. DaveMN

    DaveMN In the Brooder

    Mar 30, 2008
    Moose Lake, Mn
    for us it has been -15 farenheit with a high of 5 above zero. good thing is the temp seems to stay above the zero mark but i have a 250w heat lamp along with a 125w ceramic bulb to keep the temp up a bit in the coop. the waterer never freezes but it is a 5 gallon fount on a heating base. i figure if i can keep it above zero that they will do fine.
    so far the only one i have notice a problem is the barred rock rooster. the very top points of the comb got a bit frost bitten a few weeks ago but look ok now.
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Sounds like dry skin and possibly nonlaying hens, to me. Personally I'd be inclined to make sure I continue to do as much as possible to keep coop air *dry* and draft-free, and vaseline the hens' combs every few days after they go to roost at night. Mine have looked like you describe at various times and been totally fine.


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