Ways to protect chickens with Large combs?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Schwartzfarmnc, Sep 26, 2011.

  1. Schwartzfarmnc

    Schwartzfarmnc Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 28, 2010
    West Jefferson
    I know the biggest issue is dampness and ventilation, and I have plenty of ventilation, but my coop is near 2 creeks so humidity can creep up even though the coop is very dry. My question is what are things to apply to the ones with large combs to prevent frostbite?

    I've read that vaseline or bag balm can be used, what does everyone else use to protect their big comb chickens? We live in the upper mountains of NC so it get's pretty cold and I'm not too concerned with the coop but if or when they venture out into the run.
  2. stoopid

    stoopid Chicken Fairy Godmother

    Aug 3, 2011
    Long Island, NY
    I tried antibiotic ointment on my Japanese bantam roos, I thought it would be better than nothing at all. Winter came, and they got frostbite anyway. But the meds kept them from getting a nasty infection. Now they have little stumps there their combs are.
    Funny, I have other breeds with combs just as large. No frostbite. Maybe they were just smarter and stayed inside??
  3. babyrnlc

    babyrnlc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 30, 2011
    Tulsa, Ok
    I am very interested to see the answer to this. Last year we had two hens and they were both pea combs so no issues. this winter I will have a leghorn and an Ancona!
  4. saladin

    saladin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2009
    the South
    Quote:The biggest issue is the cold.

    Easiest and best thing to do for the bird is to trim them. If you can't do it then find someone close by that can. Just look for cocks on tie-cords. Then pull in and ask for the owner of the cocks. Tell him you need him to trim a bird for you: pull out your cockbird and in less than 30 seconds you won't have a problem any longer.
  5. RedDrgn

    RedDrgn Anachronistic Anomaly

    May 11, 2011
    West Virginia
    My Coop
    I'd be surprised if the creeks directly contribute much humidity in the winter. The colder air isn't capable of carrying as much moisture, plus (if it's getting below freezing regularly) the creeks themselves may partially/completely freeze over. The most likely sources of humidity over winter are going to be waterers and chicken respiration and defecation.

    I've also read that petroleum jelly/balms/etc. protect against frostbite, but according to an old-timer in our area, that's a bunch of hooey. He says he's used it and still ended up with frostbitten combs/toes. The balms don't keep the skin any warmer and would prevent moisture evaporation from the skin, so it doesn't seem to follow that it would help with frostbite prevention.

    Our flock will be going through their very first winter, so while I have no personal experience, my worry-driven inquiries over the past month have made it pretty clear that keeping the humidity in the coop to 50% or less, preventing drafts across areas where the chickens roost, and providing roosts that allow the chickens to get their toes under their feathers will be adequate for preventing frostbite on combs and feet in all but the most unholy of freezing temperatures with cold-hardy breeds.
  6. Schwartzfarmnc

    Schwartzfarmnc Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 28, 2010
    West Jefferson
    Thanks for your replies, the coop is an insulated coop with no drafts and they roost on a 2x4 flat side and I feel confident inside the coop they will be just fine, but outside will still be an issue I believe but we will see how they react to the cold this coming weekend and I guess I'll make my decision whether or not try the vaseline or not.
  7. shelleen

    shelleen Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 27, 2011
    We live in northern MN & last Thanksgiving, my brother-in-law did not shut the door to the coop tightly & 4 chickens escaped. The next day the temps went below zero & stormed. We looked high & low in our woods that edge our yard to no avail. 3 days later, one chicken wandered back closer & my husband was able to rescue it. A week later, one more re-appeared! We were ecstatic! And the final miracle...two weeks later, my husband decided to walk the woods again and found the last 2 roosting in a tree. They were skinny, hungry and slightly frostbit. We did not really do much to their combs (they did not seem to be in pain when we'd touch them), and they were black on the edges. They healed up just fine and you can only see 1-2 black dots on their combs now. During their absence, the temps were -20 & blowing for a couple of days, and lots of snow. Needless to say, they stuck close to their quarters the rest of the winter [​IMG] I was so amazed at how resilient they were. If I remember correctly, there was a Silver Laced Wyandotte, an Australorp, an Americauna & my Bantam Barred Rock Roo--good sized combs on 3 of them.
  8. branston

    branston Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2011
    I managed to order some chicken sweaters (and I am being serious)......I wonder if anyone does hats for chickens!!!

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