When can I put hens back outside?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Mrs. Mik, Jan 1, 2009.

  1. Mrs. Mik

    Mrs. Mik Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 18, 2008
    A couple weeks ago, I had a hen with frozen toes. We brought her in and placed her on towels with a hot water bottle underneath. We also covered her with a towel and placed a heater in front of her to help warm her up.

    The good news is that she's doing GREAT and shows absolutely no signs of frostbite or other distress. Because I didn't want her to get too lonely, we brought another hen in to keep her company. They've been in the basement, in our dog's crate, where it's about 60 degrees or so.

    Now, I need to get these hens back out into the coop. I've heard that a rapid temperature change can kill chickens. Unfortunately, it's WINTER here in Wisconsin, and the only thing we have outside is snow and COLD! When I got up this morning, it was -5. I'm sure we're going to have a warm-up to may 20-30 degrees or so. Is that too much of a change for them? The coop does have two warming lights in it.

    Julie

    PS, some of you may remember we had issues with our coop being too drafty, which is why she ended up with frozen toes. We've since taken care of that problem by wrapping the entire outside of the coop in plastic (except for the vents at the top on one wall), and stapled cardboard to the studs and stuffed it with hay. We haven't lost another chicken and haven't had another one with frostbite since taking those measures.
     
  2. jhm47

    jhm47 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That temp change shouldn't bother them. How are the toes on the hen with the frozen feet? If they are getting smaller and shriveling up, she will likely lose them in time. I have had chickens with frozen feet occasionally, and they lost all their toes on one foot, but did just fine eventually.
     
  3. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

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    What are their roosting bars like? Frostbitten toes can mean that the roosting bar is too narrow and they're unable to cover their toes with their feathers at night.
     
  4. Mrs. Mik

    Mrs. Mik Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 18, 2008
    Their roost is a wide plank (like a 2x4), that allows them to sit on the wide end so they can cover their toes.

    Her frostbite happened the night we lost 4 chickens. It was too drafty in the coop when it was -35 wind chills overnight.

    I THOUGHT she looked fine, but now the toes and part of the leg is black and she can't walk on it very well. Obviously, she is going to lose it. [​IMG]
     
  5. Oblio13

    Oblio13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Where do you live?
     
  6. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

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    I've read about other hens losing toes and recovering just fine. Keep a close eye on the toe and make sure that the tissue doesn't get necrotic (gangrene).
     

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