Frostbite is a danger for anyone who spends a lot of time outside in the winter, which means your backyard chickens are no exception. Extremely low temperatures, wind chill, moisture or humidity, and other dangerous exposure can result in damaged or dead tissue. This occurs most often in chickens’ combs, wattles, and feet, as these areas aren’t covered in feathers and have the least protection from the elements. When it comes to frostbite in your flock, prevention is the best treatment. Learn how to keep the bitter cold at bay with this guide on how to prevent frostbite in backyard chickens.
Choose Cold-Hardy Chicken Breeds
Chickens are hardy creatures, but certain breeds are more naturally equipped to handle the cold. If you live in a colder climate or tend to experience harsher winters, you might want to look into breeds that do better in extreme temperatures. Generally speaking, chicken breeds with smaller combs and heavier bodies are better at producing body heat and keeping themselves warm. Brahmas, Rhode Island Reds, and Jersey Giants are good examples of cold-hardy breeds. You might also want to stick to only owning hens, as they have smaller combs and wattles than their male counterparts.
Avoid Moisture Problems in the Coop
Being cold and wet is far more dangerous than being cold and dry. The temperature alone might not bother your birds, but exposure to moisture will make them far more susceptible to frostbite and other cold-weather hazards. Eliminating these moisture problems is a huge part of how to prevent frostbite in backyard chickens. You can start by making sure your coop is well ventilated. This will prevent a humidity buildup that can lead to water droplets gathering and freezing on your birds’ combs and wattles. You should also take care with your chicken watering system. Choose a waterer that prevents spills. It’s also a good idea to keep your waterer outside so that your hens can’t bump into it and spill it on themselves and in the coop during the night when you’re not there.
With a little care and preparation, you can help your flock stay comfortable and avoid frostbite and other painful conditions this winter. How do you keep your chickens warm and toasty during cold weather? Share your favorite tips and tricks with us in the comments below!