Can Chickens get Frostbite and how do I stop it?

Frostbite is bodily tissue damage occurring when they are exposed to extreme cold conditions. It causes the fluid in the cells to freeze. This results in the clotting of the blood which in turn deprives the cells of oxygen. This will result in varying degrees of tissue damages. If the cold is extreme enough, any tissues exposed can begin suffering frostbite in a matter of a few minutes. Though they can handle cold conditions pretty well, if the conditions are too extreme, chickens can get frostbite. So, steps should be taken to prevent it from occurring in the birds. However, in case the chickens are already affected, there are ways to deal with the conditions. Here are some of the top ways to stop frostbite in your chickens:

1. Warm the Chicken

Warming the chicken slowly can help in fighting frostbite in your chicken. However, certain precautions have to be taken. You should never use a heat lamp, blow dryer, hot water or any other such direct source of heat. The affected chickens should be brought inside a warm place. If their feet are affected, you can have them soaking in warm but not hot water. This will help get the circulation in the chicken feet going.

3 chickens out in the snow
Throughout the rest of winter, ensure that the chicken is kept warm to avoid any recurrences of freezing that will affect them again. This way, any further damage is prevented. This should be done for between four and six weeks to allow for full recovery of the tissues.

2. Use Homemade Frostbite Ointments to treat frostbite

Whenever you’ve spotted frostbite in your flock, some homemade ointments can be used to prevent it from spreading to the other parts of the chickens that are yet to be affected. These oils are simply smeared on the unaffected areas to help them not succumb. However, when applying the ointment, care should be taken in order not to cause more damage. Smear it gently on the areas. If you’re confident of preparing your own ointment, go for the first-aid salve and have it all year round, especially during the winter.

Prevention of Frostbite in Chickens

The best method for dealing with frostbite in your chicken is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Here are the preventive measures that you can always take to protect your feathered friends:

1. Raise Chickens that are Used to the Cold

The most effective way of preventing frostbite from occurring in your flock is to go for chickens that are very used to cold conditions. Therefore, before you opt for any breed of chickens, do enough research so that you end up with those that have the highest ability to survive in your prevailing cold conditions during winter.

Chickens in a coop outside with snow.

2. Ventilate and Insulate the Chicken Coop

Preventing chickens from catching frostbite should also involve proper ventilation and insulation of the chicken coop. This practice is paramount for other things such as dealing with moisture which can result in many other diseases and ailments to the birds which are quite deadly.

3. Supplement With Heat

Certain breeds of chickens are very sensitive to cold. Therefore, they can be protected from frostbite by supplementing with heat during the cold winter season. However, caution should be taken not to expose the birds directly to heat. Rather they should be placed in warm environments.

4. Take Coop Flooring into Consideration

Bedding materials that have the ability to retain heat should be used on the floor of the chicken house to preserve the warmth. So, ensure that the floor is free from extreme cold and moisture.

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