One would think that with unseasonably warm weather, freezing combs would be the least of my concern, especially since I purposely chose winter-hardy chicken breeds (I thought)... The problem was that the chickens hadn't really had an opportunity to acclimate to the cold. On the one night that the temperature fell to 7°F, the girls had been foraging all day in a drizzling rain and returned to the coop that evening with their feathers soaking wet. It was this moisture, added to the freezing temperature and lack of acclimation to the cold, that increased the chance for frostbite.
|Day 1--Initial stage of frostbite...
My daughter was the first to notice the change in Henrietta's comb. I knew immediately what had happened, and according to the encyclopedia there isn't anything to do to treat frostbite. The book does list some tips to minimize the possibility of frostbite including: reducing the humidity by removing damp liter, coating the combs with petroleum jelly, and heating the coop. I also find an entry in the book "dub," which means to surgically remove the comb. One purpose of "dubbing" is to prevent or treat frostbite in a large-comb breed. I'm definitely not ready to remove all my hens combs as a preventative measure! The good thing is that she hasn't appeared to be in any pain. She never quit eating or laying a daily egg and she's still the first to jump for a treat! She's already lost 3 tips of her large comb, but as long as she doesn't see her reflection I doubt if she cares... I still think she's beautiful--with or without a comb!
Here's the best part of this post: To celebrate the release of the book, The Chicken Encyclopedia: An Illustrated Reference by Gail Damerow, Storey Publishing has generously offered to give a free book to one of my lucky readers! For those of us who sometimes would rather thumb through a book than the Internet, I think is a great "search engine" for all chicken-related info... I enjoy how this book is arranged in an easy A to Z format, and it's full of detailed definitions, color photos, illustrations, charts, tips, etc. Once you start browsing through this book, it's hard to put it down! All you have to do is leave a comment below and I'll include you in a drawing for this book. I'll announce the winner in two weeks--so check back at my next post!
You'll increase your chance at winning this book by visiting each of the following sites over the next two weeks.
1-March Inside Storey (The tour kick-off!)
2-March For the Love of Chickens
3-March Vintage Garden Gal
4-March The Garden Roof Coop --That's me!
5-March Common Weeder
6-March Chickens in the Road
7-March Garden Rant
8-March Fresh Eggs Daily
9-March My Pet Chicken Blog
10-March Coop Thoughts
11-March BoHo Farm and Home
12-March Happy Chickens Lay Healthy Eggs
13-March A Charlotte Garden
14-March Farm Fresh Fun
15-March The HenCam
16-March Life on a Southern Farm
17-March ADozenGirlz, the Chicken Chick™
18-March North Coast Gardening
(Note: U.S. residents only. Please include your email address or another way to reach you. If a winner does not respond within 10 days, I will chose another winner.)