Dec 26, 2013

Frostbite in Backyard Chickens: Causes, Treatment & Prevention

Frostbite in Backyard Chickens: Causes, Treatment & Prevention
In extremely cold weather, backyard chickens are at risk for frostbite; the possible consequences of frostbite are pain, disfigurement, loss of mobility, decreased fertility in roosters and diminished egg production in hens. Mild cases are often unavoidable even with the best preventative efforts of diligent chicken-keepers, but knowing the causes, how to optimize a flock’s living conditions and how to treat frostbite if it occurs will reduce the risks and limit any damage.
Frostbite in Backyard Chickens: Causes, Treatment & Prevention
WHAT IS FROSTBITE?
Frostbite is damage that occurs to bodily tissues from exposure to extreme cold when fluid in cells freezes. As a result of freezing, blood clots form depriving the cells of oxygen, causing tissue damage to varying degrees. In extremely cold conditions exposed tissues can suffer frostbite in minutes.
Normal, healthy comb.
This is a normal, healthy comb and healthy wattles.
Factors that can contribute to frostbite are:
temperature
wind chill factor
length of exposure
humidity/moisture/wetness
high altitude
diminished circulation
Blackened tip of comb indicates frostbite
Blackened area on tip of comb indicates frostbite.

CHICKENS AT RISK
In cold weather, chickens are able to conserve body heat by restricting blood-flow to their combs, wattles and feet, the very parts of the body that give off excess heat in warm weather. The result is a decrease in warmth and oxygen to those extremities, which puts them at risk for frostbite.
Drinking water dripping from beak onto wattles puts the chicken at risk for frostbite in very cold temperatures
Drinking water dripping from beak onto wattles puts the chicken at risk for frostbite in very cold temps.

Chickens with large combs and wattles are especially vulnerable to frostbite, but any chicken can be affected if the conditions are cold enough. Wattles are especially susceptible to frostbite since drinking water often drips from the beak, down the wattles, freezing in place.
Chickens are at risk of frostbite to extremities, including combs, wattles and feet.
Normal chicken feet.
Roosters and breeds with single combs are at the greatest risk of frostbite due to their more prominent combs and wattles. Frostbite to feet is an equal-opportunity affliction.
This chicken standing in the snow is not doing her feet any favors in conditions ripe for frostbite.
Miraculously, none of my chickens has ever had frostbitten feet, 
even among those who seem to enjoy standing in the snow.Frostbite on rooster's comb
This is a mild case of frostbite to the comb and wattles that occurred when temperatures were in the teens one day and the wind chill brought the temps to below zero. The roosters insist on patrolling the perimeter of the coops, which puts them at high risk for frostbite with their large combs and wattles. 
A very early indication of frostbite includes slight color change in the wattles.
Note slight color change in the wattles. The tissue felt very rough and brittle.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF FROSTBITE
-color changes to tissues: whitening/lightening, pale, grayish-yellow or grayish-blue color
-swelling
-tissue may feel cold and/or hard to the touch
-blisters filled with clear or milky fluid, which may not appear until 24-36 hours after exposure
-blackened tissues
-limping
-loss of appetite
-the chicken may be listless in severe cases
Rooster with very mild frostbite to tip of comb.
Dos and DON’Ts of FROSTBITE TREATMENT
DO move a frostbitten chicken to a warmer location upon discovery of a severe case of exposure where the tissue is black or large areas of tissue are affected to stop any further cold injury from progressing.

DO obtain veterinary care immediately if possible.

DO consult a veterinarian for prescription medication for pain and inflammation (Metacam is commonly prescribed for this purpose). Alternatively, five aspirin (five grain each) dissolved in one gallon of water may be given for 1-3 days. (aspirin dilution source: Chicken Health for Dummies)

DO gradually warm the affected area(s). Frostbitten feet should be immersed in lukewarm water between 100°F and 101°F for 20-25 minutes to bring the tissues back up to temperature SLOWLY. For combs and wattles, washcloths soaked in lukewarm water can be held very gingerly against them. Avoid rubbing or any friction that could cause additional damage to tissues.
Winter chicken coops.
DO NOT begin the warming process until the bird is no longer exposed to the cold. Thawing and re-freezing of the tissues will cause greater damage than a delayed response to the initial injury would.

DO NOT use direct heat to thaw the affected area (eg: hair dryer, heat lamp, heating pad)
Dos and don'ts of treating frostbite in chickens
DO NOT rub or massage the affected area- it can damage the tissues further.

DO NOT break any blisters- they are Nature’s Band-Aids and help protect the underlying tissue.

DO hydrate the chicken. Adding vitamins & electrolytes to the water can help with the shock of the cold injury.

DO keep the chicken in a temperate location while recovering. If feet are affected, line the temporary housing area with soft towels.

DO NOT remove any blackened/dead tissue as it is protecting healthy tissue underneath it. Depending on the extent of the cold injury, it may or may not dry up and fall off. Areas that die and fall off do not ordinarily regenerate.

DO
keep the injured area clean. I recommend Vetericyn VF Hydrogel spray 2-3 times per day until healed. Alternatively, a triple antibiotic ointment or aloe vera can be applied to the damaged tissue.

DO monitor the for infection, signs of which may include: swelling, redness, oozing, foul smelling discharge, etc. If infection occurs, antibiotics may be necessary. 

DO monitor the chicken’s dietary intake- the pain caused by wattles touching feeders and waterers may deter it from eating and drinking. They will appreciate a poultry nipple watering system over a traditional waterer because their injured wattles will not touch the nipple system.

DO soak frostbitten feet in lukewarm water and Epsom salt once or twice a day for several weeks while keeping the chicken as comfortable as possible in a temporary indoor facility. Soft bedding will make the chicken more comfortable (think: old towels). Severe cases may cause toes or even the entire foot to fall off, but chickens can survive these cold injuries and live reasonably normal lives if infection can be controlled.

DO expect it to take months for the full extent of frostbite to be realized and for recovery to occur.
Extreme cold plus windy conditions increase the chance of frostbite to chickens.
PREVENTION
In the Coop
DO ventilate the coop properly. The goal is to get as much air exchange throughout the coop as possible without drafts, particularly in the roost area. Ideally there will be windows and/or vents on all four sides of the coop. Ventilation holes towards the top of the coop, far above roost height and chicken height are best for achieving effective cold weather air exchange. If your coop does not have adequate ventilation, create more. Think: windows, not little holes. A reciprocating saw, some hinges, hardware cloth and washers/screws are all the supplies necessary to install additional ventilation in an existing coop. Install as much ventilation as high up on the walls as possible while ensuring that the air over the roost remains still. You want the warmest, heaviest air moving up and out of the coop. Much more on winterizing the chicken coop can be found on my blog here.
Frostbitten comb on rooster.
Mild case of frostbite to wattles.
DO limit moisture inside the coop. Most breeds tolerate cold extremely well, but freezing temperatures inside the coop in addition to moisture is the recipe for frostbite inside the coop.  Frostbite is most likely to occur overnight in a cold, poorly ventilated coop where damp bedding and moisture from droppings and respiration cannot escape. Chickens generate a great deal of moisture from respiration (breathing) as well as from pooping as droppings consist of 85% water. If the windows of the coop have condensation on them in the morning, there is not enough ventilation in the coop. 

DO install droppings boards to eliminate a major source of humidity inside the coop each day.
Droppings boards inside the chicken coop help eliminate a major source of humidity inside the coop daily.
DO keep waterers out of the hen house if possible. While controlling moisture from respiration and droppings is manageable with excellent ventilation, it is impossible to keep ahead of the moisture curve if waterers spill in the bedding. As long as the flock is given access to water at daybreak, there is no need for water inside the coop. Chickens should not be without water for more than an hour or so during the day. If using supplemental lighting to promote continued egg production in autumn and winter, I suggest using a poultry nipple waterer inside the coop for the very early morning hours before the flock is let out into the run. This will minimize the amount of water than could spill in the bedding. A drip pan of some sort to catch stray droplets is a good idea. Remove the waterer from the coop when the flock is let out of the coop for the day.
Keeping litter dry helps prevent frostbite. Sand is an excellent choice for winter chicken care.
DO keep litter dry and fresh. I highly recommend the use of sand as litter inside the chicken coop because it evaporates moisture more rapidly than other litter and stays drier as a result. Sand also retains warmth better than any other bedding and given its high thermal mass and it will keep coop temperatures more stable than other litter choices such as pine shavings and straw. 

DO utilize the deep litter method of chicken waste management IF you can implement it properly. Deep litter requires careful management, which includes stirring and and monitoring moisture content. The deep litter method implemented improperly is a serious health hazard to the flock. Much more about the deep litter method on my blog here.

DO try to select cold hardy breeds with small combs and wattles in very cold climates if possible.
Tolbunt Polish Frizzle hen.
Ally McBeak is a Tolbunt Polish Frizzle and while Frizzles are not typically thought of as cold-hardy, she does brilliantly in the cold since her comb and wattles are protected by feathers. 
Providing flat, wide roosts helps birds cover their feet while roosting at night, keeping them warm against their bodies and underneath their feathers.
DO provide flat, wide roosts for the birds to cover their feet with their bodies/feathers. 2"x4" boards are better than a round roost.
Thick moisturizing cream can help keep moisture from clinging to combs and wattles at night.
DO apply a thick coat of moisturizer such as CeraveEucerin or Vaseline to combs and wattles at night to prevent any moisture from clinging to them. The jury is still out on whether this really prevents frostbite, but it can’t hurt and it can help with recovery.
DO NOT use a dangerous heat lamp inside the coop. If a heat source is deemed necessary, use a less hazardous form of heat such as a flat panel, radiant heater. Only supply enough heat to raise the coop temperature a few degrees-the coop should not feel warm to you.

OUTSIDE SHELTER:
DO provide outdoor shelter and windbreaks for protection when temperatures are severe and windchills reduce them even further. Chickens should have a protected outdoor space to avoid confinement in the coop.

DO NOT try to force, cajole, encourage or bribe chickens into going outside if they would rather not.
Protect chickens from wind by covering the run.
DO cover run walls with construction grade plastic sheeting or tarps to provide the flock with a warmer run by keeping rain, wind and snow out during the day and to keep the coop warmer and draft-free at night.

DO use common sense. When temperatures are extreme and/or are accompanied by precipitation and/or wind, chickens would be well served by being contained to a covered run. Extreme cold in addition to wind/snow/rain puts chickens, even cold-hardy breeds, at risk for frostbitten feet, combs and wattles. Living in New England, I can count on one hand the number of times I have had to confine my flock due to extreme winter cold, but some flocks live in climates that demand confinement frequently.
Frostbitten comb healing beautifully after some down-time out of the elements.
Some time inside the basement with some friends gave Blaze the opportunity to heal away from the cold. It also allowed the scabs to heal without pecking from curious hens.
We may not be able to avoid frostbite completely in our backyard chickens, but with a little forethought and some planning, we can drastically reduce the number of cases and severity of frostbite when it does occur.



TO ENTER the VETERICYN GIVEAWAY:
1. Subscribe to my blog via email, Bloglovin', Networked Blogs or Google+
and
2. Comment below!
Eligibility limited to US residents only. Winners chosen by random drawing from eligible entries and notified by email if provided and/or here. Giveaway ends 1/1/14, 9pm EST.

604 comments :

  1. Shel Reitmajer12/26/13, 8:55 PM

    That's scary! Frost bite SUCKS! Thanks so much for the info!

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  2. I actually lost my partridge rock rooster to frostbite a couple weeks ago when we had below zero weather plus wind chill a couple weeks ago. I am guessing the hens must have picked at his frostbitten comb, because he was bleeding severely on his comb. Tried numerous attempts to stop the bleeding but it persisted. It came to a point where the most humane thing to do was to put him down. Frostbite is an awful thing!

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  3. Dawn Bitsky Indpendent Represe12/26/13, 8:57 PM

    Have had pretty cold temperatures here this winter, even by Wisconsin standards! Knock-on-wood, no problems with frostbite, but would love to be prepared with some Vetericyn on hand!

    Also, thank you for posting so many clear, pictures with your articles. Someone can use a 100 adjectives to describe something and I still don't "get the picture" until I actually see a picture of what we're talking about! lol

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  4. Great info on frostbite, my Marans roo has a bit on the tips of his comb!

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  5. Valerie Gruber12/26/13, 8:57 PM

    Although we havent had any issues with frostbite...let pray it stays that way...we have had some bordom issues with some pecking... :( Would love to have this for our girls and their boo boo's! Thanks again for all your info and give aways!! Your the best!!

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  6. Peggy Schoenbeck Farley12/26/13, 8:58 PM

    This is an excellent article and calmed my nerves a bit about Frostbite. We have had a cold and snowy Winter so far in W.N.Y. I have worried and checked them numerous times a day to make sure they are comfortable and no signs of Frostbite. However, Winter has just begun!

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  7. Great article! My roo has frostbite but given our climate (cold, cold, cold and damp) I am not sure there is much more I can try. I will try opening a few more vents to see if that helps.

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  8. Excellent article!! Thanks for hosting another great VM giveaway as well. :) You rock!!

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  9. Tracy Angus-DarkHuntress12/26/13, 9:00 PM

    thanks for all the great info you share, I would have never even thought about this..!

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  10. Jodie Maassen12/26/13, 9:03 PM

    Thanks as always for the thorough advice and tips!

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  11. Lynn Neville12/26/13, 9:03 PM

    This is our first year with chickens and we live in the South Shore of Massachusetts. I know I'm freezing when I go out to clean the coop and I'm only out there for 10 minutes at a time. I worry about them being in the cold.

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  12. It would b great to win this package. Always good to hv supplies on hand

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  13. Thanks for the information! My chickens insist on going out no matter how cold or how much snow!

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  14. Amy Lynn Ernst12/26/13, 9:05 PM

    I love coming to your page! Every time I have a chicken issue, you pretty much always have an answer for me! This is my first flock ever and so far they have been happy and healthy, thank you!

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  15. Laurie Farley12/26/13, 9:05 PM

    I AM SO ENJOYING THIS BLOG. i HAVE TWO HENS AND HOPE FOR MORE IN THE FUTURE. lET ME ASK, WHAT IS CONSIDERED A SEVERE TEMP? mY GIRLS SEEM TO DO FINE MOST OF THE TIME, BUT IN THE TEENS FIRST THING IN THE MORNING, I BELIEVE THEIR FEET ARE HURTING. THEY HAVE A WARM COOP, BUT FREE RANGE DURING THE DAY.

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  16. Luckily I haven't had to deal with frostbite, here in Georgia it just isn't cold enough with my coops and lockboxes, and I have all rose-combed and pea-combed breeds. But now that I say that Murphy's law states I will get a blizzard and its problems....

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  17. Esther widgren12/26/13, 9:06 PM

    Frostbite is rarely likely here in central NC, thank goodness! Still it's good to know what should be done to prevent it on those rare sub 20 degree nights.

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  18. David Church12/26/13, 9:07 PM

    I already subscribe to the blog

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  19. TheChickenChick12/26/13, 9:09 PM

    Thanks for following, David!

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  20. TheChickenChick12/26/13, 9:09 PM

    Thanks Amy!

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  21. Chris Price Kluge12/26/13, 9:10 PM

    Love Love Love your blog! Thanks for great info!

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  22. TheChickenChick12/26/13, 9:10 PM

    Temps below freezing are in the danger zone.

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  23. TheChickenChick12/26/13, 9:11 PM

    Mine too and I'd rather have them outside than huddling in the coop cooking up trouble among each other!

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  24. TheChickenChick12/26/13, 9:11 PM

    You bet. Thanks for stopping by, Jodie!

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  25. TheChickenChick12/26/13, 9:11 PM

    I hear ya, Lynn. I'm in Connecticut and the good news is: with proper precautions, frostbite happens seldom.

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  26. Would love to win Vetericyn my rooster and Leghorn both have frostbite on there combs and wattles.

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  27. TheChickenChick12/26/13, 9:12 PM

    Thanks Carol. I hope it helps!

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  28. TheChickenChick12/26/13, 9:12 PM

    Thanks Sarah!

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  29. Oh hoping this ends up being a late Christmas gift! :-)

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  30. Kelly Mosley12/26/13, 9:12 PM

    I love that magic blue stuff :) It has healed dog bites, cat attacks, and just recently hawk talon puncture wounds! All my chickens have healed right up with that stuff!

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  31. TheChickenChick12/26/13, 9:13 PM

    Thank you Peggy.

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  32. Natalie Fullmer12/26/13, 9:14 PM

    I subscribed to your email...would love to win this! I have tried several times.

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  33. TheChickenChick12/26/13, 9:15 PM

    Thanks Valerie. Good luck!

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  34. TheChickenChick12/26/13, 9:16 PM

    Thanks Lisa. :)

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  35. Good info!

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  36. TheChickenChick12/26/13, 9:16 PM

    I'm sorry to hear it, Lisa. :(

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  37. As always very good info to know on how to keep the flock safe and healthy.

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  38. Patti Jo Hamilton12/26/13, 9:20 PM

    Already subscribed. Good timing on this post too. My chicks are new to me still and one has a yellow tip on her comb. I wasn't sure what it was til I seem the pics in this post!

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  39. No frostbite so far and we have had some really cold weather already this year. All my first aid kit needs is some Vetericyn spray :)

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  40. Allison Phillips12/26/13, 9:22 PM

    I need some of this. My rooster got some frostbite on his comb. It was a cold windy day and he felt the need to be out in it (-15).

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  41. Colette Bolster12/26/13, 9:24 PM

    More great info! Thanks again!

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  42. Rosemarie Perez-Pelaez12/26/13, 9:25 PM

    My poor Rhode Island Red rooster has a mild case of frostbite. I've been carefully cleaning the areas with Vetricyn sprayed on a small piece of gauze. Have been putting Corona ointment on his wattles.

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  43. Maggie Vansickle12/26/13, 9:26 PM

    Pick Me Pick Me! I really need torestock my First Aid Kit

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  44. Thanks for the tips. It has been a very cold winter so far

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  45. JessicaHughett12/26/13, 9:27 PM

    I experienced frost bite in a roo for the first time a week or so ago..happy to report. ..he made a rapid recovery with a little TLC :-)

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  46. Here in Wisconsin I've been worried with this cold weather we've been having. I appreciate your blog very much as I learn how to care for my rescue girls. I slipped my hand under one of the snuggler's wings the other day and was amazed at how warm she was! Please enter me in the contest, too :).

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  47. TheChickenChick12/26/13, 9:32 PM

    He knows there is work to be done out there.

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  48. TheChickenChick12/26/13, 9:33 PM

    Thanks Don!

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  49. TheChickenChick12/26/13, 9:34 PM

    Thank you, Dawn. I'm a very visual learner myself, so I know exactly what you mean. Thanks for stopping by and good luck in the giveaway!

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  50. Carol Anderson12/26/13, 9:35 PM

    It is always good to have supplies on hand..... It would be great to win this package. Thanks!

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  51. Amber Thomas12/26/13, 9:36 PM

    I just subscribed to your blog. My mom has chickens and we are hoping to have some ourselves come spring time!

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  52. TheChickenChick12/26/13, 9:37 PM

    Very exciting, Amber!

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  53. TheChickenChick12/26/13, 9:37 PM

    Thanks Gina, you're entered. Good luck!

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  54. TheChickenChick12/26/13, 9:37 PM

    Great news, Jessica!

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  55. Jenn Werner-Williams12/26/13, 9:37 PM

    Thank you for sharing! We have been above zero for 2 days now. Its been a heat wave!

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  56. TheChickenChick12/26/13, 9:38 PM

    Thanks Colette!

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  57. Kimberly Swenson12/26/13, 9:38 PM

    Thanks for the valuable information!! I would love to win this Vetericyn package to complete my first aide kit for my chickens!

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  58. All good information. I can't wait for a bit of a thaw so I can order a load of sand and replace the shavings in the coop with sand.

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  59. Melanie Steele King12/26/13, 9:44 PM

    So excited I found your page and blog this week. We have about 50 chickens and I am still learning new ways to better care for them.

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  60. I hope to win. Need more supplies, running low and one of my gals has a yucky.

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  61. I would love to win this giveaway! Thanks for all the info on the frostbite.

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  62. Kathy Tedford12/26/13, 9:49 PM

    I have only seen this on my hens combs a couple of time when I lived in the Sierras. My rooster on the other hand showed this everyday (blackened tips) when we had our big freeze across the country before Christmas. But, as soon as he went inside for a little bit of time they would be normal red color. I didn't treat for it at all. He seems to recover overnight.

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  63. Brenda Messer12/26/13, 9:50 PM

    Definitely need more Vetricyn!

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  64. TheChickenChick12/26/13, 9:53 PM

    If the color leaves and returns, what you're seeing is a circulation issue, not frostbite, Kathy.

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  65. TheChickenChick12/26/13, 9:54 PM

    Nice to have you here, Melanie!

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  66. TheChickenChick12/26/13, 9:54 PM

    Make sure you invite some friends to help out, Kathy! lol

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  67. This is my first winter with chickens and I am learning so much from you!! Thanks for all the great info!

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  68. This package would be wonderful to add to my arsenal of flock products. Thank you and Happy New Year!

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  69. would love to have this on hand!

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  70. im dealing with a frost bit rooster right now and this would be very bennificial!

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  71. Helen Baldwin12/26/13, 9:59 PM

    Already subscribed and perfect timing about frostbite, my buff orpington rooster has frostbite, thanks for writing, would like to try the vetirycin!

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  72. Renee Rogivue Walker12/26/13, 10:01 PM

    we had a tiny bit of frostbite here in oklahoma this past week or so. Girls are doing good now the temps have come up. Coldest winter and ice Ive seen in years here. I treated with vetericyn. Would be nice to win some right now...My supply is low...wink,wink

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  73. i would love to have a supply of Vetricyn on hand

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  74. Leisa Sutton12/26/13, 10:03 PM

    Excellent information as always. This is our first winter with our flock and we appreciate the information.

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  75. I worry everyyear about my chickens, hoping they don't get frostbit.

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  76. definately need now, 2 of my roosters have a little frost bite I noticed today, please let m win this for them, only have 3 roosters and 16 hens, they need it now , thanks enter me.

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  77. Gina Johnson Brown12/26/13, 10:09 PM

    Thanks for all the info on frostbite!

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  78. Linda J Walker12/26/13, 10:12 PM

    My girls would love to win!

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  79. Great information :-) I just had to treat our head Roo, Gwynne, for a couple dark comb tips. She refuses to go inside the coop if even 1 chicken is out in the yard; including the other 2 Roos. I'd love a chance to try the vetericyn line of products.

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  80. I learned the dangers of wind chill first hand. I allowed my flock out one day at 6 degrees but what I didn't take into account was the wind chill of -13 degrees even though they had access to their coop they didn't go in. when I got home and checked on them 5 of my 24 had frost bite on there combs. I immediately moved them inside turned on a heat lamp for them for a while I assessed and treated everyone with antibiotic ointment. I am now very careful about checking wind chill before letting them out. I now most people would think they would go in on their own but I have learned they won't about 80% of my flock are small combed so it didn't effect them & those staying out I think influenced the others to stay out also. lesson learned`

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  81. I would love to win the Vetericyn! And Kathy, please pat yourself on the back. You provide us such awesome info.

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  82. Kim Warfield Weber12/26/13, 10:23 PM

    Ive noticed a bit of frost bite on my Marans Roosters. I will try the Vaseline to see if that helps to prevent any further damage. I would like to find some Vetricyn also. Haven't found it at my local feed mill yet.

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  83. I would love to win this for my birdie girls. Love reading your blogs!

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  84. Paula Carroll12/26/13, 10:25 PM

    As always you provide great information. Thanks so very much!

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  85. Tessica Reynolds12/26/13, 10:27 PM

    Great info as always

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  86. Rebecca Kober12/26/13, 10:34 PM

    I subscribe via email. Would love to win the Vetericyn package. Thanks for your ever informative topics.

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  87. I'm glad you posted this information. My chicken friends and I were just discussing this. We had 10 days of -25 to -5 temperatures & I'm afraid my rooster got a touch on his comb and a smaller patch on his wattle. It is beginning to look better now, but I didn't know there was a treatment for it. Thank you.

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  88. Susan Frank Cooper12/26/13, 10:53 PM

    My rooster got his wattles and the tips of his comb frostbitten during a 2 week stint of overnight temps in the single digits to -5 and daytime highs of only into the low 20's. I think it was from his breathing more than anything else. Considering the length of our cold snap, I'm glad that's as bad as it got!

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  89. Victoria Gordon Homeier12/26/13, 10:53 PM

    Oh I wish I had read this back in November when we had our below zero temps! :( A couple of my girls had their big comb tips blackened so quickly! I now know what to do when the temp drops again as I am sure it will here in Colorado. I would so appreciate winning this prize!

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  90. Great info much needed this year. Lots of snow and cold.

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  91. This is a great giveaway, I've read such good things about Vetericyn!

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  92. I haven't had to deal with frostbite, but it has been very dry here. My Buff Orp has a dry looking comb and I have been wondering if putting some hand cream on it might help. It is still red and normal looking, and she is still laying, so I am not worrying too much about it. She is the only one with a prominent comb and the others look fine. MY skin has been dry as can be, why should theirs be any different?

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  93. Linda Krendl12/26/13, 11:20 PM

    I would love to win this. I had one of my girls inside for two days because she started to get frostbitten. She looks really good now. We have had some long cold stretches...can't wait until spring gets here!

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  94. Our single comb roosters got some frostbite on their combs this winter during a really frigid cold snap. The rest seemed to fare okay. This provided some great info, thanks!

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  95. that's one of the items I still need to add to my coop medical kit. Kathy is it ok if I print this info about frostbite and keep it in a folder in my coop for future reference?

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  96. Valerie Jensen12/26/13, 11:38 PM

    So far, so good. We've had some extremely cold temps here in N WI. Some of the chickens venture out and some don't. I sure miss them. I had surgery in October and haven't been able to get out there. I've been instructing my husband to put Vaseline on their combs. :) thank you for the info!

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  97. Kristin Withrow12/26/13, 11:50 PM

    My wyandottes insist on sleeping in their outside (covered and protected) run when it's 32-35 degrees. Should I be moving them? They seem okay and are eating, drinking and laying okay. Thanks for all your great blogs Kathy!

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  98. Connie O'Hara12/27/13, 12:17 AM

    I am still building my First Aid Kit and these Vetericyn products would be great! It's the first thing I put on my English Blue Orpington roo's comb during the freezing spell and I saw the tips turning black. His comb was back to normal in the morning. Whether it was frostbite or not, I wasn't taking any chances.

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  99. Susan Pearlman12/27/13, 12:19 AM

    Great article as the temps dip into the single digits here in Michigan.

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  100. Sharon Lee Ledford12/27/13, 12:20 AM

    I absolutely love your blog - So much info. Thank you!

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  101. First year with Chickens needing all the information and stuff I can get our hands on. Thanks for the information!

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  102. I would love to win some Vetericyn. Our winters are usually fairly mild, but it's useful for more than just frostbite; great stuff from what I've heard.

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  103. I've seen your warnings about fires starting in the coops due to heaters and have made a mental note to myself on numerous occasions, however, it really hit close to home not but a few days ago when I heard from a neighbor at a holiday party that the big fire we had seen across the field from our house (flames 2 stories tall - took ages for the fire dept to get it full extinguished) was because they had a kerosene heater in the coop that had caught fire! In the fire they lost over half of their 70 chickens (as well as all of their horse feed). Quite tragic! I'm being most careful about supplying *any* heat in our coop that's now underway...

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  104. Denise Allison Magil12/27/13, 1:05 AM

    thank you for the information

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  105. Thank you for all the helpful information. It got down to 11 degrees here in Tacoma, WA but they were cozy in their coop.

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  106. Kristina Nicole Richardson12/27/13, 1:34 AM

    Thanks for the great info!

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  107. Such great information! Looking into switching to sand now. Thanks for the pictures as well, helped give me a clear idea of what to look out for. Thanks!

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  108. Thanks or another great collection of information, Kathy :)

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  109. melissa scartozzi12/27/13, 3:15 AM

    Would love to win this. Have found so many helpful things on your page. Have 36 chickens and one with real bad ear infection awhile back. I brought her in the house and nursed her back to health. With help from your page and others online, i was able to get her healthy again. Most people think i am crazy going thru all that just for a chicken, but hey, what do they know. These chickens, as with all my other animals are my responsability and will be taken care of as my own children were taken care of. once again, love everything you post. Thanks

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  110. You always post such great information! One of my fav chicken mama resources.

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  111. Great info. Could use some vetricyn for all my animals.

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  112. My poor Blue Andalusian boy got hit pretty badly with frostbite a couple of weeks ago. I didn't realize it was going to get as cold as it did that night. (-22F) Now much to his dismay he comes inside any night its below 0 and sleeps in a crate in the basement. I've been putting Neosporin on it when I can catch him (he's a wild one!) and I know he is going to loose a part of his comb. I would have never picked that breed because of the climate, but he was a free chick from the hatchery.

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  113. Tammy Townsend12/27/13, 6:34 AM

    I worry about the risk of frostbite. My chickens often stand on one foot when they are out in the yard with snow and really cold temps. I would really like to win the giveaway so I have Vetricyn in my first aid stash.

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  114. Great information. Thanks for sharing.

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  115. I love your blog, You have the best information out there!

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  116. Linda Ljung Cranford12/27/13, 7:36 AM

    I would love to win this Vetricyn Package, I love all you wealth of infomation that you freely give.. Thank you

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  117. Debbie_Bruening12/27/13, 7:38 AM

    Hopefully we will not have to worry about frostbite here in NC, but you never know! Please enter me in the drawing for the wound spray.

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  118. Gail Koehling12/27/13, 7:45 AM

    This is great information for keeping our chickens safe and healthy through this miserably cold winter (and it is only day 7 of winter, oh my). Thanks for your time of doing all the research and sharing it with us!

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  119. I have sand in my run but the coop I had already just redone 10X12 coop with 6 inches of pine shavings so for this winter they will keep the shavings but next year it will be sand less dust, and much better for the chickens. They love their run especially since I wrapped it in 6 mil plastic to keep the wind and blowing rain, snow etc out. I have 2 lights inside the 10x20 Covered run and they spend the day in there if the weather is intolerable. I have done daily raking of the run, to keep the sand clean and turned and it only takes about 19 minutes a day.

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  120. Amanda McFarland12/27/13, 8:58 AM

    Yes!! Would LOVE to win this Vetricyn :D :D

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  121. Sign me up!!! I would like the Vetericyn! Thanks for the chance to win it!

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  122. Sabrina Nicander12/27/13, 9:43 AM

    I am using the Vaseline on the largest combed birds...seems to be working. :)

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  123. Deborah Wynn12/27/13, 9:45 AM

    Having a mild winter so far, but will keep a copy of tips in barn. Have found out that having them posted helps a lot vs trying to find the info if the need arises. Thanks for the info as I am constantly looking for ways to make our farm critters more healthy.

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  124. Caitlyn Ralston12/27/13, 9:55 AM

    I have been wanting to buy some of this to put in my chicken first aid kit! Fingers crossed! :) Thanks for all the good information on frostbite!

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  125. great info, I try to get winter hardy breeds and it has helped,

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  126. Thanks for this article- I haven't had to deal with frostbite yet but now I'll be prepared!

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  127. Great information!

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  128. Evelyn Qualls12/27/13, 10:16 AM

    Just great information. Loved the small print, consider yourself hugged! :) he he he I really, really would like to win this Vetericyn prize package. These are absolutely wonderful products. Please give Rachel and Blaze a hug from me. Do your girls have a favorite chicken? Oh yes, lest I forget, from our family to yours; HAPPY NEW YEAR (no fireworks, both shih tzus would immediately leap into my lap) Evelyn, also @Hillside Happy Hens on FB.

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  129. Great info!!! This is my first winter with chickens so love all the great tips!!!

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  130. Kelly Bueker12/27/13, 10:46 AM

    Vetericyn is a wonderful product. I use it when ever a boo boo comes up with all the farm animals. Reminds me of the Big Greek Wedding with the dad that uses Windex on everything. LOL. Seriously, Vetericyn does wonders for any accident that comes upon my animals. I'm getting low on the gel so I need more! kellybueker@ymail.com

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  131. Linda McClellan12/27/13, 11:30 AM

    Great information! Most definetly need the VETERICYN prize package.

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  132. The ladies would like to win to vetricyn prize... they like being prepared!

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  133. Great post. This is our first winter with our girls and its sure been cold here in CT!

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  134. The sand inside the coop doesn't seem as dry as it should be. hmmm.....

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  135. What great information! Thanks for the chance to win!

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  136. I'm an email subscriber and this is another great giveaway! My weather-related problems with my girls isn't frostbite - it's the opposite. We live in the Mojave Desert where summer daytime temps regularly are 115 to 120. Trying to keep the girls cool enough is a full time job! :)

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  137. Jennifer Giese12/27/13, 1:57 PM

    I'm very interested in the Vetricyn. So far, I haven't had any injuries, but the colder weather will come.

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  138. Ferne McAllister12/27/13, 2:14 PM

    I'd love to win the Vetericyn package, hoping I'd never have to use it, but chances are I'll need it sooner or later and best to be prepared. Frostbite info very helpful. And I'm in the process of going from shavings to sand in the coop - have half the coop done (using up the last of the litter in other half, and already can see cleaning is so much faster and it's going to be much less costly.

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  139. Ferne McAllister12/27/13, 2:16 PM

    BTW, I'm using the coarsest sand I could find at HD or Lowe's in 50 lb bags, but I think I need the coarser construction sand - but really can't have a truckload. Maybe the sand and gravel will sell in smaller quantities.

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  140. Erin Gay Hulderson12/27/13, 3:20 PM

    This information came right at the perfect time. We had our first snow last week and two of my girls have a mild case of frostbite :( I definitely want to try sand in the spring.

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  141. Tracy Harden12/27/13, 3:24 PM

    My coop has sand for part of it, the rest is dried sod. The house has pine shavings. I've only got three gals, so I'm able to keep up with the poop in the house. I do plan to change it out for sand come spring though.

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  142. Kathy, this is such good advice. It dipped to the teens below zero here and although the girls' coop didn't get that cold, it did get cold enough for them to get a little frostbite on their comb tips. Now when I know it's going to be cold, I coat their combs with Udder Balm. It's kept them from getting any further damage to their combs.

    Thank you for the great post!

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  143. Rose Ricketts12/27/13, 4:02 PM

    Great information here

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  144. I've had combs get lightly frost bitten, but I have never treated them. If I had some Vetericyn handy I would be able to! How I wish sand was an affordable option. It seems like it works so well for you.

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  145. Good stuff- both the RX and your sage knowledge. I'll take them both, please and thanks!

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  146. Thank you! My birds' combs thank you.

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  147. With the weather lately, this post is full of great info, now I know what to look for!

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  148. Great info! Making plans for a bigger better coop!

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  149. I put some vaseline on a couple of my roosters when the temperature dropped, one of them seemed to have a cold, super puffy and weepy eyes, it seemed like he had "allergies" . i cleaned his eyes with contact solution, put ointment on him, 2 days inside by the fireplace set him back on his feet.

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  150. Excellent information. Thank you!

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  151. I would love to win this package of Vetericyn supplies for my girls. My husband, who said he wanted nothing to do with chickens when I first got them, has really gotten into winterizing the coop. He bought a roll of clear heavy duty plastic and fitted it carefully around the run so the girls could go outside and enjoy the sun and still stay warm, protected from the winds. They still have good ventilation, but it is noticeably cozier for them.

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  152. I have had backyard chickens for 8 months, and I didn't realize the problems discussed above. This is very interesting to me. So glad I found this site.

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  153. Thanks for the great info....Would love to win the Vetericyn!

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  154. I could so use this package. Thank you for the opportunity!

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  155. Susan Stuba Reilly12/27/13, 9:54 PM

    LOVE Vetericyn!

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  156. TheChickenChick12/27/13, 11:01 PM

    Thanks Jen!

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  157. This is my first year with chickens and love following your posts for advice. Would love to win these products!

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  158. Wish we had some of those tip 30 yrs ago, MI winters are harsh and when you have old buildings they are drafty and cold. It is hard to avoid frostbite and unless your house has a root cellar no place to put vulnerable critters. In KY it doesn't seem to get that cold.

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  159. would love to win vetericyn package. We are always using these products

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  160. Gen Damon Sours12/28/13, 1:17 PM

    I subscribe by email and discus. Thank you for this info. I live on the coast in Tillamook Oregon and we use to never get snow or ice but the last 4-5 years we are having more snow and ice and temps in the teens with each progressive winter. Thanks climate changes from Global Warming!

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  161. TheChickenChick12/28/13, 2:22 PM

    OMG, how awful. :(

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  162. TheChickenChick12/28/13, 2:23 PM

    Thanks Linda and good luck!

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  163. TheChickenChick12/28/13, 2:26 PM

    LOL. Thanks Evelyn!

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  164. TheChickenChick12/28/13, 2:29 PM

    That is a problem. Are you keeping waterers inside the coop? You may not have sufficient ventilation. The sand should be BONE dry.

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  165. birdlover smith12/28/13, 2:49 PM

    Thanks for all the great tips.

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  166. Jesse McAvoy12/28/13, 6:03 PM

    Subscribed! We would love this!

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  167. Sandy Shields12/28/13, 6:04 PM

    Excellent info! My run is covered...working on the droppings boards. Go Vetricyn!!! (P.S. already subscribed to your newsletter)

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  168. I got very lucky last year. this year my chickens have had a few losses due to nature. I hope they don't get frostbite

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  169. Thank you so much! We just had our first really cold weather(it was only 25') but for CA chickens it was brisk! I was so worried about my poor babies.

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  170. First winter with the chickens here. So far so good!

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  171. Alison Drouillard12/28/13, 6:09 PM

    Do you have to worries in central Florida about this

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  172. Tami Furlow Warrick12/28/13, 6:09 PM

    Thanks for all the tips I'm very glad it rarely snows here.

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  173. I love this blog. And loved chickens since I was little. Learned all I know from my grandpa who has since passed. Now I'm only left with what I can remember. This giveaway would be very helpful and beneficial to my poultry. :)

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  174. Nancy Miller Jones12/28/13, 6:10 PM

    I could use this!

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  175. Chris Price Kluge12/28/13, 6:10 PM

    Great info!!! You always provide the best information! Love your site <3

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  176. Tami Furlow Warrick12/28/13, 6:13 PM

    On another note, I was in the feed store Christmas eve and a guy came in asking what he could put on a cut on his horses foot and the owner and I pointed to the vetricyn on The shelf. He asked the price and he decided the cut wasn't that bad. I guess my little chickens mean more to me than his horse does to him.

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  177. Would love to add this to my medicine cabinet :) thanks for all your awesome info!!

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  178. Good to know

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  179. Nancy Wildermuth12/28/13, 6:13 PM

    I so love this site! Great teachings and ideas! I could SO use the Vetericyn package! I had a bully in my chicken house and my little polish got pecked in the head. She's in the house recouping! Been around chickens most of my life, but you're never too old to learn something new! Thank-you!

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  180. Ellie Mooney12/28/13, 6:14 PM

    I would LOVE to win the Vetericyn package!!!! Looks like a great group of products to have on hand for my girls!!

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  181. great info. need this first aid kit for my young flock :)

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  182. As always, great information! Thanks Kathy <3

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  183. Thanks for all of the great info. Can't wait to start getting your postings.

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  184. Melissa Grover12/28/13, 6:15 PM

    Great information Kathy!! I'm gonna pass it on to our chicken group on fb as we've all been discussing that very thing and what can be done to prevent/help it. Lots of info that we didn't touch on here!
    Thank you! ^^

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  185. oh I could really use this in my first aid kit PLEASE

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  186. Clare Kinder12/28/13, 6:16 PM

    Fabulous article, very informative.:)

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  187. TheChickenChick12/28/13, 6:16 PM

    Wow. :/

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  188. P.l. Forgash12/28/13, 6:16 PM

    Love your "new years" chick :) Happy New Year Kathy (soon enough that is!) Pam

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  189. My girls seem to already have signs of frostbite, have skimmed the above article but will print it out and read it all. I feel so bad for my girls and look forward to helping them heal from this. Thank you Kathy for your response to my previous message.

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  190. TheChickenChick12/28/13, 6:17 PM

    How low do the temps get where you live, Alison?

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  191. Thank you for all the great advice!

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  192. please add me to the giveaway! This would be great to have just in case something happens.

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  193. Thanks for all the tips, it is very good to know!

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  194. TheChickenChick12/28/13, 6:18 PM

    Thanks Clare. :)

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  195. TheChickenChick12/28/13, 6:19 PM

    Thanks for sharing, Melissa!

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  196. TheChickenChick12/28/13, 6:19 PM

    Thanks Jean!

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  197. Poor frostbitten chickens in the photos. :(

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  198. TheChickenChick12/28/13, 6:19 PM

    Thanks for following, Scott!

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  199. This would be wonderful to win! Thanks Cathy!

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