Last week, I wrote about applying Vaseline to the combs of Lucy, Ethel and Rapunzel to protect them from the bitter sub-zero temperatures we were having. I got enough responses that I thought I should share this experience with everyone.
To recap: We had sub-zero night temperatures for a week, combined with mostly single digits during the day. (For those of you who live in Alaska, I say to you DO NOT save me a place. I will not be wanting one.)
During this nightmarish weather, I applied a liberal amount of Vaseline to the combs of Lucy, Ethel and Rapunzel every other day. It seemed to be an idea generally agreed upon on the Internet – Vaseline equals protection from comb frostbite.
Well, either I should have done it every day or put more on, because we’ve got us an ugly situation in the barnyard.
To be clear about the conditions:
- The coop and shed are properly ventilated and sparely heated. Nighttime temps inside stayed around 10 degrees.
- We do not have a humidity problem.
- They all have multiple places to roost in peace.
- I clean up after them every day.
What I don’t do is confine them inside. I open the coop around 7:15am every morning and give the ladies a nice portion of scratch to start their day. Then they’re free to do whatever chicken things they want to do – head to the barnyard, go into the shed, go back into the coop, see what’s happening in the run. (In Lucy and Ethel’s case, it also means flying over the fence to scratch around in the yard.) On the coldest days with no sun they mostly stayed inside but when the sun came out they headed to the south side of the shed for some nice dirt bathing.
Despite the Vaseline, the cold took its toll. The fourth or fifth day was the worst. No photos, (no way I was taking my fingers out of my gloves) but yuck, I wouldn’t have wanted to share it anyway. Their entire combs were grayish/white and dead looking. I was afraid they would be that way forever. Amazingly, they’ve slowly been healing. Not completely, but I’ve stopped contemplating putting them all in the spare bedroom during the next storm.
Lucy’s was by far the worst. Ethel looked bad at first, but has healed much better.
Rapunzel (who doesn’t like to be photographed) had virtually no lasting effects. Same for the other ladies.
I don’t know if the Vaseline was effective or not. Could it have been worse if I had not used the Vaseline? I don’t know. I guess I felt better doing something rather than nothing.
All I know is that I would prefer for it not to get that cold again. Ever.
(Shared at Homesteaders Hop, Clever Chicks Hop, Homestead Barn Hop, Backyard Farming Connection Hop, Tuesdays With A Twist, Down Home Hop, HomeAcre Hop, Simple Lives Thursday, From the Farm Hop and Farmgirl Friday!)