When fall and winter hits, there are a number of ailments that afflict chickens.
Chicken combs are easily affected by cold, dry temperatures.
Up north, chickens struggle with frostbite on their combs and wattles. Down here in the south, we struggle with frostbite too, but not every winter, as our winters are typically milder.
We get snow from time to time, but not every winter. And more often than not, we get ice. Our trees droop from the weight of ice on their branches. The power lines go down and we live by candlelight some days. When this type of winter hits, our chickens run the risk of many illnesses and even death.
One thing we’ve learned is to prepare for the winter season. We can help prevent some of their illness. And we can even help them combat areas they are prone to get frostbite.
Chicken combs and wattles are made from flesh.
If you’ve never felt it, you should. It feels weird! And a rooster loves his wattles to be stroked. So every fall we do everything in our power to keep our chickens combs and wattles safe through the winter season.
When snow and ice hit, the wind picks up. Their combs and wattles will dry out faster than you realize. As they are also drinking cold water (unless you heat it for them), their wattles often are wet, cold and then attacked by a vicious wind. This causes their wattles to dry out and often freeze in severe temps. Then they blacken and break off just like when we get frostbite.
Each fall, we put our all-natural cream for chicken combs on the birds.
It’s a two person job as you need one to hold the bird and another to put the cream on. This cream is derived from coconut oil and works as a moisturizing agent to keep combs and wattles from drying out. As it’s an oil, it also works as a protective barrier when they drink water and prevents their wattles from absorbing the water.
We add essential oils to help with overall health. Some great ones for healthy skin are Frankincense or Copaiba. Peppermint or RC is great for healthy breathing and is recommended for chickens as they struggle to breathe when temperatures change. You can omit essential oils if you choose, but we highly recommend them.
As you use this natural comb and wattle cream, please let us know how you like it and if it worked for you!
~Until next time,
Question: Do you do any comb and wattle prevention before winter?