What's everyone doing these cold NM nights?

 

Anyone having frostbite problems? I noticed a couple of small black dots on 2 of my girls' combs yesterday and am worried they're not staying warm enough at night.

 

Any advice on water heaters? I had to break up water every day last week.

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We haven't done anything special for our 6 hens.  They seem to do fine.  For the water I use this heater base for my galvanized waterer.  It has a thermostat and is working great.

 

http://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/no_freeze_heater_base.html

I ran a light bulb out to the chicken house, and that's it.  They seem to be doing fine.  For water, I stopped using their Official Chicken Waterer, because it froze solid, and now I just keep a pot full of water by the back door and change it out a few times a day.

 

I think that breed makes a big difference here.  Our three hens are Rhode Island Reds, and known for their hardiness.  What are yours? 

My hens seem to be fine, although I've been feeding more corn (scratch). I read that corn helps increase body temperature.

I've also been bringing in the water at night and filling it with warm water in the morning.

Feeding them before they roost for the night helps them generate more heat.  Somewhere I read that each hen generates as much heat as a 75 watt light bulb.  Be careful with other heat sources in the coop, because there have been several coop fires around the country according to the My Pet Chicken website. We just use a twenty-five watt red bulb in a utility/drop light, which is more for us than for them.  It does not generate much heat, but lets us count butts and beaks before we shut them in for the night.  Try to eliminate direct drafts, but air still has to circulate.  I use bales of hay around the outside of the coop to deflect ground level wind.  If it gets real bad, then we use tarps on the worst sides.  The water heaters seem to work fine, but the water does evaporate a lot faster.  Mice tend to make nests under the pan type heaters, but the chickens love fresh mouse; especially if they have been preheated.
I've read that putting Vaseline on their combs can help with frost bite.  For the water issue, I pour boiling water in their bowl each morning to defrost the ice.  I have a light bulb in my coop too.
I have a big outdoor coop with several sheds. About 10 of 30 hens like to go into a shed to roost. The rest stay outside, regardless of the temperature. I added a second roosting system to another shed in the coop. I carried a few sleeping hens in there, hoping they would learn to go in. The next night they were back to the normal routine---in 3 degree weather. So, I guess its not biggie!
I know that putting hot water out side when it's freezing just makes water freeze faster. It seems contradictory but placing cold water outside will let the water stay in liquid form longer. It might help. Also I have been reading up on all sorts of chicken stuff (I'm a beginner and plan to have a few hens here in a few months) an frost bite and pox look similar. Frost bite will effect the outer areas of the comb and some times the feet . The frost bitten area will fall off and not grow back. Pox looks like scabs and will mostly go away in early spring. I found a helpful site about this here: http://www.poultryhelp.com/blackspots.html
I hope all goes well with your girls. Good luck.

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