Just before the arctic blast hit, I did a lot of online research on frostbite and most agreed it’s the humidity that increases the chances of frostbite, not the cold temperature. We got outdoor remote sensor thermometers with humidistat so I could see what the temperature and humidity was both outside and inside the coop.
Everyone tries to assure you that chickens do fine in cold weather because they have down coats, but their combs and feet aren’t covered with feathers. Unfortunately some of my girls got a little frostbite on the very tips of their combs when the coop dropped to 7 degrees and the humidity rose to 94%. It turned a little black in the edge. The good news is they really don’t have a lot of feeling in the combs and whatever turns black will just fall off. Thank god it wasn’t their toes! They were still toasty warm.
After that episode I decided to try putting a thin layer of petroleum jelly on their combs like you put on your lips to keep them from getting chapped. A number of people recommended it online and it does seem to help. I have to sneak into the coop at night when they have calmed down enough that they don’t put up too much of a fight. It takes a little time when you are working with 27 chickens!
Watch us put petroleum jelly on the girls combs on their YouTube Channel: