Monday, January 3, 2011

Chicken Frostbite

When you order a batch of chickens from a big breeder you'll occasionally get a few roosters thrown in to increase the numbers so that all the chicks stay warm in their box en route to their new home.

One of the chicks we received this past spring is a pretty white Leghorn rooster we named "Foghorn Leghorn."

"I say, I say now..." 

The Leghorn chicken is a breed from the Mediterranean - a lovely, warm section of the world.  The United Kingdom site, "Poultry Photos," says "The Leghorn is the 'common fowl of Italy' and was exported to many countries of the world from the port of Leghorn. The Leghorn was, and still is, a prolific egg layer and the White Leghorn has figured prominently in the modern-day establishment of high egg-producing commercial hybrids."

They're great layers, but being from a warm region they just don't do well in cold weather.

So my poor rooster, Foghorn Leghorn, has a frostbitten comb.

The comb itself is a dead giveaway that the guy isn't suited for this weather.  It's tall and has lots of points - perfect for cooling off an overheated bird.  But those tall points are little extensions that pull in the cold.

I feel sorry for this warm weather fellow in this cold environment and I don't have the capability of heating the coop.  I put some Vaseline on that poor comb (the comb feels just like rubber) and tell him he must learn to snuggle!

This hen has a comb that's perfect for winter.  See how it's low and tucked close to her skull?  

"Pants On The Ground" (in the center) does very well throughout the winter.

Not only is he built better for the cold weather, he loves his ladies and always keeps his harem close!

When you're looking for chickens it's a good idea to find breeds that are suited to your area and fit the many qualifications you may have.  Henderson's Handy Dandy Chicken Chart  (you can follow the link) is a great starting place to search for your perfect chicken breed.

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