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Severe Frostbite on Feet-Early Stages, what to do?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I came home yesterday from the grocery store to find my two Standard Cornish pullets (10 weeks old) standing in the snow for no real good reason. They didn't HAVE to stand in the snow! But, anyway, they're feet were frozen solid.

I put them in a small dog kennel with shavings and brought them indoors to warm up and reassess the damage this morning. Today, their feet are obviously painful and there are large watery bubbles forming between there toes. I assume this is a bad sign. What can I expect, is there anything I should do? Is the most humane thing to put them down? They can not stay indoors all winter and I'm afraid they'll do it again if they somehow heal up and I put them back out.

Blah. This is a real bummer, and I feel terrible, but I just don't understand how they could be so dumb as to stand there and let their feet freeze off!

Cheers, Rachel
Haiku Heritage Farm
Still in the frozen white north. As far as I can tell, "Winter is coming" is old news.

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Cheers, Rachel
Haiku Heritage Farm
Still in the frozen white north. As far as I can tell, "Winter is coming" is old news.

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post #2 of 14

I have never had frost-bitten chickens, but I suggest that you keep their feet warm as possible and maybe soak them in warm water.

To prevent frostbite in the future, put vasaline on their legs and combs.

I'm baaaaaaaaaaackkkkkkkk.

I have all different chickens, a goat, a dog, some fish, and my cockatoo, Peaches.

Thinkin bout changing my username.

ENTER!! http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/798694/crazy-crests-contest-crested-birds-ends-july-8th
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I'm baaaaaaaaaaackkkkkkkk.

I have all different chickens, a goat, a dog, some fish, and my cockatoo, Peaches.

Thinkin bout changing my username.

ENTER!! http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/798694/crazy-crests-contest-crested-birds-ends-july-8th
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post #3 of 14

Boy, wish I had some answers! I'll try and find something online...

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The only fault of a dog, is the length of their life.

My eBay auctions: http://shop.ebay.com/wolfwoman77/m.html
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post #4 of 14

massage them to get cirulation going again maybe??? Poor things. There was a local gal here who froze her seramas feet off. Now they have stumps on one and 1 good leg. When I get frost bite here on the combs I put bag-balm on it.

RedRoosterFarm

NPIP AI  91-150

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RedRoosterFarm

NPIP AI  91-150

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post #5 of 14

I would like to clarify... If you find them while they're still frozen, use barely luke-warm (not warm, not hot) water to help bring them back to temp.

post #6 of 14

Wow.  How cold has it been?  My girls have gone out in single digit weather and never had this problem.  The worst I ever had was some frost-bitten combs.   Hope your girls are OK!

post #7 of 14

I found this by googling. Hope it helps


If your chicken has frostbitten feet then a longer time of healing is ahead. Depending on the severity of the frost bite, your chicken may lose some toes or at worst an entire foot. Keep the chicken inside out of freezing temperatures on a soft bedding, like a towel, that won't cling to the feet. If the feet turn completely black then there isn't much you can do except wait for the blackened areas to fall off. Often the chicken is able to survive this and continue on with life, though they will be crippled. Some chickens can adapt well enough to hobble around on legs without any feet!

It's possible for the feet to only be partially frost bitten. In this case the tissue will try to heal itself by growing blisters. Do not pop the blisters, even if they continue to swell and produce green or yellow pus. Blisters filled with fluid are a natural band aid for the damaged tissue underneath. They will rupture once the tissue below is healed enough to be exposed.

Treat the feet by soaking them twice a day in a warm water mixture. Add Epsom salt to the water. Be sure to not allow your chicken to drink this water since salt in high doses is damaging to chickens. Grape fruit seed extract is a semi-natural antibiotic that can be purchased at health food stores. It makes an excellent addition to the foot bath along with the Epsom salt. Also add hydrogen peroxide to the warm water. Hydrogen peroxide helps to rid of dead skin cells and keep bacteria and debris out of the healing feet.

After each soak dry the feet well and then coat them with Neosporin (make sure not to use the kind with pain killer in it) or something similar. On top of that, coat the feet with Bag Balm to form a protective layer. Bag Balm contains menthol, which will improve circulation to speed healing. Loose bandages or an old pair of socks will help keep the feet as clean as possible while still allowing the skin to breathe.

If your chicken's feet become infected to the point that the chicken is no longer eating and drinking normally then you can administer Penicillin G. This can be purchased at most feed stores, along with syringes and
needles. Full sized large breed chickens should get 0.5 mg injected once a day in the drumstick area of the leg, into the muscle. Injecting a chicken can seem a bit intimidating at first, but if you hang the chicken upside down with the help of a partner, the bird will quickly go limp and you can inject the Penicillin without too much trauma.

While your chicken is healing be sure to feed it plenty of high protein treats along with normal amounts of food and water to help its body recover. Chickens love scrambled eggs, oatmeal, fruit, and most table scraps aside from raw potatoes and salty foods.

With careful treatment and plenty of time most chickens will be able to recover from frostbite and go on to live out the rest of their lives!

post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by  

To prevent frostbite in the future, put vasaline on their legs and combs.


I know Im late on the game but with any frostbite you have to very slowly warm the area up. The faster you do it the more pain you will cause the frostbitten areas.

Depending on our temps here in Alaska vasaline can freeze solid. I had the same idea brought up but some newly transplanted 4-H'rs last year and after talking to my old Chem Professor this is what he said on the issue. 

Freezing Point is depressed according to the following equation:

FPD = FPD constant * molality

Water's FPD constant is 1.86 degrees C per molality.

Molality = number of moles of solute/kg of solvent.

Freezing Point - FPD = the new freezing point.

That said, Vaseline protects the chicken by reflecting its own infrared radiation and since it has a very high coefficient of heat, it takes losing a lot of heat to drop the temperature of the Vaseline a degree Celsius. Also, the Vaseline would protect the chicken by preventing freezer burn by providing a coating that would not let water evaporate. As long as water cannot evaporate, it cannot get burned. It's like double wrapping freezer. Being it gets so cold here a tub of Vaseline will freeze solid depending on out temps, it is a gamble to make sure you only use it when the temps will be just right and not drop to a point it will just hinder your atempts to prevent frostbite.


I hope things are going well, so far the "winter" temps here in the interior have been amazing, I still have all my birds able to free range and the ducks still get a pond for now.

1 Southern Hubby, 1 Awesome Crib Midget 23 Alpacas, 4 Horses & a 17.1hh Mule, 1 Mini Donkey, 6 Great Pyrs, 1 Golden Ret, 1 Bloodhound, 1 Mutt, 7 ND Goats, 2 Egyptian Uromastyx, 1 Buff Orpington, 4 Black Australorps, 4 Silver Laced Wyandottes, 4 Ameraucanas,  6 Brahmas ,  2 Spanish Hens, 24 BBS Orps, 5 Seramas and 1 Polish

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1 Southern Hubby, 1 Awesome Crib Midget 23 Alpacas, 4 Horses & a 17.1hh Mule, 1 Mini Donkey, 6 Great Pyrs, 1 Golden Ret, 1 Bloodhound, 1 Mutt, 7 ND Goats, 2 Egyptian Uromastyx, 1 Buff Orpington, 4 Black Australorps, 4 Silver Laced Wyandottes, 4 Ameraucanas,  6 Brahmas ,  2 Spanish Hens, 24 BBS Orps, 5 Seramas and 1 Polish

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post #9 of 14

I have a buff orpington who hasn't been acting herself. She hasn't been as active as she usually is, and stays inside the coop most of the time. What really scared me was yesterday, the wind was blowing(I'm in New England, so it's really cold right now) and the rest of the flock went inside, but she stayed out, sitting down on a 4x4.

Also, her feet feel quite cold, and are bright pink/red.

Here's a pic of her feet (they're a brighter red than what the picture shows):

 

 

and a pic of one of my other buffs feet, who doesn't have frostbite (if it is that)

 

So, my question is, does she have frostbite, or early stages of frostbite?

3 Buff Orpingtons, 4 White Leghorns, 4 Ameracaunas, 2 Black Stars. 2 Neon Tetras, 4 cats, and 3 rabbits.

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3 Buff Orpingtons, 4 White Leghorns, 4 Ameracaunas, 2 Black Stars. 2 Neon Tetras, 4 cats, and 3 rabbits.

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post #10 of 14

how is she now? i hve seen the pink feet too

ROBIN-...Love all the feather kids - and yes, they all have names!

Glad you asked...I do run a chicken hospital!

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ROBIN-...Love all the feather kids - and yes, they all have names!

Glad you asked...I do run a chicken hospital!

Member of the Derperella Fan Club.... We're all just goin round the rooster here!

 Marek's Giant FAQ

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