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Black Combs, Frostbite? Dirt? Fungus?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Hayduke27, Feb 11, 2015.

  1. Hayduke27

    Hayduke27 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a mixed flock of 17. Within the past 2 weeks several of my hens have developed black coloration on their combs. I have a well ventilated coop, and though I live in a very cold climate, the coop is dry and even has 2 heat lamps that chickens can get under if they are chilled. Also, the weather from November through January was mostly below 0, sometimes as low as -20, but I had no issues whatsoever with frostbite. This black coloration coincided with the onset of unseasonably warm weather, which made me think it's not frostbite. The chickens have been rolling in a big pile of hardwood ashes, and I thought maybe it's just dirt and grime, but it doesn't seem to be coming off. The combs and waddles are effected, and even the face of a couple of hens. They don't look swollen or anything, and the chickens are not acting uncomfortable. Could this be fungus or something? Do I need to take action? I have seen this black stuff on about 6 of the hens, it started with just 2 of them about 2 weeks ago. The remainder of the flock all have healthy red combs and waddles. I have attached pictures below. Thanks for any and all help!

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  2. myfarm4579

    myfarm4579 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a roo with the same thing on the very bottom of his wattles.I assumed it was a touch of frostbite. It was following a night of 25below:(. Hopefully someone with more than my experience will chime in also:). This is my 1st winter with chickens.
     
  3. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Overrun With Chickens

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    That looks like frost bite to me. If the hens are sleeping when they are getting to cold they will not move to a warmer spot.
    The sudden warm weather could have caused the humidity to rise and the resulting frostbite.
    Lots of threads on here about how to treat it. I would advise against rubbing the affected areas as this will cause the points of the combs to fall off before they are ready to. (bleeding can happen)
    I have only ever once had a chicken with even a touch of frost bite. Leghorn hen following temps -16 and colder when it happened. She lost the tips of her comb and has healed completely. I applied bag balm to the hens combs after this episode every time we get down to 20 degrees or lower. No other issues for my ladies.
     
  4. Hayduke27

    Hayduke27 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 11, 2013
    Gunnison, CO
    I had some chickens lose tips to frostbite last winter. It wasn't anything too extreme, and they all healed up quickly on their own. If this is indeed frostbite, this is about as bad as I've seen it. I added dry bedding today just in case. It would make sense that the sudden increase in outdoor humidity (it went from about 25% to around 90%) would cause this, even with the warmer temps. I'll keep a close eye on them. Thanks a lot for your replies. [​IMG]
     
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    southern Ohio
    I would agree that your pictures look like frostbite. You can apply vetericyn or betadine to the combs and wattles, but they probably will be fvine without treatment. Don't massage frostbitten tissue or it may bleed or be further damaged.
     

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