Buzzy's frost bitten feet with blisters *updated with vet's advice!*

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Andora, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. Andora

    Andora Songster

    Aug 26, 2008
    Lexington, Kentucky
    I'm not sure how or why, but for some reason all three of my Faverolles got frozen feet. The other 30 hens and roos of various breeds are totally fine! Their coop has dry shavings, places without drafts, and their food is inside the coop. Their feet froze over night a few days ago.

    One SF hen, my favorite girl of all time, died. She fell over in the coop and I don't know if she froze to death or got trampled first. I'm so so sad. The other SF hen was also laying down with frozen feet, but hers were not as bad. After spending two nights inside her feet look perfectly normal and she's walking fine, so I put her in the garage with a heat lamp and some hen buddies to keep her company.

    My SF roo has the worst frozen feet. His were ok when the two hens froze, so I just put some petroleum jelly on them and put him in the garage with the heat lamp also. The next day I went out and he was unable to put weight on one foot and his feet had purple/black spots on them. I brought him inside and soaked his feet in some luke warm water because they were literally frozen stiff. I guess he didn't want to go under the heat lamp out there? After they defrosted, I put more petroleum jelly all over his feet and legs then put loose fitting socks over the feet and legs and put him in a box to rest. (He does not like resting! He's perfectly alert and wanting to run all over the place.)

    This morning his feet are developing a couple large white blisters. The worst looking foot has a big white lump/blister with what looks like a blood spot in the middle. It's so nasty looking. Both of his feet are hot and very swollen.

    I wish I could afford to take the poor guy to the vet, but I can't. We don't have any avian vets in my area that I know of, but the vet that sees my cats and dogs happens to have three chickens she rescued and she likes chickens.

    Anyway, what can I do for his feet? I'm concerned about the blister things. I have triple antibiotic ointment, petroleum jelly, Tylan and needles, bandages, socks, and a bunch of essential oils. I'm thinking his feet maybe need to soak in something to help the blisters release the pus? Would it be alright to use epsom salts in warm water with grapefruit seed extract (an anti-fungal, anti-viral, antibacterial)? I know salt is bad for chickens, but that's just to eat right? I certainly don't want to make him worse...

    Last edited: Jan 16, 2010

  2. purpletree23

    purpletree23 Songster

    May 15, 2009
    Tylan is only for respiratoy infections. You will need to get penicillan G for this infection. I don't think I would soak the feet in salted warm water. I wouldn't want my frostbitten toes treated like that. I would try to put a small pin prick in the bubble to see if you can get the fluid to drain and then use neospirin and wrap LOOSLEY because that dead skin needs to slough off. Essentaial oils that are good for us can be toxic to chickens.

    Keep them warm and well fed and add Poly Vi Sol liquid baby vitamins (without iron) to their diet. Give each chicken one drop in the morning and one drop at night by beak. Drop the vitamins on the top/side of their beak so the vitamins slowly roll into their mouth and they can swallow them and not inhale them.

    What happened that their feet froze and the others are OK?

    Hope this helps and they get well soon.
  3. Andora

    Andora Songster

    Aug 26, 2008
    Lexington, Kentucky
    I have no idea why just the three SF's got frozen feet. The roost poles are 2x4's, so they should have sat on their feet. They also roost on top the nest boxes, which is a flat board. Only the rooster has feet in terrible condition, the other living SF hen is fine now. They were in two different coops too, which makes it seem even more of a coincidence! I'm baffled that my 3 SF's got frozen feet and 30 other birds of different breeds are fine.

    Where can I get Penicillin G from? Is that something they sell at the feed store? We have TSC and a local feed store here to choose from.

    The tops of his feet now have flaming red streaks along with the swelling white blisters. They are hot. His toes aren't all black, they just have some black streaks and they're cool...not cold or hot...and they're a little stiff, especially on the worst foot. He's ANGRY at being locked up in the house and he's making all kinds of noise! I tried to give him some apple peel as a treat (a usual favorite) but he wouldn't even eat it, he's too flustered and too busy cackling and bawking to chew. His feet may be damaged, but his spirit certainly isn't. [​IMG]
  4. Andora

    Andora Songster

    Aug 26, 2008
    Lexington, Kentucky
    Anyone else? I need some more advice.

    Today his feet are...I don't know. He has dark stripes on his feet but the toes bend.

    The worst problem is these blisters. On the bottom of one foot there is a huge black shiny blister. On the tops of his feet he has several white blisters that are now looking a little yellowish and puss filled.

    Should I take a sterile needle and pop them? (Normally this wouldn't bother me, but I'm pregnant and have a horrible gag reflex...I'd like to avoid popping them!)

    I'm getting ready to slather his feet in triple antibiotic ointment and cover them in socks. He's eating right now, after I treat his feet I'll put him back into his box. It has several layers of clean paper towels on the bottom.

    His feet look so painful. He won't step on the foot with the black blister on the bottom.
  5. fldiver97

    fldiver97 Songster

    Aug 5, 2009
    Middleton, WI
    I don't know if I would pop any blisters...I am concerned about introducing potential infection. I would possibly soak his feet in a weak, warmish betadine solution daily and apply some triple antibiotic ointment WITHOUT the numbing/pain relief addition. Keep himon some soft clean bedding, maybe a smooth cotton over some shavings. Make sure he eats and drinks OK. If he does not get better he may need some antibiotics. I would keep him confined andhave food/water close so he goes not have to walk far if his feet seem to hurt. Also protect im from cold so that his circulation is not getting more impaired
  6. Andora

    Andora Songster

    Aug 26, 2008
    Lexington, Kentucky
    I just got done soaking his feet in warm salty water. He didn't like it at first, because he's a grumpy rooster, but after a few minutes of petting him he laid across my arm with his feet soaking and fell asleep! He was cooing. [​IMG] I think it felt good on his sore feet. I hope it helps draw the infection out. I'm going to do it again tonight.

    After about 15 minutes I dried his feet off. The white blisters on top got soggy and saggy from soaking, which I think might be a good sign. On one foot a blister had opened up and let out some bloody pus. The bottom of the worst foot still has a semi-firm black/purple fluid filled blister and the middle pad part of the foot is hard, swollen and white. I'm really concerned about that foot because it's really hot to the touch. That can't be a good sign!

    I smeared his feet in tons of polysporin (no pain killers!) and then put a thick coat of polysporin on the bottom of his foot with the purple blister. I put that foot inside of one of my husband's old socks so that it can still breathe, but it stays clean.

    He's sitting in a box (in the house) that only allows him space to turn around, he can't walk anywhere. (Otherwise he takes off hobbling!) I closed the flaps but cut a hole for air and he likes to sit there with his head out, cackling at my cats and dogs. My pets are used to chickens, so they mostly just ignore him and that seems to make him even more annoyed!

    I've been taking him out several times a day and sitting him on a big towel to eat while I change out his paper towels, and I periodically offer him a dish of water. He's perfectly alert and everything, not sickly or fluffed up at all.

    If we go to the store today I'll get some betadine. I have hydrogen peroxide, a huge bottle. Do you think that will help? I could pour that over his feet tonight before I soak them again.
  7. fldiver97

    fldiver97 Songster

    Aug 5, 2009
    Middleton, WI
    I think you are doing great. I would not really use Hydrogenperoxide, Betadine diluted will do a better job with infected tissue. The 'hot' foot is likely to be infected. Hopefully the antibiotic will help but it can take 2-3 days to see some effect. I can only imagine that he has an opinion about your dogs and cats!! Hopefully his feet will get a bit better soon so that he can move about a bit better. Now I would expect some skin/tissue/blisters to start oozing/sloughing/bleeding but then to heal. He may even start looking forward to his 'footbaths'....[​IMG] Good luck. Nice to see that you care!

  8. Keithk

    Keithk Hatching

    Dec 30, 2009
    We had a few hens that had frost bite on combs with this past cold spell we had, not above freezing until today! We treated with neosporin ointment, an over the counter med, which also is like vaseline when you coat it on. All recovered without problem, did not have to cut any combs.
  9. Andora

    Andora Songster

    Aug 26, 2008
    Lexington, Kentucky
    His feet have continued swelling and filling with pus. [​IMG] They look so terrible and disgusting! The vet that treated a chicken for me before had moved, so I called around and found someone else. I found a very helpful vet who owns chickens, sheep, and goats! Her practice just does cats and dogs, so she saw my rooster for free just to give advice.

    She said continue soaking his feet in epsom salt and warm water twice a day and to also pour hydrogen peroxide over them, then loosely bandage them with polysporin coating everything. She told me the blistering is normal, even if the pus is green and the blisters are growing. She said not to pop them because the blisters are nature's bandage for the destroyed tissue underneath, and that they will eventually rupture on their own once the tissue underneath is healed enough to be exposed.

    As long as he is eating and drinking, just treat it topically. If he gets lethargic and shows signs of succumbing to infection then she'll weigh him and figure up a dose for Penicillin G.

    The vet said to expect it to take 4-6 weeks! That's such a long time. She said to be sure to massage his feet as they heal so that the new tissue is stretchy and doesn't cause his toes to be permanently curled.

    She suggested holding him in my lap and feeding him treats every night while watching TV and massaging his feet. [​IMG] My DH says absolutely not, but I thought it was funny the vet suggested that...she must be a true chicken lover!
  10. fldiver97

    fldiver97 Songster

    Aug 5, 2009
    Middleton, WI
    Nice that the vet gave you advice!! Sounds like your roo is in for some spoiling!! Popping blisters open (in humans or chickens [​IMG] ) is usually not recommended for the reason your vet stated. I does help to prevent infection in some cases. Hopefully he will heal fast and without complications. Have you selected a chicken suitable program on TV for your daily physical therapy sessions??? [​IMG] That roo may not want to go back to the coop before long....

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