Found my rooster dead in a snow bank :-( ....or so I thought! (Sorry for the long post) Advice requ

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by xjayoftodayx, Dec 17, 2013.

  1. xjayoftodayx

    xjayoftodayx New Egg

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    Hello everyone. I live in WNY, 20 miles south of Buffalo. We have been hammered by snow and cold this week which resulted in some heartache. I got home from running some errands/ christmas shopping and was bringing out some fresh warm water to the gang. I regularly do a head count to make sure nothing is wrong. After my count, I had 12....I should have 12 1/2. Our little bantam rooster (he is literally 1/2 the size of all the ladies) was missing.

    We searched everywhere in the run but couldn't find him. There is 3-4 feet of fresh snow covering everything and I saw no fresh tracks anywhere. All of the paths I shoveled from the coop to their shed showed no sign of Ollie. We then expanded our search to outside of the fenced in run. My wife hollered "I think I found him!" I rushed to her side.

    There was Ollie. Wings open as if making a snow angel, frozen dead in a snow bank. I was devastated. I bent down and picked him up intending to search for any signs of trauma. I found none and assume he just flew out of the run (for what reason still baffles me) and got stuck in the deep snow unable to move. However, when I picked him up.....his body twitched. I decided to try something radical. I have read stories of animals/ people being frozen into a kind of stasis or coma and I thought I had nothing to lose.

    I brought Ollie into the house and set him up in a crate with plenty of bedding. We propped his crate up in front of an infrared space heater. After he thawed out, I noticed his neck and head were lifeless and flopping around. I wouldn't give up as this time I saw his eyelid twitch. I must have looked like a crazy person to my wife. "Look Look....his eye twitched!!!!"

    Every twenty minutes I would check on him. He still wasn't concious or breathing but oddly, when I would make my chicken call [HERRRRE CHICK CHICK CHICK] his body would twitch. Hope was starting to creep in. After 2 1/2 hours we were watching a movie and we heard a loud gasp of air and some clucking.

    Ollie was back.

    We then set him up with electrolytes/ water and food. After 10 minutes he was devouring the food. I have been regularly administering water/ electrolytes via syringe to ensure he is staying hydrated.

    Now I ask for some advice:

    Has this happened to anyone before? I am not sure what to do next. He has frostbite to his wattles where he was lying face down in the snow and can't seem to use his feet. His legs work down to about his knee, but he can't open his toes. Is there anything I can do to assist or is it just a wait and see approach? I mae sure to massage his feet and move his toes each day hoping that will help.

    His legs are naturally gray/ blue so I can't tell if there is any frostbite there. I am not seeing any black so that is at least something. The feet do feel slightly colder than I expect them to be. I am hoping it is just a syptom of the fatigue resulting from being dead and coming back to life haha. Other than his feet he has a great appetite, is very alert, and seems to be recovering well.

    Thank you for reading. There are so many great stories people share on this site and I just wanted to share the story of our miracle Ollie. Any advice on how to proceed would be greatly appreciated.

    Take care and Happy Holidays.
     
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    I saw a video of this same thing happening. Seems like it was a human interest clip. An older woman did a head count when letting chickens out of coop and feeding them to realize one was missing. She and her dog searched about until the dog found her under the porch frozen solid.

    She unceremoniously plopped it on the kitchen table to thaw for later processing and winter soup. Hours later she was shocked to find it was alive and without much hope made a blanket nest for it and put next to the stove. Sure enough the hen survived and stayed in the house a few days to recuperate. The hen was perfectly fine and the woman's only thought after it may have suffered a little brain damage but then it probably already was for not going into the coop on winter nights.
     
  3. xjayoftodayx

    xjayoftodayx New Egg

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    Mar 25, 2013
    Neurological damage is my main concern as well. I can't see any physical reason why his feet would not work. I am hoping a lot of rest and such will assist in a full recovery. I really don't want to think about the alternative if he can't use his legs after all of this...
     
  4. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

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    Poor guy. I hope he recovers. I have no real advice other than watch for signs of frostbite and infection. I'd be most concerned with his feet; the frostbite to his comb/wattles might fall off, but won't effect his quality of life. Frostbitten feet, though, that's really rough. If infection sets in, well, it's bad news. I don't know what your ultimate plans are, but if you need a vet, I can heartily recommend Dr. Wade in Buffalo. http://buffalobirdnerd.com/ She has helped me with my chickens many times. I live just south of you.

    When you say his legs work down to the knee, do you mean the ankle? If so, there is a chance that he could still get around, if a bit awkwardly, if he loses his feet. If it is actually his knee... well, that's a lot of leg to lose. The fact that he's a bantam and can probably fly well might be helpful in the long run.

    I will be thinking of your little guy, hope he's okay.
     
  5. xjayoftodayx

    xjayoftodayx New Egg

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    Nambroth thank you for the information! I sent you a Private Message requesting a little more information about Dr. Wade. It does appear to be more near the ankle. I have been holding some amateur physical therapy where I place him on my finger and try to get him to use his feet/ legs. It seems like there is some weak functionality there but who knows. I will keep at it.

    Thank you for the kind words.
     
  6. ten chicks

    ten chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Frostbite can take weeks to heal,do not give up hope. There are different degrees of frostbite,3rd degree is where the muscles/tendons/bone and blood have frozen,with this the limb will probably fall off. With all others degrees of frostbite the limb may regain feeling. Have any blisters formed on legs?
     
  7. MrsBachbach

    MrsBachbach Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Have you tried some warm foot soaks? By this time he should be thawed out I would think. If his feet are still cold, he may have some blood vessel damage.
    I had a hen once that managed to wedge herself behind some tin propped beside a building. I noticed her missing and assumed she was taken by a predator. It was at least a full seven to ten days later we were moving the tin and found her. She was weak but alive. I put fluids in her and she came around and recovered. Her feet were not working properly and after some reading I learned that dehydration will cause that type of paralysis. She eventually regained enough use of her toes to perch and what not. Only one or two toes didn't seem to work right. I was amazed at her ability to survive without food or water for that long.
     
  8. xjayoftodayx

    xjayoftodayx New Egg

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    Thank you for the great follow up everyone. I haven't seen any blisters or sign of frostbite on the feet. It's strange for sure. For a foot soak, should I use some warm water with perhaps epsom salts or just straight water? For how long?

    Adter getting home and checking on him I noticed his droppings are starting to look green, but they are not runny. What could be causing this?

    I am still holding out that rest, hydration, and nourishment will result in at least minimal use of his feet. Mrs. Bachbach that is a crazy story! I hope Ollie shares the same luck!
     
  9. MrsBachbach

    MrsBachbach Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, I don't think the salts are necessary. I'm not even sure the warm soak would work. Just trying to think of ways to restore blood flow to the area if that is the problem. Massage and PT sounds like a plan to me.
    As far as the poop, that can be a sign of his diet or lack of. If he is eating enough, it's likely just his feed. Sometimes lack of enough feed will cause bile to be released in his droppings causing the green color.
     
  10. ten chicks

    ten chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There are several degrees of frostbite,1st degree or frostnip the top layer of skin is affected,2nd degree skin freezes and hardens,but deep tissue is not affected,3rd degree muscles/tendons/nerves/blood vessels have frozen,loss of feeling due to nerve damage and possible amputation as a result of gangrene setting in or fall off if left untreated. He may not be walking due to pain,or more serious degree of frostbite than you realize. frostbite can take weeks if not months to heal,give him time,all you can do right now is take the wait and see approach.

    NEVER rub/massage frostbitten areas,this will only increase further damage.

    Is he eating/drinking? Green poop can indicate not eating enough(other than eating grass clippings,etc)
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2013

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