Frostbite Comb-How bad is this??

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by MontanaMomma, Dec 5, 2009.

  1. MontanaMomma

    MontanaMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 7, 2008
    I have five Leghorn hens 9 months old now. We have had below zero temperatures for a couple weeks now. I had a 100 watt lightbulb in their small roosting area (enclosed and door closed at night). I noticed they were getting white tips on thier combs, so I put in a 250 Watt red heat lamp a few nights ago. I leave it on all day now. But now some of them are getting dark purple tips and white seems to be creeping down the tips of their combs. I put Vaseline on them, and if I squeeze (lightly) the healthy red flesh beneath the discolored tissue, the whole tip turns red. Does this mean blood is still getting to the tips and there is still hope? I have never experienced this before. I have pics, but I don't know how to attach pictures to my post.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Northwest Arkansas
  3. MontanaMomma

    MontanaMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 7, 2008
    [​IMG]

    Pic of hen with the worst discoloration.
    Thank you Roadrunner!
     
  4. MontanaMomma

    MontanaMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oops! Ridgerunner, I mean. Sorry!
     
  5. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

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    looks like early stage frostbite to me ... wow it sure gets cold where you live!
    where is your coop situated? is it a "stand-alone" type of coop?
    I have a "winter coop" I use only in the winter... it is against a wall in a corner (so sheltered from wind) If you do have a "stand alone " type of coop you might think on building a smallish sleeping coop against a house or barn wall.
    You also might think about using the silverfoil type windsheild protector thingys (for cars) on the inside of your coop as an extra insulation layer.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2009
  6. WalkingWolf

    WalkingWolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 1, 2009
    North Carolina
    Most times it does not get that cold here, but they say it is going to be the coldest winter in 10 years. Most of my birds are in covered pens, the bottom is open in the summer but during winter I wrap the bottom in tarp. This allows the ground heat to rise adding a couple degrees, tonight it is 26 outside and temps in the pens are at 32. Last year instead of lighting I used 30 gallon rubbermaid totes with 3X2 inch ventilation holes, two at the top and one at the bottom. On semi cold nites the birds stayed toasty with their own body heat, when it dropped below 10 I brought them onto the porch and stacked them. When I let them out in the morning I always checked their feet to see if they got a chill and they were always warm, no frostbite ever. The birds are easy to get down from the perches of a night with only 5 you could use two totes and put them in an enclosed area with no drafts and their own body heat should keep them warm. Make sure you keep fresh wood shavings or straw in the bottom because they poop of a night, though they seem to do it less when they are cold. Note that on some of my chickens through the winter all I had to do was put the totes out and they would go in them on their own, but i had to have a few with bigger hole.

    You may want to consider dubbing your roosters to cut down on frostbite considering how cold Montana is. And maybe put heat tape under the perch so they could absorb the heat directly into their feet. That still probably would not stop the frostbite on the combs though. Also you should feed the chickens as much as they want to eat just before they go roost. They tend to stay warmer with a full belly for the night.
     
  7. chickenjim64

    chickenjim64 Out Of The Brooder

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    Montana Momma I live in the Bitterroot Valley i built my coop in the summer lost my job ran out of money i just started to insulate it i just did the roof i'll do the walls next week when i can buy plywood to cover the insulation or they'll peck at it thats why i did the ceiling first but anyway i have 4 heat lamp's above there perch with 250 watt red bulbs i just make sure there secured real good it's been cold the last few days but my girls are doing good my electric bill only went up 10 dollars not bad as i thought is your cop insulated? let us know how you make out..
     
  8. MontanaMomma

    MontanaMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My coop is up against the garage and we have a 5 foot fence on two of the other sides, so they are pretty much out of the wind, but it has been in the single digits at night and does not get above freezing during the day. Their roosting area is totally enclosed and pretty small- it gets quite cozy in there with the heat lamp (now that I have one in there-too late? I hope not!), but when it is cold, they don't get much exercise if they don't go out in the cold. It is JUST TOO DARN COLD!! I brought them all in one at a time and put Vaseline on their combs yesterday and got a good look at them and rubbed them. This morning there seemed to be less dark purple on their combs. It looked like the dark color was not all the way through yet, so I hope I can save them. I also checked their toes- no white, purple or black there. They eat all they want and get water all day. But it gets this cold every winter here. Should we dub them to prevent infection etc in future winters? and if so, I DON'T want to do this myself. What are my options?
     
  9. Dandy Acres

    Dandy Acres Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 14, 2009
    Montanamomma where are you? I am in Three Forks and having the same problems with this cold weather.
     
  10. MontanaMomma

    MontanaMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dandy, I am in Helena. It was -11 this morning. Saturday it was intolerable with wind blasts cold enough to take the skin off your face. I couldn't get much done outside because my eyeballs would start hurting and I had to go in to thaw out. The heat lamp seems to be helping the hens. The dark colors are going away on their combs. Their roosting area is completely enclosed, but it is a small space. The rest of their coop is wire enclosed, so tonight I will put plywood up to enclose the entire coop to give them more space to run around out of the wind. I'm glad I only have five. I will inspect and put Vaseline on their combs again tonight after putting plywood up. If it comes down to it, they can go into the bathroom, but this cold snap can't last forever, right? [​IMG]
     

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