Frostbite or a wound?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by jsmith2952, Dec 19, 2013.

  1. jsmith2952

    jsmith2952 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 3 hens. Two have fairly large combs. Today I noticed that both girls with larger combs have small patchy marks (a sort of light swollen area with some dark marks) toward the back of their combs. It looks the same as the little wounds they get when they're out foraging in the summer, but since they've been oping to spend their days in the run/coop, I'm trying to figure out if it is actually frostbite. In both cases, the rest if the comb is fine and the third hen, with the tiny comb, is completely unscathed. If it is frostbite, should I be putting something on it or should I avoid touching it?

    Thanks in advance for any advice! :)
     
  2. cluckcluckgirl

    cluckcluckgirl Queen of the Coop Premium Member

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    Is the area black? That can usually indicate frostbite and combs are very prone to it.
     
  3. jsmith2952

    jsmith2952 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The swollen area is lighter than the comb, but it has some black marks within that swollen area. I looked at pics of frostbite and it could be that but it really looks an awful lot like the cuts they've gotten on their combs from tree branches and such. Does frostbite look likes cut?
     
  4. cluckcluckgirl

    cluckcluckgirl Queen of the Coop Premium Member

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    From my experience, it doesn't look like a cut. Typically the area will be swollen and black or pale. It might be a combination of both, but I'm not 100% sure about that. Has it gotten really cold where you're at?
     
  5. jsmith2952

    jsmith2952 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes. It's been pretty cold here the past few weeks. -15c (5F) with high winds and heavy windchill. It isn't unusual to get that cold and colder where I am. Their coop is small but has a fair bit of ventilation above their heads. Their run is 80% covered in clear plastic. I've noticed when I periodically check on them at night they don't have their heads under their wings, but I can't tell if its because they don't do it or if its because they've heard me approaching and have woken up. Does frostbite typically occur at night when the hens are closed up or can they also get frostbite just from being outside doing their daily things?

    What you're describing sounds similar to what the hens have on their combs. It's localized to a spot on the back of both their combs though which is what sort of confused me.

    If it is frostbite, what is the best strategy to take care of it and prevent it?
     
  6. cluckcluckgirl

    cluckcluckgirl Queen of the Coop Premium Member

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    Frostbite can occur anytime. All it takes it moisture and cold temps, and there is the risk of it. Ventilation in the coop is very good, and can reduce the risk of frostbite. There is no treatment for frostbite that I know of, but applying vasoline or petroleum jelly to their combs and wattles is good for prevention of it. If the frostbitten piece is moderate (paleness), there is a possibility of it healing over time. If the frostbite is severe (black spots), the frostbitten portion will fall off eventually.
     
  7. ten chicks

    ten chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Frostbite occurs when temp drops to freezing and skin is exposed(heat loss)limbs furthest from the heart are the most susceptible,blood flow is decreased in an attempt to protect the core of the body(vital organs),that is why hands/fingers/wattles/combs are the first to go.

    Applying vaseline acts a barrier to minimize heat loss protecting exposed skin. Never rub/massage frostbitten areas as this only causes more damage to tissue.
     
  8. jsmith2952

    jsmith2952 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the replies.

    So if I'm going to put Vaseline on the combs can I put it on the affected area as well? If I shouldn't rub the frostbitten spot, can I just lightly pat some on?
     
  9. ten chicks

    ten chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, apply vaseline to combs and affected areas,this will minimize heat loss and form a protective barrier.
     
  10. jsmith2952

    jsmith2952 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the info. We just entered a mild spell, so hopefully the hens will get a break for the time being. Ill definitely try the Vaseline trick next Time we have a cold snap.
     

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