Frostbite Remedies?


In the Brooder
Oct 4, 2015
Barnesville, MN
I have a 7 month old rooster with frostbite on his wattle. This is the first time I've noticed it because he hasn't really come out of the coop due to the cold winter. I put him in my garage where it is warmer because of the -35*f weather last night and that's when I saw it. It looks a little shriveled up and black. There is a little bit of white frostbite on the tips of his comb too. I feel so bad! Is there any way I can help it heal? Is he in any pain and can I do anything to stop it? All I can think of for now is keeping him inside the warm garage for a while, but my family is starting to get upset with the crowing! :)


Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Apr 3, 2011
southern Ohio
Can you put a heat lamp in your coop for all of the chickens and move him back? Vetericyn wound spray, plain neosporin, or iodine would be good to gently apply to the wattles and comb to help prevent infection. Large wattles can easily get frostbitten when they get wet in the waterer, and are hit by freezing temps. January is just an awfully cold month for frostbite. Your rooster's wattles and comb may become rounded off when the tissue heals. Here is a good link to read about frostbite:
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Jan 18, 2016
Hi beritbeth,

I am sorry to hear about your roo, it is great that he is already out of the cold and in a warmer area. Do not put him under a direct heat source (heat lamp, pad etc.) Five aspirin (five grain each) dissolved in one gallon of water may be given for 1-3 days to help with pain and inflammation. You can try putting a warm washcloth on his comb and wattles, with very gentle pressure being applied. Avoid rubbing or any friction that could cause additional damage to tissues. He should be kept hydrated too. Unfortunately he should be kept in a warm place while he is recovering from the frostbite, which you can expect to take months. As for the crowing, maybe having a friend would help? In the next couple days as he gets better, he can be moved back out into the coop, but he should not go outside. Keep the injured area clean. I recommend Vetericyn VF Hydrogel spray 2-3 times per day until healed. Alternatively, a triple antibiotic ointment or aloe vera can be applied to the damaged tissue. Moniter the for infection, signs of which may include: swelling, redness, oozing, foul smelling discharge, etc. If infection occurs, antibiotics may be necessary. Also monitor the chicken’s dietary intake- the pain caused by wattles touching feeders and waterers may deter it from eating and drinking. They will appreciate a poultry nipple watering system over a traditional waterer because their injured wattles will not touch the nipple system. He won't have to stay warm for the entire healing of the frostbite, but he should stay in the coop. If he is staying in the coop ventilate the coop properly. The goal is to get as much air exchange throughout the coop as possible without drafts, particularly in the roost area. Ideally there will be windows and/or vents on all four sides of the coop. Ventilation holes towards the top of the coop, far above roost height and chicken height are best for achieving effective cold weather air exchange. If your coop does not have adequate ventilation, create more. Think: windows, not little holes. A reciprocating saw, some hinges, hardware cloth and washers/screws are all the supplies necessary to install additional ventilation in an existing coop. Install as much ventilation as high up on the walls as possible while ensuring that the air over the roost remains still. You want the warmest, heaviest air moving up and out of the coop. Limit moisture inside the coop. Most breeds tolerate cold extremely well, but freezing temperatures inside the coop in addition to moisture is the recipe for frostbite inside the coop. Frostbite is most likely to occur overnight in a cold, poorly ventilated coop where damp bedding and moisture from droppings and respiration cannot escape. Chickens generate a great deal of moisture from respiration (breathing) as well as from pooping as droppings consist of 85% water. If the windows of the coop have condensation on them in the morning, there is not enough ventilation in the coop. Also you should keep waterers out of the hen house if possible. While controlling moisture from respiration and droppings is manageable with excellent ventilation, it is impossible to keep ahead of the moisture curve if waterers spill in the bedding. As long as the flock is given access to water at daybreak, there is no need for water inside the coop. Chickens should not be without water for more than an hour or so during the day. If using supplemental lighting to promote continued egg production in autumn and winter, I suggest using a poultry nipple waterer inside the coop for the very early morning hours before the flock is let out into the run. This will minimize the amount of water than could spill in the bedding. A drip pan of some sort to catch stray droplets is a good idea. Remove the waterer from the coop when the flock is let out of the coop for the day. I know I'm rambling on, and there are much more things that I could say about the care of frostbite, experiencing it more than enough times with my hens. A couple things: Apply a thick coat of moisturizer such as Cerave, Eucerin or Vaseline to combs and wattles at night to prevent any moisture from clinging to them. The jury is still out on whether this really prevents frostbite, but it can’t hurt and it can help with recovery. You should only do this after he has healed a bit. You should definitely NOT use a dangerous heat lamp inside the coop. If a heat source is deemed necessary, use a less hazardous form of heat such as a flat panel, radiant heater. Only supply enough heat to raise the coop temperature a few degrees-the coop should not feel warm to you. As for an immediate solution, definitely place a warm washcloth on his affected areas, with very gentle pressure. Do NOT run the area at all. Alright, I've said enough ;) Hope he gets better!


BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 16, 2015
I wouldn't worry about heat lamps or keeping him warmer, I deal with frostbite every winter, had the same temperature as you did yesterday. If he's crowing he's fine, parts will blacken and eventually fall off. Next year you won't have to worry as much. It's not wise to touch frostbitten tissue. Just leave him alone and let him heal, don't be surprised if the tissue ends bleed a bit if he gets bumped or pecked.

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