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Frostbitten Comb- Vaseline Didn't Work

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by TheCrazyClucker, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. TheCrazyClucker

    TheCrazyClucker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi! My Leghorn hen, Daisy, has a frostbitten comb. We've been putting vaseline on her comb, but it doesn't seem to work. Any advice?
    This is what her comb looks like:

    [​IMG]

    As you can see by her head, she is dirty from dust bathing, so probably part of the gunk on her comb is dirt, but we are not sure.
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Frostbite is problem. I do not know where this business of using vaseline to protect from frostbite was developed but as I understand frostbite in chickens, it will not work. Birds with large and especially floppy pale combs are particularly prone to frostbite. Keeping them in good weight and protected from wind helps immensely.
     
  3. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    Putting a heat lamp in the coop to raise the temperature a little bit should help. Also try and keep the inside of the coop as dry as possible and keep it drought free, without compromising ventilation. Good luck!
     
  4. TheCrazyClucker

    TheCrazyClucker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for your advice, but we don't put a heat lamp in the coop because what if the power were to go out in the coop? The birds would be so used to the heat, that they'd die from the lack of it. It is a good idea though.
     
  5. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    LOL No, chickens are tougher than that! The heat lamp (if you put one in) should just up the temperature a little bit, just a few degrees. If you can insulate the coop somehow to help them keep the heat generated by their bodies in that would help too. There are quite a few discussions on winter coops and insulation floating around here. If you type the keywords into the advanced search bar you'll find them quick.
     
  6. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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    The poor thing! How cold is it where you are? I've avoided Leghorns partly for this reason. My Welsummer and Marans hens don't have frostbite but with winter occasionally reaching single digits and not wanting to heat the coop (or mess with Vaseline) I hesitate getting a very large-combed breed.

    I don't think you can do much for her other than taking precautions to prevent further damage and watching for signs of infection.
     
  7. blondiebee181

    blondiebee181 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I too, have a Leghorn named Daisy :) and frostbite was a worry for me here in Boise, ID this winter as well. This one in particular has been the coldest for a long time, down in the singles and occasionally dipping below 0F. It would seem we are finally coming out of it and temps are staying in the twenties now at night which means frostbite is no longer a danger. As soon as it started to get really cold though, I pitched a thick layer of hay over the wire floor in the coop (my henhouse is probably big enough for 6 and I have 5) and closed the ramp door at night, leaving the side door cracked so they could hop out in the morning and the sliding board vent at the top cracked a couple inches at the furthest end to keep air flowing. Stagnant, moist air caused by chicken CO2 is the leading cause of frostbite. I also used vaseline, just because I researched it well and found that while a few people think it is bogus, alot of people felt that it helps. It also moistens the skin and here in Boise our winters are so dry the combs would be chapped, kind of like how our lips get chapped. I feel that the biggest thing about vaseline that I found was, the thicker you lay it on, the better it works. It acts like a second layer of skin. So if you just put a thin wimpy layer on, it won't do much good. I don't think it is the be all end all, but I feel like it helped. My Leg's comb did start to turn a little white on the tips, but the dead skin will slough off eventually. You can add a low watt bulb to the coop, but I don't light either and don't intend to. I think insulating will be a better bet, and pitching a nice thick layer of straw helps. I thought of stapling a section of car window sun reflector to the wall. Maybe for next year. Yes, do keep an eye out for infection in Daisy's comb or any open bleeding. If it does crack or bleed, I would sponge it clean if you can with some warm (not hot) salt water and use some neosporin on it. Good luck.
     
    2 people like this.
  8. Pathfinders

    Pathfinders Overrun With Chickens

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    Frostbite in single combed birds is one reason I switched to Buckeyes. And remember, frostbite is often more of a problem due to damp than actual temperature, although of course the lower the temp the more likely it will occur. But dampness makes it worse for some reason. Drafty, damp coops are the worst for it. When it gets really bad you could always stack bales of hay around to create insulation, and as Sumi has said, there are lots of threads on how to insulate. Hope your hen does ok.
     
  9. TheCrazyClucker

    TheCrazyClucker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for your advice everyone, Daisy is the only chicken I have with frostbite (of course, the one with frostbite is my favorite chicken. Grrr!! Curse you weather!!!). All our coops, including the one Daisy is in, are insulated good and strong (I should know. I helped my dad build the coops. And yes, I actually hammered stuff, not just hand him the nails). The bedding in all the coops and nest boxes are bedded with alfalfa hay, and a thick layer of it too (The coop is very warm, I wager). Daisy's comb is cracked a little bit, so tomorrow we will give her a good bath in warm water and some kind of soap (what kind of soap do I use??) wash her comb as best as we can, and bring her inside to stay for a few days and nights at the warm Hotel Basement, no charge. Any other advice, or things we should do?? (Oh, sorry... I didn't mean to hi-jack my own thread [​IMG]).
     
  10. Pathfinders

    Pathfinders Overrun With Chickens

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    I wouldn't even bother giving her a bath, I would just gently sponge the comb if you feel you need to. Honestly, probably best to just dab some Neosporin on it and leave it be at this point. Don't pick at it, you don't want it to get infected. Just keep it as clean as possible.
     
    1 person likes this.

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