Frostbitten Feet/Prosthesis Ideas


11 Years
Jan 29, 2010
Hello Everyone, I need some advice.
My French Wheaten Marans Cockerel somehow suffered a severe case of frostbite. He also developed a cold and was very thin. I brough him in a couple weeks ago and have been treating him for all of the above. I thought he was going to die and considered putting him down, but he still had a good appitite and was up and about and engaging with us, so, I gave him asprin for pain, a round of antibiotics for the RI, electrolytes in his water and yogurt and scrambled eggs with his regular food (layer pellets,BOSS, scratch grain, scraps) He is fine now except for the feet. I dont have a picture fo them but the left foot has completely died back above the ankle, and on the right all the toes are dead, and part of the foot. There is no sign of infection, and the live tissue at the edge of the dead part seems to be growing. It looks to me like he is going to make it, he is gaining every day.
I am treating the feet with daily soaks in epsom salts, then a coating of antibacterial ointment, followed by a clean pair of socks.
He is trying to walk, but he is really lopsided and has a hard time. I remember seeing stories about people fitting roosters with artificial feet, allowing them to live a normal life. I was hoping someone on here has done this or might be good at something like this and be able to offer up some ideas.
Also if anyone has advice on how to care for him, or can tell me what is going to happen from here, like when will the dead parts fall off? Is there anything special I need to do at that point, ect.
Thank you for any advice you can give.
I will get some pictures and post them later.
Last edited: advice here. But I wanted to tell you the farm family who gave us our bantam roo had a rooster who'd suffered through horrible frostbite of both feet. When I saw him, he was walking/hopping around on stubs, and getting along very well. It wasn't pleasant to look at, but he sure seemed okay with it - crowing up a storm and getting around just fine.
Thanks for the reassurance, I have heard of such things too. I think he will get used to his new gait, he is a survivor for sure, but if I could make it easier/better for him I would like to try. When I did search about frostbite I found a story about a rooster named Mr. Chicken who lost both his legs to frostbite, and the vet that treated him ordered him some new plastic legs made up. It inspired me to try and do the same for my Beberoo. He is an awesome little guy.
I grew up around a miserable rooster that lost both feet to frostbite. He got around fine on the stumps once he got used to it. If your roo can adapt to his handicap then he should manage alright without any prosthetic limbs. In fact, prostheses can cause more problems than they solve- they will probably be of great interest to the rest of the flock and may get him picked on or ostracized, and the fit will never be quite right without some professional fitting likely causing irritation and handicapping him further. If he cannot adapt to his new situation then I would recommend culling because then it becomes a quality of life issue.

As far as the dying feet go- If there continues to be no infection I would try to let nature take its course. The damaged/necrotic areas will fall off on their own. I might try to help speed the process along by using some straight betadine in soaks to help dry out and dessicate the dead parts of the feet. The quicker the limbs wither, the quicker they will fall off. Once the dead areas fall off you can see what's left and then decide from there if you need to get him a shoe of some variety. I am reluctant to tell you to amputate the necrotic feet because I hate cutting into living birds unless it is absolutely necessary. You may want to keep some penicillin, syringes, sharp knives and some wound dressings on hand just in case a foot goes green on him. If amputation becomes necessary then it will need to be done quickly. I would take the "wait and see" approach as much as possible, though. Amputation opens the door to even greater infection risks, healing problems, mobility issues that may be avoided, etc.

I hope this helps. Good luck.
"good" news. The dead parts have fallen off, leaving one leg with no foot and the other with some foot left but no toes. They are healing nicely though. He is getting around rather akwardly by bending his knees like he is roosting and using his lower leg as his foot. I dont know if this is tempoarary, because it must hurt still to try and put his weight on the scabs, or if he will always try and walk this way. He is 8 months old and his comb is reddening and growing and he is talking to the the other chickens from his carrier in the next room. He seems to be as fne as he can be. I feel so bad for him. I wonder how he will roost? He insisted on roosting on the floor when he had feet now what? I still cant help but wonder, if it continues to go well if I could create some prostetic feet for him. I also saw a post on here by someone who was making neoprene boots for ducks and chickens, maybe something like that to protect his legs? All in all this has been a horrible experience for me, and him. I am contemplating removing my floor and putting in gravel and doing the deep litter method, to avoid this happening again. Everyone else was fine, but still. Maybe I am just too soft for this, because maybe I should have culled him, but I couldnt do it! Anyway, if anybody has any more advice I would be happy to hear it. Thanks!
I have a hen that had a foot stuck in an area that ended up cutting off her circulation enough that the end of the foot turned black. The affected area dropped off and she has been fine ever since. That was over a year ago.
When I was a kid my aunt had a hen "Cleo" that had both feet freeze of. Cleo lived a looong time and was queen of the coop, even with her "disability." She roosted on the floor in her own special area with straw and adapted very well..

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