Frostbitten Leghorn Combs?


8 Years
Mar 30, 2011
I have some roos that are 14 1/2 weeks old and part white leghorn. I just read in a link that you should put vaseline on leghorns' combs in winter to prevent frostbite. I didn't know this and haven't done it.

How cold does it need to get for them to be subject to frostbite? I hope they haven't already been frostbitten.
You don't say where you are or what temps you have, but to get frostbite it has to be really cold and there has to be moisture.

Vaseline doesn't do a whole lot to protect their combs. The best thing you can do it make sure their coop is draft free but well ventilated. We are having a pretty mild winter here this year but last year our temps were below 10 degrees at night and all my Orpingtons were fine.

You would know if any of yours had frostbite. The tips of their combs turn black.
I think if your roos had frostbitten combs you would know almost immediately- discolored comb points.
Frostbite is cell death and tissue damage from cold.
I don't know that it has ever been studied in chickens, that way. Frostbite is a function of temperature, windchill and time. So there is no absolute temp that would cause it. Here's a chart with some info about it, but based on humans. I don't know how it applies to chickens.

The vaseline is good about keeping moisture from freezing on the comb, and I like the idea that a massage helps.

Here's some other info about frostbite:

Thank you. I'm in Salt Lake City, and it has been mild here, not below 10 F yet, I don't think. It hasn't been very wet. But I do think one Leghorn cross has a bit of a black tip. But maybe he got it snagged by a rosebush? That is what I'm hoping. Thanks for the info.

I'm hoping to adopt him out tomorrow, and I wonder whether I should tell the prospective new owners how Leghorns are susceptible to frostbite, so they'll have a heads up. They plan to keep him in a cute little plastic greenhouse that has good ventilation and some heat. I think he'll be okay in there. But if he were outside free-ranging on really cold, damp days, I don't know?
I have 6 leghorns and the temp has been up and down the past month, from highs of 8C to lows of -24C. Last year I had no problems (same birds, same coop) but now two have frostbit combs. Do I just leave it or should I do something to prevent further complications? Looks like almost 1/2 the comb is affected...
I just had a pullet who lost her toes on one foot to frostbite (no one else yet, knock wood!). I still have to amputate one toe on the other foot.
I keep my birds in the barn, but it has been oddly up and down in temps and WET. If it stayed frozen, that would be one thing, but it hasn't.

Usually cold, wet and wind causes frostbite in chickens. Last winter, my chickens went through -30F with no problems. This season, we had maybe 8 to 10F and I have a pullet losing her toes.

My experience is let the tissue heal as much as possible and if it's really dead, it's easy to remove with a knife. There are references on how to dub a bird's comb on the internet, so if you have to, you may need to look those up. Good luck!

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