Help- Major Frostbite!!!!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ThornyRidge, Jan 18, 2009.

  1. ThornyRidge

    ThornyRidge Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 28, 2008
    This arctic blast that was brutal here in the midwest has finally subsided.. Here in NE Ohio we had a couple days in the -14 degree mark without windchill.. I protected my flock the best I could despite this.. no drafts/never out of coop etc.. however today- brought in big barn those roosters that looked frostbitten at the time, but it seems like I missed a few.. I have a Silver Spangled Hamburg rooster who looks like his wattles got it bad.. today they are very swollen.. not hot to touch but warm and there is a stripe of dark purple midway down across the length of each one.. he appears miserable as he is shaking his head side to side as they obviously are bothersome being so swollen.. I did see him eating some and he is still very active.. is there anything I can do for him at this time? The temperature is back within normal range now so worst cold is gone.. I also noticed my white leghorn hen with somewhat similar problem.. not as severe though.. she obviously does not sleep with head tucked at night.

    I have read to put neosporin on the area.. will that help now or is there something else I should do? How does everyone in extremely cold temperatures battle this when we have these extreme temperature drops.. Heck it was the coldest it has been here in like 15-16 years..

    Oh and my little guy I brought in the barn (Japanese bantam) his area are just nipped a dark purple, no heat, no swelling, no white color- and he is very active-eating, crowing, dancing around the ladies etc.. he lost the tips of his comb many years ago so he is very sensitive to cold..

    Advice welcomed!!!!!!!!
  2. redoak

    redoak Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 27, 2008
    Russia, NY
    I'd give them a couple days to heal up and then see what the damage is to their combs/waddles. If it's just minor I'd let the frostbite heal on it's own. The last couple cold snaps I've been turning on the heat lamp for our chickens.
  3. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    It might assist them to offer electrolytes in their water, in fact all your birds can share that without harm.

    If the tissue blackens and begins to deteriorate you may need more vigorous intervention- such as segregation, neosporin as a topical application and possibly terramycin (antibiotic) which is also available in some forms of the electrolytes. When the stores open tomorrow, I'd be inclined to get some of the antibiotic and keep on hand for this and future emergencies.

    I hope experienced owners will chirp now, and give you some tried and true advice.
  4. BJ

    BJ Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 20, 2007
    Please...anyone...I need advice too. What is TREATMENT?! We see a lot about prevention but not much on treatment. I have similar problems. It droped to -17 here in Indiana. I have never seen it that cold. It got to 3 degrees in the coop, even with a lamp. I used utter balm, but I think they still got "bit".
  5. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    There's not very much you can do as far as treatment. Time will allow the black frostbitten areas to heal up and fall off. Applying neosporin to these areas will help prevent infection and will provide some numbing of the area. Sometimes frostbite can be painful for a rooster. If it seems like your bird is in pain, you can take a gallon jug (Like for milk), clean it out, fill it with water and allow two plain aspirin to dissolve in it. Then fill his water bowl as needed. (The affected bird will need to be separated to do this. You wouldn't want to unnecesarily medicate all your other birds!)

    Once a bird is frostbitten, there's not too much you can really do. In all the years of having birds, I've never lost a bird to frostbite....though the first time I ever dealt with it I freaked out! Now I've learned just to keep an eye on the birds and be weary of infection.

    Some people choose to dub the bird, but that isn't really necessary. It's more of just a personal preference. I would be more inclined to follow this route if the whole comb or all the wattles have been affected.

    Swelling is also a sign that there is increased blood flow to an area, and the body is trying to heal itself or prevent frostbite/injury. While applying vaseline, I always recommend to massage any areas that are NOT frostbitten. This will help return blood flow to the comb and wattles.

    Please feel free to ask if you have any more questions!

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