How to keep roosters wattles from frostbite?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Scooter&Suzie, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. Scooter&Suzie

    Scooter&Suzie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 23, 2011
    I have an adorable bantam Wyandotte rooster. His comb has no fear of frostbite, but his wattles are nice and long. When he drinks the tips of the wattles touch the water, and it freezes. Fast. I noticed that the very bottoms of his wattles are a hard crusty black - Almost look burnt. I was wondering, how do I keep it from getting worse? Is there a way to bandage up his wattles until I don't have to worry about the water freezing on his wattles? Or a better water system? I started putting on petroleum jelly on his wattles, which act as a waxy shield against water. His frostbite isn't very bad now, I just don't want it getting worse...
  2. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

    Sep 6, 2007
    spring hill, florida
    I would just do petroleum jelly every day if you have to. I live in Florida so I can't give you much advice.
  3. deacons

    deacons Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 8, 2013
    New Hampshire
    I was about to post the same question but thought I would just revive this somewhat older thread. I bring my hens warm water in the morning in standard plastic jar waterer. There are a few that absolutely love this warm water first thing in the morning (on another thread, someone likened this to "bringing the girls their morning coffee," which is an image that makes me laugh as I think the girls see it the same way). However, 2-3 hens have really long wattles that end up dunking into the water dish, or splashed and soaked as they drink. As days get colder and stay colder, I'm worried about frostbite. Does anyone else have this problem with messy drinking, and do you see it result in frostbite? Do you change your watering system in the winter to avoid this from happening?
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Flock Master

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    I use the electric water bowls for dogs in the winter (you can place metal dog bowls or plastic isce cream pails inside them to make cleaning easier,) and I put them up high enough just to reach in to drink. We don't have nearly the low temps here in winter as you northerners get though.
  5. realsis

    realsis Crazy for Silkies

    Jan 17, 2013
    You can try putting vasoline on the wattles to help prevent frostbite. I've read that that will help. I've not tried this first hand because I live in California and we are no where near as cold as you are. However I have read that the vasoline will protect from Frost bite. I hope this helps and wish you the best. Also you might consider trying the heated water bowls to keep water from freezing..good luck and God bless.
  6. peeplover2030

    peeplover2030 Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 4, 2013
  7. deacons

    deacons Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 8, 2013
    New Hampshire
    Yep, I'm not really having problems with heating the water or the bowls freezing- I've got a system for that. (But thanks for adding suggestions here, I know people will find that useful!)

    I don't even have a frostbite problem right now, and crossing my fingers I won't get to that point or need to go with Vaseline.

    I think my question is primarily, if I see the girls dipping their wattles in the bowl as they're drinking, should I be setting up my waters higher? Lower? Not have bowls at all? Maybe this won't be a problem as the wet wattles aren't wet long enough to get frostbite, I'm just really not sure...
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2013
  8. DuluthHomestead

    DuluthHomestead Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 15, 2013
    northern Minnesota
    Bumping this thread because I'm having the same issue here. Today was the first really cold day this year, temps around 20-25 and windy. I checked on my girls several times over the course of the day to make sure they were doing okay and that their water wasn't frozen. One of my girls has long, dangly wattles, and earlier in the day I noticed that they dipped in the water as she drank, and just now I went out to check on them again and saw that she had ICE formed on the tips of her wattles. I held her wattles in my fingers until the ice melted, then massaged salve into them (don't have any vaseline/petroleum jelly in the house, so I used Burt's Bee's Res-Q Ointment (beeswax, oils and herbs)). She didn't seem to be in any pain and was quite okay snuggling into me and getting her wattles rubbed. :) I'll go buy vaseline tomorrow and will rub down her wattles as needed, but I'm wondering what I can do to keep her wattles out of the water in the first place. Raise it? A different style waterer?
  9. deacons

    deacons Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 8, 2013
    New Hampshire
    Yep, I'm still pondering that myself. Our weather here in NH warmed back up into the 40s over the past few days, but should be back in the teens tomorrow, so this will start to worry me again. I'm really not sure what to do to keep the wattles out of the water. I do have one raised waterer (sits on top of an overturned pot), but they still dip in the bowl even when elevated. Not sure what to do...maybe someone else will have some good suggestions for us!
  10. multak107

    multak107 New Egg

    Jan 16, 2014
    yeah, petroleum jelly or Vaseline is probably the best thing for it, although I would recommend putting it on them before they get frostbite (it helps both ways). I have several chickens for show that I keep separated from the others in cages, and I have the similar watering system you do,only i've never had problems with that specifically. However, when we had a cold front come through here in Ohio a few weeks back, almost all of my roosters have a tint of purple on their combs and wattles. The purple parts will eventually dry and fall off, and the rooster will likely never regrow it. The thing is, after their comb becomes completely frostbitten, that rooster loses its ability to fertilize eggs. You will still get eggs, if you feed them layer grain, but their might not be as many due to the rooster losing a prime factor needed to reproduce. Argo, the rooster is more or less useless now and is nothing more than a waste of time and energy. BUT, that is only if he is COMPLETELY covered. halfway frostbite on their comb or wattle is far less severe and they have a large chance of overcoming the frostbite and continuing on with their daily lives. Make sure you know the difference, because it can be a hard hit if one of your only roosters loses the only thing that's been keeping him around. I have been careless and I let one of my prize show roosters get it and I used to have the intention of breeding him, but I am forced into other options now. Hope my advice helped!

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