Is this frostbite? It's not even cold yet!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Rime, Oct 13, 2015.

  1. Rime

    Rime Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 18, 2015
    Western Maine
    So the good news - we got our first egg today!

    Bad news - it looks like one of the ladies has frostbite. Which is kind of shocking to me, as we've only had maybe two overnight frosts, and no hard freezes yet. Daytime temps are 55-65, nighttime low 40's to just at freezing. But she has black tips on her comb, and has the largest comb of the bunch. Today there was a small droplet of blood on one tip too, I think (moves too much to tell for sure).




    Is there anything else this could be? Not thinking it bodes well for an upcoming predicted very cold/snowy winter.

    We just insulated the ceiling this weekend (not doing walls). I also put plastic over four of the six windows, leaving two large open vents (about 2' x 8' each). Deep litter, roost of 2'' x 4'' lumber. All else I can think of is moving the nipple waterer outside, or possibly horizontal nipples instead of vertical.

    Or should I take some of that plastic right back off?
  2. Dracana

    Dracana Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 2, 2015
    North-Central Ohio
    This looks like your hen is getting picked on. Is she low in the pecking order?
    It is a bit warm yet for frostbite.
  3. Rime

    Rime Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 18, 2015
    Western Maine
    Hmm, I'm honestly not sure. It's possible, but spent a little while in there today and didn't see anyone going after her. In the evenings though I know jockeying for the top roost can get dramatic.
  4. 123RedBeard

    123RedBeard Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 20, 2014
    Has she been hitting the fence with her head, trying to get something on the other side?

    How much space above the roost, could she hit her head on it while flying up, or fussing for a spot?

    Has she's eaten anything gooey lately? Stuck to her comb?

    It does not look like frost bite, as she has some lobes that look fine, it appears to be some kind of injury, if it is bloody/scabed
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2015
  5. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm not saying that is frostbite as it appears to look more like a physical injury as others suggest from brushing up against something or pecking...

    But an FYI, frostbite can happen at any temp below 32°F if the conditions are favorable... Basically if there is high humidity/dampness on exposed skin and winds compounding evaporation, frostbite can even happen at 32°F...
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Agrees with meepbeep...when I've had frostbite it usually happens at closer to 32f than much colder temps as the slightly warmer air holds more moisture.

    Could be injury or some dry pox from mosquito bites.
    My birds have had these spots, they clear up pretty quick, never seemed to be a problem so I never investigated further.
  7. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Here's a good way to check to see if your coop is in danger of fostering frost bite. Go out at dawn on a very cold morning and see if there is any condensation (moisture) collected on surfaces, especially on any metal or glass or painted surfaces. If so, your ventilation is poor and frost bite may be a problem.

    A good way to check to see if this hen is getting picked on is to watch them at roosting time. Usually it is at this time that the lower ranking in the pecking order get pecked unmercifully on their combs and heads while trying to roost.

    It appears to me you have a pecking victim, not a frost bite victim.
  8. Rime

    Rime Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 18, 2015
    Western Maine
    Thanks for the good advice all. I'm going to try and spend some more time watching them tomorrow. This morning her comb seemed better, but by this afternoon/evening it was red and raw looking. Not sure what's going on. I do wonder if she's our first layer, since she's got the most developed comb/wattle. Would the others pick on her while laying? Whoever it is is laying on the floor, not using the nest boxes.

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