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Is this frostbite or something else?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Smartie_Pants, Nov 22, 2008.

  1. Smartie_Pants

    Smartie_Pants Songster

    Oct 5, 2008
    Madisonville, KY
    My two Ancona roos have dark discoloration on the tips of their combs. It is not on their wattles or earlobes and none of my other roos or chickens have it. Just these two. Here is what it looks like:


    I don't see why it would be frostbite. It has been down in the teens at night for the past few weeks, but their coop is wrapped totally in thick platic and they all roost shoulder-to-shoulder so the body heat is there too. They also have a mini-coop incase a few get chased out or want to be alone. Here's some pics of the coop:

    Main Coop (Now wrapped in plastic) :



    Last edited: Nov 22, 2008
  2. skyfires

    skyfires Trying to hide

    Jul 19, 2008
    The Ozarks of Arkansas
    Hello Smartie,,,,, I don't think it is any thing to worry over. I also have Anconas with this same 'spotting,,,, and they had it way before it got cold here. So I'm thinking its part of the breed. Just keep a watch that they don't get bigger,,,then we will worry,,,,take care,,,,, [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  3. Tuffoldhen

    Tuffoldhen Flock Mistress

    Jan 30, 2007
    Looks to be frostbite, it can occur in teen temps even in the best insulated coops on roosters with large single combs. They can get it from drinking water even, the wetness stays on the combs and frostbite happens.
  4. Smartie_Pants

    Smartie_Pants Songster

    Oct 5, 2008
    Madisonville, KY
    Do I need to do anything to treat it? If so, what?
  5. Year of the Rooster

    Year of the Rooster Sebright Savvy

    Jun 27, 2008
    West Central Ohio
    I'm not sure if there is a way to treat it perse, but to help prevent it you could put Vasiline(sp?) on their combs and wattles. I put some on my roosters' combs today.
  6. Poohbear

    Poohbear On a Time Out

    Nov 12, 2008
    That IS frostbite. It doesn't have to be terribly cold to frostbite combs, wattles and toes on a chicken. Nothing to do for it. It doesn't affect chickens like it does people. Some chicken people up north cut the comb off so the chicken can put their head under the wing on cold nights. I've seen those chickens with their head under their wing. Mine sleep that way to if their combs aren't too big. It mostly happens to roosters with big combs.
  7. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

    Jan 27, 2007
    The temp. can stay below freezing for weeks without frostbite developing (hoping some members from the far north will post). Usually the primary environmental contributors are excess humidity in the coop and exposure to wind in subfreezing temps. We usually only have about three weeks, during the winter, when temps remain below 20°F. The only occasion when the roo lost tips to frostbite was an afternoon when temp. dropped from the mid 40's into the teens with 30mph gusts from the NW. That was the last time they got to free range in the winter unless we're both here to round them up in a hurry. They otherwise stay in run with tarps for windbreaks.

    Adding vaseline or the like can actually increase the chance of frostbite. See link below:


    If you notice that the other chooks are pecking at the injured tips a very small amount of plain neosporin mixed with pine tar applied to the comb will waylay that activity asap.
  8. Mrs MIA

    Mrs MIA Chick Magnet

    Mar 3, 2008
    It very well could be. I've never personally had any problems with frostbite, even when I had white leghorns. I have heard of using vaseline, but never actually used it on their combs. The only birds I have now with large single combs are my Dorkings, but they're inside. I specifically chose birds with rose or pea combs so that the chances of frostbite would be lessened. It's well below 0F for weeks on end, here, in fact, it's -1.5°F right now. If they have a dry, draft free coop, they should be fine.

    If for some reason he got his comb wet then went outside, it could be frostbite. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't get worse. [​IMG]
  9. Smartie_Pants

    Smartie_Pants Songster

    Oct 5, 2008
    Madisonville, KY
    So am I understanding correctly that it doesn't damage their tissue as badly as it does in humans? Their is nothing I really need to do other than watch and make sure no one is pecking it? This is the first winter I will go through with any other chickens besides Silkies, so I've tried to do the best I can to weather proof. Any other tips on that aspect?

    I would love to run a heat lamp with a low wattage bulb, but

    1.) I am afraid a fire might start during the night.
    2.) There is no outlet near the coop/pen.

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