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Looking for frostbite help

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by wleighton, Mar 14, 2017.

  1. wleighton

    wleighton Just Hatched

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    Hi all!

    First time chicken keeper here, making this our first winter with them in VT. We've had colder snaps, but my chickens seem to be suffering with frostbite since yesterday's freezing temps. I've seen pictures online of comb frostbite and my chickens combs look different so I'm not sure whether they have an extreme case of it or not. They are all eating and drinking well and are perky. Two have frostbite worse than the others that have created rings on their combs and I'd love your thoughts. Should I expect just the tips to fall off or the whole comb? What's the recovery time? Will they need to be segregated while recovering? (I had to do this after a dog attack so I would like to avoid this at all costs!)

    I tried coating with Hen Healer but they rub it off. I worry about touching them too much for risk of further injury.

    Thanks in advance for any insight you can offer!

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  2. peopleRanimals2

    peopleRanimals2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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  3. wleighton

    wleighton Just Hatched

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    Thanks! I did find that site earlier, and it is helpful. Maybe I'm looking for reassurance that it's not the worst frostbite ever recorded! Ha-ha!

    They had a rough fall between a dog attack, fowl pox, and then a molt all before winter. I just hope that they get through this. They just started laying and I'm frustrated that they're yet again hit with another illness. Ugh. Thanks peopleRanimals2!
     
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    That is significant frostbite, and the combs will gradually become rounded off at least down to the lighter color. It may take a month or more to see the actual damage. I live in the Ohio Valley where it just gets down below 10 F a few days a year. I hate heat lamps, but I do turn them on away from the chickens about 5 feet off the ground, when it gets 10 or below. Many people in Alaska and Canada don't use heat without problems. Higher humidity tends to cause it more, and any water that touches toes or wattles will freeze.
    I have seen some frostbite on rooster combs or a couple of toes before using that. A little plain triple antibiotic ointment can be gently dabbed on combs, but mine got better without anything being applied. Just don't rub or massage. You might want to post pictures as they heal, just for others to see.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
  5. wleighton

    wleighton Just Hatched

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    Thanks Eggscessive! I had just replaced all the bedding two days prior so I can't imagine its an issue of moisture, but we're getting slammed by this nor'easter and now I'm getting worried. I'd hate to separate them because reintroduction is such a nightmare, but do you think that it would be wise to do so given the severity of their frostbite?
     
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    No, I wouldn't separate. I never have. Sometimes they may get pecked, but it is just so much easier to leave them together.
     
  7. wleighton

    wleighton Just Hatched

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    Thanks that's reassuring to hear. I'll definitely post updates of the healing process in the coming weeks.
     
  8. peopleRanimals2

    peopleRanimals2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A good prevention tip- putting Vaseline on their combs in the daytime helps keep them frostbite-free at night.
    I know some people believe this doesn't work, but I have seen great results with my chickens. I only do this a couple times a month, when I know that the temps are going to go way down.
    Before I started doing it, my BRs were getting mild frostbite spots, but after it healed, their combs went pale and took on a dry, dehydrated appearance. After I started applying Vaseline, their combs went back to normal, and the frostbite problems all but disappeared. One of my BRs, who seems exceptionally prone to it, gets it sometimes just on one tip of her comb. Anyway, hope this helps. Good luck!
     
  9. wleighton

    wleighton Just Hatched

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    Thanks! Do you think that even after the damage has been done, whether vaseline (or mushers secret I'm told works too) will help heal or just protect from additional damage? The temps are in the 20s which they're used to so at least the worst of it is over. It was -10 on saturday.
     
  10. peopleRanimals2

    peopleRanimals2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It can't hurt, but you have to be very careful in applying it. You should dab it on, and make sure not to rub, because it can cause more damage.
    Best of luck!
     

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