Mild(?) Frostbite--does it need treatment? If so, what?

Danosaur

Hatching
Jan 19, 2021
1
0
1
Hi there! This is my first winter with chickens and I just noticed what I believe is frostbite on the combs and wattles of my four birds. Admittedly I hadn't been looking too closely at them for the previous few weeks, so I don't know how long this has been going on.

We live in Utah and temps have been in the low teens to twenties at night for the past couple of months. (Though we're having a warmer spell the past two weeks).

The run is uncovered, but it has solid vinyl fencing on two sides. A third side has quite a few trees, so it is fairly sheltered from the wind.

Here is some more info:
-birds are about 8 months old
-behavior all seems normal, we're still getting 1-2 eggs per day
-their feet all look good
-coop is NOT heated
-coop window is uncovered and pop door remains open at all times (run is secured)
-we clean the coop about twice a week
-we use sand on the coop floor
-the coop has open eaves on two sides
-coop is about 4'x6'

Everything I've read about frostbite says to bring the bird in, warm it up, and keep it warm until the frostbite heals -- really?! Who can keep their chickens in the house for 4-6 weeks? Bringing them inside is absolutely out of the question.

So my questions are:
-Does this frostbite need treatment, and if so, what do I do?
-What could happen if I do nothing?
-How can I prevent it from getting worse?


Thank you!

chickens - frostbite.jpg

coop.jpg
 

Aapomp831

Crowing
Oct 4, 2017
2,291
3,671
351
Lincolnton, NC
It does look like a touch of frostbite, but very normal. Even a few of my chickens have combs like that and I’m in NC... I honestly wouldn’t do anything except keep an eye on it. If it gets worse, I would add more ventilation to your coop since frostbite occurs from moisture settling on their combs. If you have water in the coop overnight I would remove it.
 

MissE

Songster
Oct 17, 2020
375
1,008
201
Northern MN
Yup, mine all have it. Not much I can do about it here, other than a heated coop. They were pretty good this year until we had a couple nights of 25 below. I'm just hoping to avoid the long 30 to 40 below cold snaps we seem to get every year. May need to put a 75 or 100 watt bulb in the coop instead of the LED one I have for supplemental light now if that happens. Even then, it's only on for a few hours.
 

Isaac 0

Enabler
Jul 19, 2016
23,386
95,347
1,321
Iowa
Unless extreme measures are implemented it's frankly impossible to totally reduce frostbite development in cold climates. The degree to which your birds have frostbite is quite minimal, hard to see, and thus shouldn't require any treatment. Here in Iowa where winters get cold, I simply ensure the ventilation in the coop is adequate, and my birds have been fine all the way down to -30F.
 

Ted Brown

Crowing
Dec 12, 2018
1,239
2,778
261
near Shawville Quebec Canada
My Coop
My Coop
There's an ointment you can put on to help protect their combs in cold weather called Hen Healer, I think.

Hen Healer is not tested or recommended for use to prevent frostbite.

I have read here by folks that I trust that the use of any product on frostbite on the combs or waddles should not be done - attracts dirt to an already injured area.
 

TheAlrightyGina

Crowing
Sep 3, 2020
763
3,006
316
Memphis, TN
Hen Healer is not tested or recommended for use to prevent frostbite.

I have read here by folks that I trust that the use of any product on frostbite on the combs or waddles should not be done - attracts dirt to an already injured area.

I could swear it specifically said that you could use it for frostbite because that's the reason I bought it. I've used it plenty and it didn't cause any build up of dirt or anything else, but I'll look into it either way.
 

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