Rooster with frostbitten wattle - view pics help us decide on dubbing

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by mjelse, Jan 18, 2009.

  1. mjelse

    mjelse Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 18, 2008
    Help! we are new to hardcore chicken care and need advice from folks who have been down this road before. Our birds are pets to us and we are willing to pay for a vet, but chicken vets are hard to come by where we are and this is a holiday weekend.

    Our 2 1/2 year old mixed araucana/black australorp rooster named Fergus has frostbitten comb due to - 0 F temps here in the NE lately. He has purple blotches here and there on his wattle, particularly at the base. Some appear to have resolved since yesterday and turned back into healthy-looking red tissue. Others have deepened in color. None yet appear to be necrotic. The base of his wattle appears swollen. He is reluctant to drink and eat unless he can do so without touching the floor with the wattle. He is alert and healthy-looking but shakes his head frequently, something he did not do before this. The long and short of it is I would guess the wattle is causing him discomfort but his health is otherwise grand.

    We have searched all the prior posts and read opinions re: dubbing or not. I am hoping to wait one-two days to see how this resolves, and may have to because of unavailability of vets. We may gather the nerve to dub the wattle ourselves if need be. Fergus' wattle is way huge and thick, it seems like it would be hard to remove it without trauma to all involved.

    We have pics and will send in the next post, I am having technical difficulties. -- mj
  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    If you dub, be ready to cauterize, combs and wattles are filled with blood vessels.
  3. cherrymary

    cherrymary New Egg

    Jan 18, 2009
    i'm the original poster's housemate - here are pics of the wattle:


    thanks for any advice you are able to give!
  4. redoak

    redoak Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 27, 2008
    Russia, NY
    I'd keep him warm for a few days and let it heal on it's own. Dubbing might cause more problems than doing nothing.
  5. ThePolishPrincess

    ThePolishPrincess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Have you tried a little Neosporin (sp?) on the wattles? When our roos, who are reluctant to sleep with their heads tucked under their wings, get frostbite, I go out with anything gel-like for dry or cracked skin and rub some on the bitten area, working it into the exposed skin. A few hours later, and the comb and wattles are a bit better and bright red. It works wonders on our whole flock.
  6. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    At this point I'd say he hasn't even had any serious frostbite damage. Looks like the very tips (Where it is beginning to turn purple) may turn frostbitten in the future, but right now the purple is just an indication that he is not receiving enough blood flow to that area.

    I usually disagree with dubbing as a treatment for frostbite unless the area affected is very very bad or covers a very large area. As the previous poster mentioned, dubbing can cause more problems than the ones they are trying to fix. Frostbite is an extremely simple ailment to care for, as it requires very little care.

    However, as a preventative you can apply vaseline to his comb and wattles. Massaging the area a bit while applying the vaseline will help return blood flow to the area. Should the areas become frostbitten, just keep an eye on the area. Eventually it will turn black and fall off. Infection is sometimes a concern, but applying neosporin to the area will help prevent that as well.
  7. CUDA

    CUDA Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 4, 2008
    The comb you have on that chicken will most likely never get frostbite because of what kind it is. The wattles definitely have some frostbite on them, and being long like that, will be more likely to keep getting frostbite. If you decide to dub them, it will keep this from being a problem any more. You can find detailed instructions on how to dub HERE . Another thing, you don't need to cauterize when dubbing. The frostbitten flesh will slough off on it's own eventually if you decide against removing it, but if you live where temps can be a problem, dubbing is the best preventative measure in my opinion. Good luck!
  8. Poohbear

    Poohbear On a Time Out

    Nov 12, 2008
    I would do what is best for the rooster. Dub the wattles. Frostbite is PAINFUL! I've never lost a rooster or hen dubbing the comb or wattles. We have biting bugs we call "Buffalo nats" here and mosquitos are bad in the summer. Winter can freeze the combs while the chickens roost at night. When I have fowl with large combs, I trim them off for the chickens safety and comfort. Without the combs and wattles, they roost at night with their head under the wing. All birds will if they can. My own comfort comes second to my fowl.
  9. morelcabin

    morelcabin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 8, 2007
    Ontario Canada
    Roosters sweat thought thier combs and wattles. I would never consider dubbing them. It would only serve to make them VERY uncomfortable in the summer. The amount of frostbite on your bird is absolutely nothing to worry about.
  10. Poohbear

    Poohbear On a Time Out

    Nov 12, 2008
    Roosters DO NOT sweat from combs and wattles. That is a MYTH! The fowl I have with combs and the ones that don't have combs are equally comfortable in the summer. Combs and wattles serve NO practical function on a chicken.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2009

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