The truth about frostbite?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by SIMZ, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. SIMZ

    SIMZ Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 29, 2011
    Northwest Indiana
    Hi everyone,

    I'm hoping to get to the bottom of this frostbite issue. It's been a very mild winter so far, but we had a cold spell compounded by a large snow. In the midst of it, the coop door blew open and exposed the chickens to freezing wind and covered the floor with a dusting of snow for about an hour and a half. A few of the chickens have spots of frostbite on their combs and the rooster's comb looks just horrible. :( I've been reading online and on here for info and this is where I'm hoping for help:

    I've read everything from "do nothing, it will be fine" and "it happens" all the way to my chickens will die and I should put heat in the coop. I read that I should put neosporin on it and also that neosporin is toxic to birds and they'll die. Also that Vaseline prevents frostbite and that it does absolutely nothing to prevent it! HELP!!!! I feel badly that they're frostbitten, but I don't want to panic and start doing a bunch of "remedies" that might even make it worse.

    Is this something that "just happens" or should I call P.E.T.A. on myself for horrible chicken keeping?

    What do the old-timers do to prevent this?

    Thank you to all that respond!
  2. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 31, 2008
    West Michigan
    My Coop
    My roosters have had some bad frost bite in the past when they got wet in the cold, and I can say your rooster wont die but he probably is uncomfortable and he might lose a bit of the edge of his comb. The reason some say that neosporin is bad is one variety has a pain relieving ingredient. Birds are sensitive to benzocaine and lidocaine and many folks say to keep them away from all topical pain relief to be safe. Actually the pain relief ingredient in neosporin is not a "caine" based topical anelgesic so it probably is not dangerous. I use the regular neosporin and use it on my chickens quite often. That said, I don't know that it will do a whole lot to help your rooster's current frost bite.

    I have an unheated coop and my roosters do fairly well, because they are protected from the wind. I did put some vasaline on their combs before the really cold temps and it seemed to help protect them compared to last year.
  3. featherz

    featherz Veggie Chick

    Mar 22, 2010
    Saratoga County, NY
    Last year I tried the vaseline and the bag balm, but it really didn't help much. The roo lost some points, but on him I did nothing and he was fine. My big combed leghorns had it heal up by spring. I saw someone last year who found the rooster's comb in the run - it just fell off and the rooster was fine. :) I have bit of it on my leghorns, but I'm just keeping an eye on it. If it gets infected I'd try betadine and bag balm, but none of my chickens died (knock on wood) and none really needed any treatment. YMMV. :)
  4. SIMZ

    SIMZ Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 29, 2011
    Northwest Indiana
    Thank you for the responses!!!!

    The rooster's comb looks the worse, and I'll definitely keep an eye on it. I'd guess the rest of them don't need anything done at this point. I'll be more prepared the next time it gets really cold, such as make sure a layer of dry bedding is down, put Vaseline on the combs for good measure, and making sure the door is actually latched! I feel like a micromanaging, over-protective chicken person! I'm hoping it gets better as time goes on and I get through the first winter. :)

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