treating a chicken with frostbite inside

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Katieswan, Jan 13, 2015.

  1. Katieswan

    Katieswan In the Brooder

    Nov 5, 2014
    HI There,

    It's official, the frigid temps of MN have gotten to my girls combs. I now have a couple girls with minor frost bite and one with a bit worse. My hen with the biggest comb has it on a pretty large part of her comb. It is not yet black but it is white/grayish and swollen. She also has a small injury on the area which I think made the frost bite increase. It has been like this for a few days now and I just decided to bring her in today. The temps have been sub zero for many nights and have gotten to 0 or a few below in the coop. They coop is dry and well ventilated. I think it was just inevitable because of how cold it has been. I do not heat the coop or put heat lamps in because of fire risk. I did put one in for the coldest day but I never saw anyone under it even.

    So, now I am looking for advice. What to do now that I have brought this bird in. It is actually suppose to be warmer for a few days and get up to 30 by Thursday! So this should be good for them. My plan is to warm her comb with a warmish rag and then but antibiotic cream on it. I am worried it could be infected because there was a bit of clear liquid coming out yesterday ( but not today).

    What other treatment would you do beside warming and antibiotic cream? Garlic water? or apple cider vinegar in water? I have read about both of those things in water on a regular basis, however, I do not do it because I use galvanized waterer.

    Is it possible bringing her away from flock is stressing her out more than good? She does not seem happy at all and will not even eat the greens and grapes I gave her.

    Is it dangerous to put her back out when the temps are not above freezing? That is one reason I waited to bring her in because I was worried she would re freeze her comb but since it is getting warmer I thought I would put her our when its warmer.

    Could the change of temp ( from inside in basement to outside ) shock her system to much? Should I put her on the colder porch for a bit before putting her out again?

    This is my first time with chickens in the winter and we were doing really good until a few weeks of sub zero temps. Everyone is still acting fairly fine. A little cooped up though. Even though I have let them out as much as possibly. Thanks for any advice. I just don't want to cause more damage than good.

  2. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Songster

    Aug 11, 2014
    Magnolia, Texas
    In addition to frostbite, it could be that your mama is getting pecked a little, too, with the cold, winter conditions you describe.

    I would keep her in the garage, especially if your mama's comb is leaking clear liquid. That's plasma coming from an injury, it sounds like.

    Instead of a heat lamp, I know people will put buckets of warm water, warm oatmeal, and warm suet blocks out for their flocks during winter. The extra grains and fats will help your mamas stay nice and warm. :) Mind the treats, though. Obesity is super bad for chickens!

    It sounds like you are on the right track... I know your hen is fussy, but you know best! If you brought her in, it was with good reason, and she can be huffy all she wants. You may be preventing a worse injury, more frostbite, or an infection... She'd THANK you if she had the foresight, I'm sure.

    When you move her back out, "hardening" her to the cold by moving her to the porch sound like a good idea. Give her a few days in there, then pop her back out once she is healed. :)

    As for warming in the coop, the best idea is a flat-panel space heater that you can mount on the wall. You can also build an insulated "hood" that you hang over their roost to keep the warmth trapped above them while they snooze.

    Last edited: Jan 13, 2015

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