UPDATE - Hen with frozen toes - HELP

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by AmeraucanaMama, Jan 10, 2010.

  1. AmeraucanaMama

    AmeraucanaMama New Egg

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    Jan 10, 2010
    Hi, I'm relatively new to chicken ownership (2 years) so every once and awhile I run into a strange situation with my flock. It was cold last night here in Ohio, 0 degrees at midnight. This morning I noticed one of my hens, Half Pint, was shuffling her feet to get to the food pellets. I picked her up and noticed both her feet were completely frozen. I have no idea how this happened since they have a large heating lamp, multiple perches and a dry, ventilated coop. None of my other 7 hens or my roo seemed to be having any problems. She is the smallest hen in the flock and is almost always sitting under the heat lamp on a cold day. The only mixed breed that I have, I believe she is a silkie/ameraucana mix. An odd looking hen with beautiful ameracauna coloring but with five feathered toes like a silkie. (I don't know a whole lot about her origin, I got her free from a woman I bought 3 Ameracauna hens from this fall. She was going to take her to the butcher if I didn't take her. She's so cute I couldn't resist) Anyway not really important. Here is my problem, I brought her in the house and caged her in my basement and managed to slowly thaw out her toes. They are now warm and she can grasp my hand when I pick her up. She is eating and seems very content. This afternoon when I went down to check on her she was standing however holding her left foot up off the cage bottom. She will put it down however not for very long. It does have a purplish tint to the color and seems a bit swollen. I soaked both her feet in warm water to remove any debris and I really don't see anything wrong with the foot. Does anyone have any suggestions, could this be from her feet being frozen? I've never experienced frozen toes before. At this point I'm not sure what I can do for her. She will be staying in the basement for a few more days while I try and figue out what is wrong with her. I'd really like to help her she is a really docile hen and she lays beautiful olive green eggs! Can anybody help me? [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2010
  2. Chook-A-Holic

    Chook-A-Holic Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 5, 2009
    Central, N.C.
    What kind of roost poles do you have for your birds? With the temps you speak of, sounds like she wasn't able to cover her feet when squatting down on the roost. A 2x4 laid flat is recommended so they can cover their feet.

    You mentioned that now you have her in a cage. What kind of bedding do you have her on? I would recommend a soft towel or pine shavings if she is on bare wire now. Her feet are probably going to be very tender for a few days. Hope she will be OK!!!

    EDIT: spelling error
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2010
  3. AmeraucanaMama

    AmeraucanaMama New Egg

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    Jan 10, 2010
    I don't know the exact size of the roosts, however I believe they are of the correct width that they should be able to cover their toes adequately. I think part of her problem is that she really doesn't like to roost with the rest of my hens. She is almost always standing or laying down under the heat lamp in their coop. The lamp is close to the floor so they can stand under it if they want. Maybe I need to have my husband make a roost for her under the lamp????

    I put her on some soft cloth towels with paper towels on top for now. She seems very comfortable but still won't stand on the one leg.
     
  4. fldiver97

    fldiver97 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 5, 2009
    Middleton, WI
    There may be some tissue damage from frostbite or she may still be a bit tender. I think you did good so far. I would keep her on soft clean bedding and watch for a few days. Hopefully she will start to bear weight and walk on it soon without too much trouble. I would watch for swelling, discoloration/signs of infection. Hopefully none of these will be an issue. Sometimes I wonder about the chickens...I have one thats a bit of an outsider but at least she has figured out to roost with the others for warmth (most nights). But I do have a another roost a bit lower that she can use.... I have about 8 inches of shavings and straw on the coop floor but sometimes they scratch all the way to the floor and then sit/stand there. Don't know how cold that is on their little feet... [​IMG]
     
  5. Featherland

    Featherland Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 28, 2007
    Missouri
    My Silkies won't roost. They huddle together on the floor or in a nesting box for warmth at night when they sleep. Maybe you could provide her a box with thick bedding to keep her off the floor and a little warmer if she won't roost. I am guessing she has regular feathers and not silkie feathers?
     
  6. AmeraucanaMama

    AmeraucanaMama New Egg

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    Jan 10, 2010
    Yes regular feathers. I'll see if I can't post a pic of her tomorrow. She is very unusual looking with her feathered body and 5 toes. Her coloration is just beautiful and unique. I'm assuming she is a mix. Are there any other breeds that have 5 toes? She doesn't care much for the other hens. I did have a white silkie hen that she hung around with however unfortunately she passed away unexpectedly this fall. Now she'd rather be with people. I've never had a hen that loves to be held like she does. Quite the personality and very different than my other hens.
     
  7. hen-thusiast

    hen-thusiast Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2009
    Utah
    How's she doing today? I'd definitely keep an eye on her for signs of frostbite. Keep in mind that if it is frostbite, she will be more susceptible to it in the future. We have two rescues in quarantine right now with severe frostbite, one of them does pick her foot up now and then. Their feet are also swollen.

    I don't mean to scare you and I'm not saying that your case is as severe as these two, I'm only going to say this last part so you keep an eye on things. The one with the freshest frostbite, the skin that had a deep purplish tint to it, is now turning black. It's dead tissue and will eventually fall off.

    If she appears to be in discomfort, feel free to put aspirin in her water. You'll find aspirin dosage here on BYC if you google it.

    Sounds like you are doing everything right, just keep her comfortable and warm inside for the next bit. Good luck!
     
  8. AmeraucanaMama

    AmeraucanaMama New Egg

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    Jan 10, 2010
    Hello, she seems to be pretty well this afternoon. I haven't gotten a chance to really look at her feet thoroughly, I'm just home for a quick lunch and then back to work. She is eating and was standing on both feet when I looked in. She was chattering away as normal. I will keep her in the basement for a few more days and watch the coloration. I'm going to soak them again tonight in warm water and see. She has feathers on her feet so it's not easy to just poke my nose in her cage. My guess is she probably will have some sort of frostbite. Her little feet were so frozen she couldn't bend her toes. I would assume if she were in pain she would exhibit some type of distress???
     
  9. AmeraucanaMama

    AmeraucanaMama New Egg

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    Jan 10, 2010
    Update on Half Pint... She is now bearing weight on both her feet so I think the worst is behind us. I soaked her feet in warm water tonight again and it seems the swelling has gone down and her feet are returning to their normal color. This hen is so incredibly sweet, she stood by herself in the warm water while I sorted laundry. Gave her a little food in a bowl and she was totally content to stand there. Had her stand for almost 10 minutes then dried her feet. There are a few areas that still appear purplish so I'm going to keep her in for a while longer. I think she's getting tired of being in a cage though, she was walking, although kind of clumsily, a lot more this evening rather than laying down so I think she's on the mend. Keeping my fingers crossed that she didn't get frostbite. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2010
  10. hen-thusiast

    hen-thusiast Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2009
    Utah
    I'm glad to hear Half Pint is feeling better! [​IMG]
     

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