White "blisters" on comb, worried chicken mommy

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by nicolep1986, Jan 10, 2014.

  1. nicolep1986

    nicolep1986 New Egg

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    Hello! I have a concern about one of my ladies and I'm hoping someone can help.

    We've been having some really cold weather here in southern Michigan. One night we even got down to -17 degrees (-30 with the wind chill). I've been very diligent about keeping my ladies warm (but of course not too warm!) and on the coldest nights I was out checking on them every two hours.

    My thought was if they are not huddled any closer or spread any farther apart than normal then I must be keeping the temperature just right.

    I didn't allow them out of the coop during the really cold days (if it was too cold for the people and dogs to be out then i kept the chickens in too) On the coldest nights I put Vaseline on their combs. I was told to do this to protect against frostbite.

    This morning I went outside to find the points on Hazel's comb looking white and feeling fluid filled, like a blister.

    I didn't put Vaseline on her comb last night because it was much warmer (I could be in the coop without gloves and my hands didn't go numb). I had two heat lamps pointed at their roost but well out of their reach and nothing on the other side of the coop so they could get out of the heat if it was too much.

    Parts of Hazel's comb have turned white before but changed back to their normal color on their own. The blister-like points have me really worried! I don't understand how it could be frostbite but her comb did feel cold when i was putting Vaseline on it. I also though maybe having vaseline on the comb and then sitting under the heat lamp might have caused this but i didn't put any on her last night.

    Does anyone have any suggestion for what it might be and what I should do? She doesn't seem to be in any pain so I'm thinking maybe I should just let it be but keep an eye on it? Thank you for any help!
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2014
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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  3. nicolep1986

    nicolep1986 New Egg

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    I'm looking through my chicken books and I'm thinking the same thing... I feel terrible about it!
    It also sounds like even if their bodies are warm and comfy their combs may not be safe since they're not protected by feathers.

    The "blistery" parts are starting to go down but now the tips are turning yellow. Does that mean she will lose all of that or is it possible it will heal?
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Again, they don't need warmth as much as dry air.

    It's hard to say how uch tissue damage there was. If an area turns black, it is probably dead and will fall off. It can easily get infected where the dead or damaged tissue meets the live tissue. In some cases, dubbing or partial dubbing may be necessary. The yellow may be infection or a type of necrosis (dead tissue.) I'd use Neosporin, myself. Its base is Vaseline so it serves two purposes. Be sure to open up a lace to let the humidity out of the coop. And don't use a topical medication on a bird that has a "caine" drug in it, such as cetacaine, benzocaine, etc.
     
  5. nicolep1986

    nicolep1986 New Egg

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    Thank you for your help. I read the post you reccommended, I definately don't have enough ventilation right now. I didn't understand the importance of it. This is my first flock and my first winter with them.

    I feel really terrible for letting this happen. I wish I had known better.

    How often should I apply the neosporin?

    After this has healed, is petroleum jelly a good way to protect her comb? Obviously I will be solving my ventilation problem ASAP but I want to do everything possible to prevent this from happening again. One of my books cautions that petroleum jelly can freeze so now I'm apprehensive about using it now.
     
  6. RaZ

    RaZ Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    That sure looks like frost bite. I just posted on the Michigan thread to watch even more closely now that the temperatures are up above freezing and the humidity is soaring. Those 2 factors are prime for frostbite.

    Keep a close eye on the colour of the tips and the swelling. You might want to use some Bag Balm on the combs and wattles. They often get wet from the fount and the cooler temperatures can quickly cause frostbite.

    Also come join us on the Michigan thread for friendly, local advice from people who are going through the same weather conditions.
    Michigan thread: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/697050/michigan-thread-all-are-welcome/19700
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2014
  7. nicolep1986

    nicolep1986 New Egg

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    Thank you, RaZ. The swelling has gone down completely but the very tips are black. They kind of look like a blood blister but they're not a blister. The rest is still white or yellow right next to the black part.

    I think it's a little bit weepy now, does that make sense? I've been keep petroleum jelly on it today and my husband just brought home neosporin for her. I've had her in the house in the bath tub all day so I could watch her closely.

    Thank you for the invite! I'm new to this forum and haven't had much time to poke around.
     
  8. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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  9. nicolep1986

    nicolep1986 New Egg

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    Thank you, Eggcessive!
     
  10. nicolep1986

    nicolep1986 New Egg

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    Eggcessive, I thanked you before actually reading the articles. Man, those are excellent! My books did not have that much information and I wasn't find much in my web searches.
     

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