Frostbite is always a topic of discussion on backyardchickens.com forums this time of year, however, I didn’t think we’d be participating in the discussions.
This weekend we had a spurt of freezing cold temperatures up here in Wisconsin that were in the negative digits. As I looked at each of our chickens in the coop I noticed Brewster (the rooster) was shaking his head from side to side. I took a closer look and saw this!
Shit! His waddles are frostbitten!!!!
I instantly hit the chicken forums to see what I could do for him. Brewster was hen raised and I’ve never really handled him hands on. (long story, I’ll write a post about that later). So treating him was not going to be an easy task.
First I thought, “how did this happen?” I’ve read all the forums last year, and we have A. Good ventilation, B. Kept the coop dry C. Gotten rid of all the drafts in the coop, and D. It hasn’t been super freezing like years past! I felt absolutely horrible 😦
As it turns out, I believe he got the frostbite from drinking water. When he drinks his wattles get dunked in and get wet, thus causing frostbite. I have the typical metal chicken waterer for them and am now considering a new type of nipple/bucket waterer much like this one.
With the nipples I would hope he has a better chance of not getting his wattles wet! But I’ve never tried its so we’ll see.
The first thing I thought about was, “do I bring him inside to our garage for a few weeks to heal? or do I leave him where he’s comfortable with his ladies?” Someone on backyardchickens.com noted that, “They will heal up without any intervention, bringing them inside won’t help dead tissue and the stress from it won’t be helpful.”
So, in a nutshell, there isn’t much you can do about it, it has to run it’s course and you just have to monitor it. Ugh. There is nothing worse than not being able to help out your little farm feathered buddies.