Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Rooster with Frostbitten Feet - Day 2 Inside

My rooster (Muffin) is still in the bathroom healing from frostbite.  We found him on Monday afternoon, today is Wed morning, day 2 inside the house.  I can't believe he stayed outside and let his feet freeze.  Why didn't he go inside the coop with the rest of the chickens?

Yesterday we brought in a hen named Zoner.  Muffin isn't particularly attached to Zoner.  Zoner was our other rooster (named Leggy)'s fav hen.  Leggy's been gone for quite a while.  So after a few hours Zoner went back out to the coop, and after a few hours of sleeping alone, I brought in a hen named Singer.  Goodness, Muffin got so excited to see Singer!  He immediately stood up for her, and cackled his call for her to eat all the treats we had in front of him.  She gobbled, and then he, too, gobbled the food!  She drank, and then he drank water, too.  I was happy to see him eating and drinking normally.

Singer (named so because when she was young she used to sing a song like a songbird) was excited to be inside.  She immediately dumped the food bowl all over the floor and scratched it everywhere.  She pooped about 30 times.  She decided she wanted to pull up all the towels that were on the floor to see what was under them.  She had to poop in the waterer.  I left her alone for a minute and found her sleeping up against the hot radiator that heats the bathroom (she would have burnt herself!).  She is a high maintenance hen.  And Muffin loved her in there with him.  I guess some men like high maintenance women. Singer spent all afternoon yesterday with Muffin.  I put her back out in the coop at nighttime so he would sleep.

His legs and feet were definitely frostbitten.  I did some research online. By yesterday afternoon blisters appeared on the feet and legs.  I read the following on this website:

If your chicken has frostbitten feet then a longer time of healing is ahead. Depending on the severity of the frost bite, your chicken may lose some toes or at worst an entire foot. Keep the chicken inside out of freezing temperatures on a soft bedding, like a towel, that won't cling to the feet. If the feet turn completely black then there isn't much you can do except wait for the blackened areas to fall off. Often the chicken is able to survive this and continue on with life, though they will be crippled. Some chickens can adapt well enough to hobble around on legs without any feet!

It's possible for the feet to only be partially frost bitten. In this case the tissue will try to heal itself by growing blisters. Do not pop the blisters, even if they continue to swell and produce green or yellow pus. Blisters filled with fluid are a natural band aid for the damaged tissue underneath. They will rupture once the tissue below is healed enough to be exposed.

Treat the feet by soaking them twice a day in a warm water mixture. Add Epsom salt to the water. Be sure to not allow your chicken to drink this water since salt in high doses is damaging to chickens. Grape fruit seed extract is a semi-natural antibiotic that can be purchased at health food stores. It makes an excellent addition to the foot bath along with the Epsom salt. Also add hydrogen peroxide to the warm water. Hydrogen peroxide helps to rid of dead skin cells and keep bacteria and debris out of the healing feet.

After each soak dry the feet well and then coat them with Neosporin (make sure not to use the kind with pain killer in it) or something similar. On top of that, coat the feet with Bag Balm to form a protective layer. Bag Balm contains menthol, which will improve circulation to speed healing. Loose bandages or an old pair of socks will help keep the feet as clean as possible while still allowing the skin to breathe.

If your chicken's feet become infected to the point that the chicken is no longer eating and drinking normally then you can administer Penicillin G. This can be purchased at most feed stores, along with syringes and needles. Full sized large breed chickens should get 0.5 mg injected once a day in the drumstick area of the leg, into the muscle. Injecting a chicken can seem a bit intimidating at first, but if you hang the chicken upside down with the help of a partner, the bird will quickly go limp and you can inject the Penicillin without too much trauma.

While your chicken is healing be sure to feed it plenty of high protein treats along with normal amounts of food and water to help its body recover. Chickens love scrambled eggs, oatmeal, fruit, and most table scraps aside from raw potatoes and salty foods.

With careful treatment and plenty of time most chickens will be able to recover from frostbite and go on to live out the rest of their lives!

Also, here's another website with helpful info:

Good luck to anyone who's going through this.  I hope my rooster makes it and doesn't lose his feet. His feet are still pink, have blisters, and are bleeding in spots.  I'm putting neosporin on them, soaking them in epson salt and warm water, keeping him in the bathroom on soft old towels which get changed often because he poops a lot.  He's eating and drinking well. His gallon waterer has had 5 aspirin dissolved in it for pain.  He's alert and attentive, but doesn't want to stand for very long periods and doesn't hardly walk by himself. We'll see how this goes.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Rooster with Frozen Feet

Hi there!  It's been a long time since I've written anything.  So long, in fact, that I'll start over, from the beginning.  Don't worry, I'll make it short.

My name is Lynn, I have a farm I call Razzberry Corner, I'm not a farm girl, but instead have a high tech job in downtown Washington, DC. I have a big heart for animals and try my best with them. This farm thing is a learning experience, I learn as I go, I learn from looking things up online and I hope that my blog one day helps someone else online who's looking for help.  I've experienced so many things when dealing with chickens and guineas that I think others can learn from, and I want to help others so they don't have to struggle the way I often do. My problem is that I don't have much time.  Blogging takes time.  Work takes time, and I often travel for work.  Running a farm, dealing with animals, housework and cleaning, cooking and all the other aspects of life take time. 

As I'm writing this I have a rooster in my bathroom and 2 barn cats in the guest room. (My husband is a saint to put up with me...)  And at least a foot of snow outside.  The rooster is my main concern right now.

His name is Muffin, he was one of my very first two roosters.  Yeah, I didn't know it was a boy and I was new to chickens back then, I didn't think not to name them silly names until we figured out their gender.   But the name Muffin always stuck, and the bird knew his name.  He always answered when we called "Muffin!" My husband always liked Muffin, Muff sometimes wanted to fight with me, but I learned to live with him.  All-in-all, he has been our best rooster, and has always been our lead roo.

Yesterday when it was snowing, my husband went out and found Muff standing in the snow out in the chicken pen.  He picked up the bird and found his feet frozen!  We put him in a cold bath and ever so slowly made the water warmer and warmer - we held him in the sink for about an hour, each of us taking turns holding him so only his legs were under water. The legs and feet got warm, he was able to move the legs up and down again, and he curled the toes just a little when we put our fingers in them.  I think it's natural for a bird to curl their toes around something, simulating roosting.

We put Muff on a towel in front of the fireplace and let him totally warm up and dry off.  He preferred to lay down on top of his legs/feet.  No standing. The legs/feet looked normal.

Overnight last night we put Muffin in the bathroom on a towel that we rolled up so he was able to wrap his toes a little around the soft towel. We brought in a hen (named Zoner) to keep him company.  He and Zoner both ate treats and Zoner drank water.  Muff wanted nothing to do with drinking.

This morning he crowed 5 times.  Zoner went back out to the coop.  Muff is still laying there in the bathroom.  He eats ok, but is not drinking. And not standing.  I lifting him up and looked at the feet - they're all cracked and bleeding in the corners of the toes. I read online to put Vaseline on them, so I coated them with Vaseline and hope they heal. He's not moving around at all, just laying there, although he's alert and seems fine otherwise.

Cracks between toes

I hope he gets better.  We're going to give him a few days inside to let him heal.  If he cannot walk the other birds will pick on him.  He was the king of the coop.  Now he will become the lowest in the pecking order and that alone will destroy this feisty rooster who's used to being in charge.  Sadly, my husband will have to put him down if he cannot walk again.

Any assistance anyone can provide about chickens with frozen feet is appreciated!