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: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2013/12/frostbit-in-backyard-chickens-causes.html
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.