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#8315 - 01/25/03 06:37 AM Freezing Combs
Anonymous
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I have standard New Hampshires( Single Comb). They are in a ventilated, but draft free coop. At what temperature will I start experiencing (even minimal) comb freezing? Thanks for all replies in advance!

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#8316 - 01/25/03 07:41 AM Re: Freezing Combs
Susie Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 1902
Loc: Arkansas
Paul,

I have read that frostbite on combs can start at only 30. Roosters tend to be more vulnerable than hens. And I don't know if one breed is more vulnerable than another or if it's an individual bird thing.

I do know that you can put vaseline on their combs to help protect them. Not sure how many birds you have and if that's even an idea that is possible for you.

Susie

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#8317 - 01/25/03 08:24 AM Re: Freezing Combs
Anonymous
Unregistered


i doubt this will be a problem except in extreme cold.
the points will turn dark first if you have a gradual cold wave. the blood gets congested here but the tissue lives.
we hear all sorts of things like vasiline on combe this will help a little bit as it will absolutely prevent evaporation (sweating) off the surface of the comb- try some on one hand on a chill morning. but if for show the box method (big cardbaord box, all corners sawed off for air) will bring them through a very cold night.
dont know the vigor of dthe hampshire but cockrels (thin comb) freeze first at about 10F ( several degrrees below 0 in celsius)the snow will be "crunchy" as you walk.

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#8318 - 01/27/03 04:18 PM Re: Freezing Combs
Anonymous
Unregistered


A Polish cock I have with quite pendulous wattles showed frost bite on the bottom third of his wattles (bloody and swollen) today after 15 below zero temps last night. Prior to this we were experiencing overnight averages of zero degrees but everybody was looking okay up until today. We have had single comb cocks in the past whose comb tips froze and atrophied in the past with no apparent ill effects but this case looks more severe. This is why I prefer breeds with pea or rose combs.
Any advise on how to treat the Polish cocks frost bite?
Thanks Much!

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#8319 - 01/27/03 08:17 PM Re: Freezing Combs
CJR Offline
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8489
Loc: Montana
The only frosted tips of combs I have ever allowed, was a bantam cockerel, 6 mos old, and the temperature in the coop was 27degrees. Never have let them get that cold again!

I am sure a number of breeds are much hardier to cold, as there are many posts of no problems at down to 10degrees. My birds would suffer badly, maybe to death, at that temperature. CJR

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#8320 - 01/28/03 04:38 AM Re: Freezing Combs
Anonymous
Unregistered


Here in South Dakota, we almost always see temps of thirty below. In 1994 I saw 54 on the barn thermometer.

Unlike CJR, we don't breed for show so we really don't care if a rooster is dubbed by the frostbite. Our roosters that have large combs will lose a goodly portion of those combs during winter. The frostbite just turns black and sloughs off. We've never had a problem with any health problem related to comb frostbite. We just accept it and the roosters seem no worse for the wear.

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#8321 - 01/28/03 05:11 AM Re: Freezing Combs
Anonymous
Unregistered


It has not been above freezing here for several weeks and last week it got down to -10 F twice. Our two RIR roosters have just a miniscule amount of frostbite on one or two tips of each of their combs. So far so good. They have no heat in the coop, but are draft free and dry.

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#8322 - 01/28/03 05:18 AM Re: Freezing Combs
Bonnie in IN Offline
Chicken

Registered: 09/23/02
Posts: 77
Loc: Indiana
-14 here the other night and One RI bantam has white on the bottom of his wattles. The tips of combs freeze at higher temps. My cages are in the barn and covered with plastic. I need a smaller room and more insulation.

SOMETHING TO REMEMBER: Severely frostbitten males will most likely loose their SEX DRIVE for a while (until the areas have healed). I have experienced this several times in the past 30 years. Standard breeds tend to be infertile longer than bantams.

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#8323 - 01/28/03 07:36 AM Re: Freezing Combs
J. Henderson Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 08/16/02
Posts: 674
Loc: New York
Only one of our roosters, an Andalusian, has had any frostbite problem, and we have had the longest cold streak I remember, with several below zero nights. If the Andalusian loses some sex drive for a while, I won't mind. His hen-defeathering randiness is the main reason the roosters are in separate quarters this winter.

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#8324 - 01/28/03 10:13 AM Re: Freezing Combs
Anonymous
Unregistered


last friday we had around -3, and my rooster who has a VERY large spiked rose comb, and really large wattles had the end of his spike completely black. I had him under two heat lamps, but he got out of the pen i had him in some how. I rubbed the comb starting with cold water and working up to warm, and that fixed everything except the very end and the very tip of the spike. The skin on top is dead in places, and i've been rubbing the intire comb with 1% iodine every night, and putting vaseline on it. The comb is starting to look better, but theres still a layer of yellow 'wax' like build up on the very end. Blood also seems to still be having trouble moving through the tip of the spike. His comb is very beautiful, and really cold weather is rare in south carolina. If i did have to remove his comb, how much trouble does any one think it would be?

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#8325 - 01/28/03 11:52 AM Re: Freezing Combs
Anonymous
Unregistered


I have heard that before (about roosters losing their sex drive if their combs are frostbitten), but that is not my experience. Two winters ago was particularly cold and the old Delaware cock was completely dubbed by frostbite - lost it all. And went on breeding as usual.

Now, what I have seen is the roosters don't want to breed when it is too cold. But that isn't due to frostbite.

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#8326 - 01/28/03 12:23 PM Re: Freezing Combs
Graciel Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 07/18/02
Posts: 423
Loc: New York
echo2, don't worry about doing anything to your roo's comb if you can't save it. It will simply dry up and fall off. Takes awhile, but it's dead tissue to the bird and the healing process walls off the dead from the living tissue, resulting in a nice, neat scar.

Jennifer

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#8327 - 01/28/03 12:41 PM Re: Freezing Combs
Rob Offline
Ruler of the Roost

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 783
Loc: Pennsylvania
I wonder if just trimming off that dead tissue, right away, would not alleviate some discomfort.??

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#8328 - 01/28/03 12:54 PM Re: Freezing Combs
Anonymous
Unregistered


Of course with our winters here, I've seen a lot of frostbitten combs and wattles - I don't have any reason to believe that it causes them any significant discomfort. At least, I don't notice any behavior that would indicate discomfort like trying to scratch at it.

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#8329 - 01/28/03 12:58 PM Re: Freezing Combs
Bonnie in IN Offline
Chicken

Registered: 09/23/02
Posts: 77
Loc: Indiana
Rob, if you cut the dead tissue off NOW, you get BLOOD and discomfort. If you let it dry up and fall aff there will be no blood and it seems as if no pain.

Many many years ago I went to a redneck farm where they were raising gamecocks. It was spring and the winter had been bad. I saw cocks walking on their elbows and the explanation was " their feet and legs froze". These birds were functioning and they had no feet and legs. It is just amaising what a chicken can do and endure and then there are those that fall down dead when you slam the barn door. smile

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#8330 - 01/28/03 05:04 PM Re: Freezing Combs
Rob Offline
Ruler of the Roost

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 783
Loc: Pennsylvania
You cxan call me a redneck too, but I couldnt have chooks with their feet an legs froze off!!. Dubbing seems ro cauxe no trauma, Ive dubbed year old birds and they go eat when put down. They wont lose that much blood, it looks like a lot tho. I sprinkle blood stop powder on the wounds

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#8331 - 01/28/03 07:28 PM Re: Freezing Combs
Anonymous
Unregistered


Call me a redneck along with Rob. Too many people just repeat, with authority, what they've heard or read without knowing if it is true or not. Indescretion to be sure.

Chickens are not humans and, although I tend to think of my hens as children and they sometimes act like it, they are not.

A child with frostbitten fingers goes to the physician.

A rooster or cockerel with frostbitten comb will get over it - just leave him alone. He won't be 'sexually' upset when the weather warms up enough to suit him. These are myths - yes, you can read these myths in the popular hobby literature. They are myths just the same. I am so arrogant as to dare say that we on this farm have more experience with this issue than most authors of those hobby books. Just leave him alone if you don't see any problem beyond the fact that his comb is black and is going to slough off. We have this all the time in South Dakota. We've never lost a cock yet to frostbite. They're better off for it. After their combs are gone, they are better adapted to the climate here. Good ridance.

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#8332 - 01/29/03 04:14 AM Re: Freezing Combs
Anonymous
Unregistered


Man, my last post sounds harsh! eek

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#8333 - 01/29/03 06:57 AM Re: Freezing Combs
Graciel Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 07/18/02
Posts: 423
Loc: New York
No, Leee, I didn't think so. I got a few Leghorn birds this past year and really admired those huge combs on the roos, but I KNEW that come spring they are going to be a lot shorter than they were last fall. It's too bad, but that's the way things go where it's cold.

Jennifer

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#8334 - 01/29/03 07:44 AM Re: Freezing Combs
Big Boy Offline
Ruler of the Roost

Registered: 07/17/02
Posts: 845
Loc: Kansas
Yeah, Rob and Leee, you are too right. My Leghorns are kept warm enough that they don't get frost-bite too bad but they still have their points kinda 'rounded-off'. The orpingtons have big combs as well (not as big as Leghorns, of course) but they really don't seem to be as affected as the Mediterranean fowl.

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#8335 - 01/29/03 11:11 AM Re: Freezing Combs
Anonymous
Unregistered


Lee,
I didn't think your post was harsh either. As a matter of fact I was glad to see it.
I have three roos with very large single combs, two the very points have turned black. They do not appear painful (I have touched them and massaged them and the roos don't seem to even blink or mind) I was beginning to feel really bad about not being able to do more for my guys. Your posts helped me to see that they are going to be just fine, with rounded points on their combs.

I have them in a draft free barn with a red 250 watt heat lamp on their water to keep it free of ice. I figured if the birds were really uncomfortable they would sleep near the light. Not so, they do not spend much time at all near the light in the warmest part of the barn. I figure even stupid chickens are smart enough to huddle under the warmth of the light if they are too cold. So I quit worrying.
Thanks for the words of wisdom from those more experienced than I.
Shari

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#8336 - 01/29/03 12:13 PM Re: Freezing Combs
Anonymous
Unregistered


This bout of winter makes one understand why Chanteclers are popular in Canada. I understand they have nearly no wattles and the smallest of pea combs. I think I need to invest!

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#8337 - 01/29/03 12:55 PM Re: Freezing Combs
Anonymous
Unregistered


echo 2- please do not dub adult birds- especially a rosecomb.
i have dubbed only a couple adult fully mature 2 year cocks, and it is a very dangerous thing to do. Each ttime i did it because the bird was weak and or going light, and i wished to save it.
the end of the spike is kinda the outside tissue, but inside these big beefy combs is a large artery that feeds the red royal crown.
in rosecombs there may be more vessels, but th eordinary single comb has a big vessel right in the center of the thickest part of the back base. if you were to cut the thick comb down to the skull then this spot will bleed like a water fountain. this has to be clamped off and it is such a bad location to put a clamp- nothing to hold onto.
when cockrels are dubbed, their combs are so much thinnner they dont bleed in a lifethreatening way- the base is thinner and they havent developed all the supporting tissue that fills in with time. it is not as painful as adult birds either- these shoud have a painkiller NEVER aspirin.
there is a happy medium, see some commercial broilers/ eggstock roosters and their single combs are dubbed partially, looks like an orange slice sitting on top of the head- only the thinner parts were clipped off. this is to improve the living conditions of the bird(they cant eat out of cage feeders or drink with large combs )
please dont dub- let it come off naturally- there will be less trauma that way.

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#8338 - 12/08/06 07:15 PM Re: Freezing Combs
Anonymous
Unregistered


I almost brought my chicken inside last night because of the cold weather. He has a large comb and I was really worried about him. I looked a lot of stuff up and decided he could take it. The very tips of his comb were purple. He's had little pieces purple before and they've healed in three days. I rubbed lotion and then petroleum jelly into his big comb and wattles for tonight-- he loved the lotion (I do that with or without cold weather) but he hated the petroleum jelly.
My chickens have no heat-- just a metal building and bails of loose straw-- very deep. It is currently 7 degrees. I am not going to worry-- though this is the coldest night we've had here in two years.
I am not going to worry...

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#8339 - 12/08/06 08:22 PM Re: Freezing Combs
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
In the coops to prevent freezing of the combs, I put a heat lamp in the coop to generate some heat. I also close up the coop to keep a minimal amount of heat from escaping. My roosters are my main problem and I take them inside if I see a blackish or even tan coloring on the comb. I warm the comb up with a warm cloth until it is red. Then, I slather the comb with IcyHot to generate the blood circulation to the extremities again. I put Vaseline over the IcyHotted comb. Then I place him back in the coop.

I didn't get to put the heat lamp in the coop before the snow and freezing temps hit. (It was freaking 74 degrees F...then went to 20degrees the next day!!! With 12" of snow!!) Anyway, the rooster got some black on his comb and I did the above. Not blacker, but still not where I'd like it to be. His comb also has some bleeding to the ends from where I'm guessing the comb got too dry. His wattles also had some scabs forming on the, but I just put some Antibiotic Ointment, IcyHot, then Vaseline on them! They look MUCH better than the comb! To warm the birds up during the day, I take hot water up to them (it's "warm" by the time I make it up the hill!) to help warm them up!

Light Brahmas do really well with their combs in the winter, but their feet feathering can cause some issues. Mr. Mom lost a bit of his comb due to REALLY cold weather last year, but he's doing much better now! smile

Ordelia...just keep that train of thought!!! Don't worry...it will be fine! Don't worry...it will be fine! Don't worry...will it be fine??? Did I help??? LOL! smile

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#8340 - 12/09/06 10:19 AM Re: Freezing Combs
Anonymous
Unregistered


Thanks for better advice! I'll go put that treatment on him right now, starting with Neosporin! The tips of my rooster Izha's comb are a little black right now, and ther is a little bit of a yellow tinge to a certain area of his wattles and comb-- which could be caused by him eating with the petroleum jelly on and the dust getting stuck, or something else-- I'll go take another look. I bet it's the petroleum jelly.
I know what you mean about the freakin' weather. It was 68 degrees, and then WHAM! 28.. then 23.. then 11.. then 6... I was totally unprepared. I have a florescent light in his building because I'm worried about a fire. What do you do to prevent fire hazards in your chicken coop when the temperatures get to "wattle-freezing?" Next time, I want to be prepared!

Thanks for the enocuragement, jrsygntbrdr1! It really DID help! I think you sent my chickens warm vibrations or something smile

Update: The yellow seems to be areas with poor circulation. I massaged him a great deal, and put on the treatment, and he looks much better.

In addition to my last question, I would like to ask this one: if the comb has just a little bit of purpleish-black at the very tips, will it necessarily die or will it recover and scar?


Please see my forum in Poultry misc. to help me identify what Izha'z parents might have been. I'm really eager to hear guesses-- any guesses!

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#8341 - 12/09/06 11:18 AM Re: Freezing Combs
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
for the heating lamp, I put the lamp at a cock-eyed position where the metal clamp is holding onto a roost in the corner. Then, I make the lamp light spread to the other end of the coop, just by adjusting the angle of the lamp. The birds gather however near, and however far away they need it. Oh! I put the lamp on the lower roost so that the light goes upwards. I wait an hour or two, and then I squeeze myself into the coop to make sure I don't smell smoke, or overheating of the litter in the coop. If I feel overheating, I adjust the lamp angle and height so that the coop isn't having concentrated heating in just one area.

Yeah...the yellow seems to be the precursor to the blackening. Having purplish-black on the tips doens't necessarily mean that part will fall off, but it's not as good as red. With black there is always a chance that the tissue has already died, but if I feel the comb and feel warmth in that part of the comb, I'm more assured that there is at least some circulation going on in there! It may recover and have no remaining problems, or it may be smoother than the rest of the comb, or it may fall off. Unfortunately, there's not way to tell until warmer weather starts back up! Darn cold!

The Vaseline getting dirt on it definately makes it look like there's more frostbite...but thank goodness for the sense of touch otherwise we'd have no clue as to if it were dirt or frostbite! lol

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#8342 - 12/09/06 11:48 AM Re: Freezing Combs
Anonymous
Unregistered


I ran out and checked. The blacker areas feel warm. It's 40 degrees here again. Thank goodness! They get to come out and play when its above freezing!

Thanks, thanks, thanks!
We had bantams when I was little, but I don't hardly remember anyone but my cochin hen that lived for 12 years, who would sit up in the pine trees with a foot of snow on her back. And my mother did most of the work involved with the chickens back then.

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#8343 - 01/24/07 08:03 AM Re: Freezing Combs
Anonymous
Unregistered


If you can catch it in time, rub them with DMSO and dry it off and turn on the heat.

Colts born in really cold temps can loose the tips of their ears and that is the way we treat them.

If you have expecting animals in the North Central states you don't sleep much at night during winter.

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