Frost Bite and Chickens

My beautiful Lewis stayed outside one night in 20 degree weather. This is the first time in his life that he did not go into the coop. He’s always in the coop so it never entered my mind to look for him. I know where Goldie goes at night so I always go get her; she’s in the barn above the goats.

Lewis sun bathing.

I’ve taken great care to keep my chickens warm through the winter by laying straw on the floor, (I’m using the Deep Layer Method this year so I’ll have good compost in the spring, besides it keeps them warm.) They have heated water, plenty of food, and I cover the door with an old insulated blanket so drafts won’t get in.

Lewis, left side frost bitten face, comb, and wattle. Friday Jan, 12, 2019

Friday morning, January 11th, when I went out to open the chicken coop, I saw him move from the corner of the chicken run. Oh my God!!! His face was bloody and black!!! I grabbed him and quickly ran him into the house and put wet, warm paper towels on his face and tried to clean him up. He was listless and very still — not a good sign.

I had some Neosporin (a triple antibiotic cream) so I put that on his face, comb, and wattles. Once I had given him first-aid I started calling my vets to see who could take him. Unfortunately, my dog and cat vet didn’t do birds so I called my large animal vet, they don’t do birds either.

Lewis, right side frost bitten face Jan 11, 2019

I then called my agriculture agent Dustin Adcock who was the most helpful. He suggested I continue with the Neosporin and add electrolytes. Luckily my local feed store was open and had chicken supplies.

What weekend was touch and go but I kept Neosporin on his skin and gave him electrolytes like Dustin has suggested.

I was web searching for an Avian Veterinarian when I found one in Kannapolis, about an hour away. Monday morning I called them. Griffin Exotics embraced my chicken with open arms. They immediately admitted him into their hospital, gave him liquids, antibiotics, anti-inflammation, and pain medications.

They kept him for three nights to stabilize him before he could go home. On the day I picked him up, Dr. Carrie Edgerton gave me explicit instructions on how to care for him; how to feed him; and how to put medications in his eyes. I had never force fed a bird before and had no clue on how to proceed.

Lewis frost bitten face, comb, and wattle Jan, 17 2019.

They sent home an arsenal of medications, written instructions, and much stronger, healthier bird. For the first time I believe he has a chance to recover. My beautiful Lewis has a long way to go and he’ll probably lose some of his comb and wattle because the skin is dead. But, he’s going to be OK. We hope he’ll regain his eyesight but we won’t know that for a while. His eyes are still closed but we have drops and hope. January 19th. Tonight I put honey on his wounds for the first time. I have been spraying Vetericyn Plus on them because it is so gentle. But I want to see what honey will do. It’s been reported to be highly effective in dealing with wounds and I believe in it so that I add it to all my soaps; but, this is the first animal I’ve had an opportunity to try it on. I’ll photograph is progress.

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