Posts Tagged ‘comb frost bite’

Frugalness, Puppies, and Frost Bite

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

My sister and I have always been close and while we have a great deal in common, we differ greatly in others. Take organization, pack-rattiness (I may have made that word up), and clutter management for example. My sister’s home is very organized and clear of clutter. She doesn’t have a pack rat gene in her body. If she hasn’t used it, worn it, or eaten it recently, it gets thrown out. She has begged – and I seriously mean BEGGED – to come into our home to organize and de-clutter it. It just slays her that we will not permit it. Her eye begins twitching when she visits us and gazes upon the mass of clutter in our home. We are very attached to our clutter and we’ve accumulated boxes and boxes of it that we store in every nook and cranny of our home. You just never know when you’ll need that t-shirt from high school or when that broken toaster will come in handy.

I tell you the above to explain how very happy I was to find a box full of dog food bowls, waterers, leashes and collars. When the last of our dogs passed away a few years ago we didn’t plan to get puppies anytime soon, but we knew we eventually would, so I packed everything dog related into a box and stored it. Finding the box was a-whole-nother story, but find it I did! And after washing it all up, setting up the feeding area, and strategically placing the waterer, I believe we are prepared. The only thing missing is the puppies. And tomorrow that will be remedied. Yay!

So, in a nutshell, the clutter of that box of dog items and the pack-rattiness of saving it all these years actually aided in the organization we accomplished in setting up for the arrival of the puppies. So take that, sistah! Besides, it’s called “frugal”. We are just very frugal people around here.

With all the below freezing weather we’ve encountered this year, Duke’s comb has suffered significantly from frost bite. I’ve mentioned this before, but thought I would post a picture for those of you who may have never seen frost bite on a chicken’s comb.

The front of his comb is unaffected. He’s still a good looking boy, don’t you think?


The rear of his comb has the frost bite. It’s mostly on the tips of his comb.


The dark stuff on his feathers is grease from the back hoe. When it rains, snows, sleets, etc. he prefers to go under the back hoe for shelter, rather than in his coop. I’ve tried explaining how the coop would be better, but he doesn’t listen. Boys will be boys.

I’ve been slathering a triple-antibiotic cream on his comb each evening and it was starting to look much better – but then we had another Arctic blast and the high temperatures didn’t get out of the 20’s for a while. His comb is looking rather bad again. I hate to think of it, but I may end up having to dub it.

Chickens with large combs and wattles are more susceptible to frost bite. Some people believe that applying Vaseline to the combs and wattles will prevent frost bite. I’m certain it won’t hurt, but I question it’s effectiveness. Believe it or not, this is actually a very controversial subject among many chicken owners. All I know is that the antibiotic cream I am using is petroleum based, and it did not prevent him from further frost bite. None the less, frost bite can be a very serious issue. The necrotic tissue can cause an infection, making the chicken very ill, and possibly even resulting in death. Dubbing is sometimes the only alternative. It involves cutting off the comb and/or wattle. Some people routinely dub their chickens as a preventative measure, and some with Show Chickens are required to dub them.

Personally, Duke and I are both very fond of his comb and wattle, so we are both hoping that dubbing is something neither of us has to experience. His wattles are fine, so that won’t be an issue. I’m keeping a very close eye on his comb for any sign of infection. At the most, I am hoping I only need to remove the affected portion, which is close to the back of his comb. I guess we’ll cross that bridge if we get to it. If the frost bite doesn’t get too severe and there is no infection, he will likely lose the black tips. They will just fall off when completely dead. That is what Duke and I are hoping happens.

Tomorrow is the big day! We will leave early in the morning to pick up the puppies. I’ve tried my best to prepare Elvis and Priscilla, but they are in a state of complete denial. They refuse to even discuss it. But they are fairly adaptive cats, so I guess they’ll learn to deal with it when the puppies finally get here.

And if you thought I bored you with peep pictures when we got the chickens, well……..

Bee Free,