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  #1  
Old 11-16-2012, 08:54 PM
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MotherCharlotte MotherCharlotte is offline
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Default Black spots on rooster's comb = fungal infection?

Hi everyone,
I asked about this on Backyard Chickens this morning, but as usual, my thread quickly got buried and I got no responses. That place is just too busy!

Anyway, our head rooster has some black spots on his comb that appeared this morning. They are not raised at all, just discolored. Another rooster and two hens have the beginning of spots too, it would seem.

Here is my post with pictures:
http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/72...b#post_9947772

I am guessing it's a fungal infection since there was dampness in the barn earlier this week. I don't think it's an injury as I haven't seen or heard of any fighting. Could anyone maybe confirm that this looks like an infection?

Also, how should I treat it? I read somewhere about a product called...NuStock I think, that has sulfur in it...would this work? Or could I use tea tree oil? Or something else?

Thanks so much.
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  #2  
Old 11-17-2012, 02:11 AM
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Has it been cold enough to freeze? If not, I'd likely treat it with castor oil with tea tree oil mixed in it...or Polysporin with antibiotics.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:47 AM
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How cold does it have to be for them to get frostbite? It was only a few degrees below freezing the past couple of nights.

Thank you for the tip. I will try the castor oil and tea tree oil, but I have to ask - what is the purpose of the castor oil? Is it just a more natural alternative to vaseline?
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Old 11-17-2012, 11:01 AM
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Possibly fowlpox.

It's a pretty much run-its-course disease... similiar to chicken pox for us I guess. Not really preventable and in most cases not dangerous. Takes a couple of weeks to run through your flock. The only time it's dangerous is if the fowlpox gets down into their lungs. Rare though. It's transmitted from wild birds to your flocks.... birds drinking out of the waterer, feces the chickens have pecked at, etc.
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Old 11-17-2012, 11:47 AM
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Hmmm. Well that's interesting. There are a lot of sparrows nesting in the rafters of the chicken barn, they poop down into the chickens' bedding...
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:01 PM
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Castor oil is a good healing oil - used externally. It's great for humans too, just don't use it on a really deep wound, as it will heal over the top before the bottom of the cut has healed.
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Old 11-18-2012, 05:29 AM
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I couldn't get the picture to load, but my first guess would also be fowl pox, either wet or dry. If one of your birds has it, they all will. Most of the time it runs it's course and the birds are fine. I would suggest keeping them well fed, dry, well ventilated, and if it's really cold I'd provide a bit of heat just to help them avoid stress from excessive cold. Some people use antibiotics, and I have in the past, but to be truthful, in my honest opinion, I don't know if it makes a big difference or not. If your birds are otherwise healthy and well cared for, they should be fine.
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Old 11-18-2012, 12:40 PM
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Thanks Molly. I don't really think it's pox after all because there isn't anything like raised bumps, just discoloured areas. I'm going to stick to Karen's idea of castor oil with tea tree oil added - any thoughts Karen, on how much tea tree? I put about 30 drops into a full (100mL) bottle of castor oil, is that enough?
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Old 11-18-2012, 02:14 PM
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Yes, I'd say that a good mix.

Roosters with really tall combs are more prone to frost damage, usually it's the tips that go first. When it heals over it doesn't seem to bother them. I've tended towards birds with lower profile combs though.

I'm below freezing here, about 4 inches of snow on the ground right now. Having trouble with excess moisture in the barn. During the day I'm leaving one window cracked open.
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:21 AM
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It does not take a lot of cold to affect the combs. What I do to treat and prevent it, is to use Bag Balm on their combs. Just rub a little in and it prevents chapping.

This also works on birds getting pecked. Spread some on where they are being pecked and the taste discourages further pecking.

I use this on my ducks too when they are fighting and trying to establish a pecking order. Spread some on their necks and they can't get a grip with their bills. There is no real damage without the Bag Balm, but it prevents feather pulling and potential harm I guess.
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Old 11-22-2012, 02:57 PM
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I am having a frustrating time trying to rub anything on my birds' combs. If I go into the coop at night when they are roosting, they all wake up. I have to turn on the light - otherwise it is pitch black in there. Once, I was able to rub some castor oil/tea tree on the combs of our two RIR, and I guess they didn't like it because now they won't let me touch them. And good luck getting near our roos at any time of the day or night!

I think I figured out where this infection came from. A short while ago we put some straw in the barn that was given to us for free - and I didn't stop to think at the time, but it had been sitting in someone's yard for a good while uncovered. So it was probably moldy. Lesson learned.

If I can't treat the birds myself, I'm going to just have to wait and see if this goes away on its own. They don't seem any worse, even if they don't seem any better. And I'm going to clean out the straw, although this hurts because our chicken barn is pretty big and under the straw was about 8 packages of new pine shavings, which isn't cheap. It will all have to go now. Oh well.
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Old 11-22-2012, 06:57 PM
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I use a fish net...attached to a painting pole (the kind that a paint roller attaches to)...I fasten the fish net to the pole with a couple of hose clamps...makes catching the birds much easier. I'm looking for a telescoping pole to modify mine "chicken catcher".

If I go in at night, I wear one of those headlamp flashlights (like these: http://www.nextag.com/headlamp-flashlight/compare-html" )on top of my hat. They are great because the light only shines on whatever you are looking directly at. So you don't disturb the whole flock.
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Old 11-24-2012, 09:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MotherCharlotte View Post

Also, how should I treat it? I read somewhere about a product called...NuStock I think, that has sulfur in it...would this work? Or could I use tea tree oil? Or something else?

Thanks so much.
That is what combs look like when one gets frostbit and dies back a bit. Is it cold where you are at?
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Old 11-24-2012, 05:57 PM
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It is pretty cold, but it hasn't dipped very much below freezing. How cold does it have to be before frostbite is a problem?
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  #15  
Old 11-27-2012, 06:43 PM
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Well, this is odd...I closely examined the chickens today and it seems that the black spots have gone away. Only the head rooster, who had it worst, looks a bit off but it looks like he has a scab that's going to fall off.

However...most of our birds have what do you call it...scaly leg mites? Their legs look all bumpy and dry and gross. Geeze. I sent dh to buy a fishing net so we can catch the birds and treat it before it gets any worse. I know to gently rub vaseline into their legs and feet.

I wonder if there is any connection between the two things. There is so much to learn, being new flocksters. I wish I had someone close by whom I could ask about these things. We can't afford a vet.
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Old 11-28-2012, 01:11 AM
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Do I have a cure for scaley leg mites!...you know that cooking spray - like Pam? Spray their legs. I used to stand the chicken in a pan of water as hot as my hands could take it - figured if it didn't burn me, it wouldn't burn them...and then rubbed their legs with vaseline. But spraying with the cooking spray is way easier, I think it softens the scales and maybe suffocates the mites.
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  #17  
Old 11-28-2012, 12:48 PM
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That's an interesting idea, and sounds easier than vaseline...however vaseline is what I have right now so that's what we're using. It wasn't all that bad to apply last night - with dh's help. I finally figured out you need one person to hold the chicken, the other person to administer the treatment.
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