Do Not Feed Chickens + Possible Bumblefoot
Tom : Following the recent bird flu restrictions, I have had my chickens in a covered but smaller than usual enclosure. I was away most of the last month and only got them out into the wider open enclosure this week. One of my chickens seems slightly disabled as she walks around the paddock. As she’s also the broody one it’s hard to watch her for long as she takes every opportunity to hide in the nest box. I thought she might have scale leg, but when I came to treat her it was her feet that seemed to be the problem. Not ever having had a case of Bumblefoot I didn’t know what to look for so I picked up the other apparently healthy one (both are Buff Orpingtons). The limping chicken had no reaction when I pressed the ball of her foot, but the other closed her claw. Neither foot looks particularly sore, although the non-limping one’s foot is the more pink in colour.
All the chickens have really dirty feet which I am slowly washing with warm soapy water. The clag on the feet looks a lot like a dried mixture of mud and manure. They seem to be responding the gradual cleaning.
Have you any suggestions? My friendly neighbourhood chicken “expert” thinks the lame one should be put down as she’s stopped laying anyway, but he used to keep them as a small business for eggs. Regards Tom
My Reply : After cleaning their feet it may be possible to see a black scab like mark which would be the core of the bumblefoot. In a comment on this recent post http://www.keepingchickensnewsletter.com/april17/hen-with-swollen-feet.htm where the hens foot was swollen Melina pointed out that a chicken could have an infection inside the foot where we might not be able to see the opening because it is pinsized. Mild cases of bumblefoot can sometimes be resolved simply by cleaning the feet as you are doing. On my blog here : http://successwithpoultry.blogspot.co.uk/2009/09/bumblefoot-chicken.html there is a treatment which can be applied each day for a few days (but just cleaning and wrapping the foot as shown in the video on that page can also work in mild cases). There is a story from a subscriber of her experiences with removing more serious bumble foot here http://www.keepingchickensnewsletter.com/September12/keepingchickensv2_pg05.htm If it isn’t bumblefoot then your hen may have damaged her foot/leg in some way (landing heavily or walking on something sharp etc) or it could even be something like gout or arthritis.