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 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 : 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 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.


  1. marcy monte August 13, 2017 at 3:30 am

    Whhooo Weee one of best things I have done for a big rooster that had Bumble foot!!!! I soaked his foot twice a day in ebsom salts, pretty warm he loved it. Then dried well and took a piece of gauze with a drop of Tea Tree Oil Straight on it. then placed it on the black dot under foot and wrapped with vet wrap. I sort of cut a cool bandage that allowed his toes (whatever those claws are called) out and he healed will in maybe two weeks. It might have been shorter but I was glad to not have to open the sore!!!

  2. Joan Collins August 13, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    When we were in the 4-H clubs USA “Campho-Phenique Topical” is the ointment we used on bumble foot on rabbits and chickens and ducks and it always worked. You can buy it in the drug store.

  3. Thomas Nottingham August 13, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    I was fearful of attacking the bumble foot with a craft knife as described in many self help videos, but discovered that soaking the affected foot in a strong solution of epsom salts softened it enough for it to be squeezed out like a spot. Tucking the hen’s head under my arm seemed to calm her while this process was carried out and she showed no signs of distress. I sprayed the area with salon and purple spray before placing a gause over the foot and finishing the dressing with vetwrap. The hen seems more concerned by the dressing than the rest of the procedure. She pecked at the dressing all day and we had to re-dress the “wound” every day but after a week she was fine.

Leave A Comment