Swollen Foot

Common poultry diseases and conditions, advice on what they are and how to treat them.
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Swollen Foot

Postby Johnnz » Mon Apr 11, 2011 3:24 pm

Hi all,
Just had my chickens for a week or so now and already noticed on first day that one hen prefered standing on one foot and had a slight limp when walking. Now, a week later I have noticed her foot is quite swollen - see photos attached.
Anyone have an idea what this is and how to treat it, or is it likely to just come right by itself? It appears as though there may have been a puncture wound on the base of her foot.
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Re: Swollen Foot

Postby Luci » Mon Apr 11, 2011 7:33 pm

That looks suspiciously like bumblefoot, or, as you noted, a puncture wound. The swelling is the result of infection & should preferably be treated with an appropriate antibiotic to clear it up. It would be in the chook's best interest to have it seen to asap, because she is putting a lot of weight on that foot when she walks & it will be very painful. There is probably a lot of fluid &/or pus as a result of the infection. The foot will feel hotter to the touch than the other one. I noted that you have only owned this chook for a week. When purchasing chickens it is a good idea to look at the undersides of their feet. If the chicken shows signs of bumblefoot, do not buy that bird. The early stages of bumblefoot are easy to see. If it is not treated immediately, it will become a chronic problem & get even harder to treat as it develops. Make a little ring shape pad out of some spongey material like foam rubber & fix that to the underside of the food with the sore, swollen part positioned over the hole in the pad ( cut hole of to suit). Secure in place with stretch, self adhesive vet bandage to lessen the pressure on this area when the chook is walking. The vet can show you how to do this because the pad will need to be changed to keep the foot clean.
Check out the information on bumblefoot in General Chicken Keeping.
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Re: Swollen Foot

Postby CountryGirlNZ » Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:05 pm

Great post Luci. Yep definately bumblefoot, I would suggest giving her antibiotics or trying what others have suggested in past posts. I one time tried removing the scab and opening it up to clean it out.... (almost fainted when I thought how it must be feeling to the chook :lol: ) but didn't manage to sort the problem. Hopefully you can sort something out though! =)
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Re: Swollen Foot

Postby Luci » Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:35 pm

Thanks, Country Girl. I did forget to mention that one of the main causes of bumblefoot is the substrate the chooks are on - it can be what they walk on during the day ( smooth concrete or compacted clay ) &/or the perches they roost on at night. I have just fitted my new chicken coop with gnarled branches from one of the persian witch hazel trees from my garden for this reason. Smooth , uniform width perches are not good for chooks feet.
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Re: Swollen Foot

Postby Heir » Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:55 pm

Luci wrote: Smooth , uniform width perches are not good for chooks feet.


Great choice. I use thick strong branches in my coop too and I have never had issues, the girls love them.
Square perches are not good!
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Re: Swollen Foot

Postby Johnnz » Sun Apr 17, 2011 1:28 pm

Thankyou all for all the help and advice. I took the affected hen in to the vet 5 days ago now (as they wouldn't just sell me the medicine), and so she is 5 days in to a 10 day twice a day dose of antibiotics. The wound occured at her previous home - I've only had them for a couple weeks now, and our yard is a lot clearer than previous owner. Vet said the same thing about perches. I will remove the uniform 'rounded off' square perches and replace with branches of about same size diameter.
Swelling not gone done on her foot yet, but hope will do soon. Anyway, they are all out happily at moment poking around in the garden so seem quite content.
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Re: Swollen Foot

Postby Luci » Sun Apr 17, 2011 7:31 pm

The update sounds like good news!. Do not be too worried about the branches being about the same diameter along the length as the perches you are removing - variation in the diameter along the length of the branch is good exercise for the chooks feet. Just make sure the thinnest part will be strong enough to support the total weight of the chooks that will be sitting on it.
It would be a good idea to check the affected foot each day & clean the area if necessary to ensure that no dirt gets trapped in the healing wound to cause problems later on.
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