A really gross foot problem that I fixed, now a question.

Oxford, NS(Zone 5b)

So this morning I'm chilling out with my light brahmas who are trying to grow back their feathers on their backs and upper wings (shoulders?). I had the first one on my lap - she settles right down. I was checking her feathers for mites or anything else - just doing the overall "review" of her condition. I thought that I had noticed her limping the other day, just a bit, and so I took an opportunity to look at her feet. I noticed these huge lumps, in the webbing part, that were on the top of her feet. I wondered to myself, what the heck disease is that? I had read about bumblefoot but I knew it was not that. I felt the lumps and they were really yard. It sort of looked like she had extra toes pointing straight up. So, I gently looked under her foot, and saw this brown stuff - hard and dry, between the toes, poking out a small hole. I picked at it a little and realized it was compacted dirt and/or fecal matter, etc. Then I realized, the whole lump was a huge compacted ball of this stuff. I got out the vaseline, worked it around her foot, especially around the small hole underneath, and began to gently press on top of her foot where the lump was. After quite a bit of gentle pressing and working at the lump, this "thing" popped out the hole. It was about the size of a medium grape. It was hard as a rock, very smooth, and just this accretion of dirt and poo and crud. It was completely disgusting and smelled bad. She had another one on the other foot. I could not even break them open - they were that hard. Must have been there forever.

Anyway, I began checking the feet of the other birds I got from that situation (these are the ones that were sort of neglected) and found a whole bunch more of these foot "rocks" embedded in the webbing. The webbing sort of expanded to make a "pouch" to accommodate the crud. Some were bigger "crud balls" than others. The biggest was about 3/4 inch ball shape. So now a bunch of my chickens have this huge pouch of loose skin on their feet from where the thing was.

Any ideas on how I can help them? I put sulfur salve on it (from rooster booster) and there is no blood or anything. It was just really gross. I don't want the pouch to re-collect stuff and end up with the same problem.

I didn't take pictures. It was too gross.
Claire

Belchertown, MA

OMG - how weird.....the crud balls just popped out of their feet when you pushed on them? Did it bleed? Strange......hope they heal up ok.....

Oxford, NS(Zone 5b)

Yes, absolutely weird. Kinda turned my stomach a bit. Had to push on them gently and kind of 'work them out' because they were tight in there. Made the girls squawk a bit as I pushed them out but I can only imagine they are much more comfortable now.

No bleeding, thank goodness. There was some kind of stickyness to the surface that had been inside the foot webbing - not exactly pus - maybe just water that gets in there and lubricates the surface between the crud ball and the skin.

Tomorrow I will try to take a pic of the skin between the webs.

Torrington, Canada

I just found the same sort of thing on one of my silkie chickens..soaked her feet for a bit to soften them and then scrubbed as gently as I could but unlike your situation, could get NONE of it off..or out... or whatever...I;ve never seen this before.

Oxford, NS(Zone 5b)

Hmmm...I wonder if it is the same thing or something else? I didn't do any scrubbing, but if I had, it would not have worked, because that stuff was like a rock and definitely not water-soluble. I don't think scrubbing would have done anything to it.

When the chicken was standing on the foot, the foot had a big lump that is taller than the toes, sort of stuck between the toes. It looked like a growth on top of the foot until I realized what it was. When you look under your silkie's foot, can you see the end of a sort of brown hard rock-looking thing? Can you touch the end of it? If you can soak the foot and press down on it from the top, it should pop out with a bit of work.

If you can take a pic, I can tell you if mine looked the same.

But do look at the symptoms of bumble foot to be sure it's not that....

Torrington, Canada

Oh GEEZ!!! BUMBLEFOOT???? Yesterday I had normal chickens (well ok...I'm sure whatever it is didn;t grow in one night but...I had no idea they could GROW things like that on their feet) and now there is something else that might be ......bumblefoot???? I'm afraid to ask...what is bumblefoot? And this thing whatever it is, looks just as you described I thought it was some sort of rocks or pebbles that had gotten stuck to her foot.

On a GREAT note....I just discovered three silkie chicks hidden in the wings of a broody hen tonight...she has been zoned out for a couple of weeks but these are actually silkie chicks with the little feather tufts on the feet already showing...every other broody silkie has hatched Ameracauna chicks..I have an Americauna rooster that will NOT stay in his pen with HIS ladies

Vancouver, WA(Zone 8a)

Yuck Claire,
I'm so sorry to hear of your troubles, but so glad those girls have you to care for them. I would not have thought to look that close at the bottom of my girls' feet... I'm totally invading their privacy tomorrow! ;)

Gao, Mali

Clean with Iodine. Soak in Epsom Salts. Everyday till healed.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
CF

Oxford, NS(Zone 5b)

Well, here is some info on bumblefoot (which your chickens may or may not have, but I raise it just to be sure that you can check for symptoms and be sure).

Symptoms: lameness, reluctance to walk, inflamed foot, hot, hard or swollen, or pus-filled abscess or dark black scab on bottom of foot. (could yours be the scab?)

Caused by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, which could enter foot through any number of small cuts, splinters from roosts, etc.

Here is a picture: (note this is not my own pic and is copyright to Flo Tseng)

Also note mine didn't look like this - mine was a lump on the TOP of the foot because the crud ball had pushed up between the toes.

Thumbnail by DrDoolotz
Williamsburg, MI(Zone 4b)

It definately doe not sound like bumble foot. There would be swelling of the toes. I think I'd be inclined to do a mild iodine dip for their feet once or so a day. ( put it in a low pan outside their coop entrance in the morning and they will walk right through it.)

Oxford, NS(Zone 5b)

Here are some foot pics. Sorry if they are icky.

This is the foot on the bottom. Note the absence of black scabs, etc.



Thumbnail by DrDoolotz
Oxford, NS(Zone 5b)

This is the foot on the top. See between the toes that there is this pink pouchy area that is slightly raised looking. This is where the crud ball was inside, and it was stretched around the crud ball.

Thumbnail by DrDoolotz
Oxford, NS(Zone 5b)

This is the hole under the foot where the crud ball came out of.

Thumbnail by DrDoolotz
Oxford, NS(Zone 5b)

This is the hole being stretched wider. The crud ball was massive...seriously!

Does this look like bumblefoot to anybody?

Thumbnail by DrDoolotz
Oxford, NS(Zone 5b)

I'm so confused. All the descriptions I read about the bumblefoot thing suggest an actual infection in the foot, but this was just a crud ball wedged in the foot in the webbing. But I'm so inexperienced I really have no clue. Any thoughts appreciated!
Claire

Lodi, United States

It doesn't really sound like bumblefoot--more like poor conditions and neglect.

mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

i've been following this very interesting thread since it started. i don't have chickens anymore but i just have to say how wonderful that you were able to find these things and more importantly, get them out. it reminds me of interdigital cysts that my dog had his whole life. i had to clean them out from time to time, much like you did.

i think it would be really neat if you could send your pics to a vet college for a positive id and on what to do for prevention of future problems.

yes, it was gross, but far more educational than gross. thanks, debi

Oxford, NS(Zone 5b)

Thanks Debi - I hope it is not bumblefoot. I must say that since I acquired these chickens, I have learned quite a bit about how neglected they were. First there are the two with no back feathers. Second some had mites. Third, once I started getting up close and personal with them, I found the foot lumps, and now one of them is sick with some kind of nasal/eye problem.

I got 14 hens from that farm and they are in my coop now, and I get an average of 2 eggs a day. Clearly they are not all laying and I don't know if that's because they are old, sick, unhappy, neglected, or what. I am hoping over time more of them will start to lay. If not, I might make a separate coop for these non-layers without nest boxes and use the current coop for my actual laying hens. I am happy for them to live on my "farm" but would rather have the layers using the coop with nest boxes.

Tempe, AZ(Zone 9a)

Regardless of whether it is actually bumblefoot or not, I would treat it as if it were. Skin is, to some extent, pourous, and you don't want infection to fill up that pouch and infect the foot.

Clean thoroughly with regular strength hydrogen peroxide once. From then on use betadine or similar to clean. Soaking in epsom salts as Chicken_Fairy suggested is a good idea.

Hens who have been overly "loved" by a rooster can loose many or most of their back feathers.

If one is ill, you should treat them all.

Suze

Clarkson, KY

Make a thick paste by mixing as much black pepper powder as neosporin will hold and smear this into the opening after you have done the epsom and iodine. The neosporin will prevent other gunk from getting in and the black pepper is a very mild stimulant which will encourage healing from the inside.

Oxford, NS(Zone 5b)

Thank you Suze and Grownut! I will be following these procedures this evening. I have to get back into the pen and catch the ones who had the crud balls and do these procedures. Wish me luck with that!!!

Clarkson, KY

Just doctored my poor roo who had started limping -3/4" long nail straight into his foot. How on earth he did it I will never know. Washed with HP several times and squeezed to see if anything would come out -nuttin. He found some old dormant trash somewhere. The people before us had a trash pile which we have cleaned and cleaned, but on an old farm you know there's always something dropped somewhere. DH pulled the thing out with pliers and now what to do. No convenient hole to pack with Neosporin and Black Pepper (sov'run). He's already moving better but uggh...

Oxford, NS(Zone 5b)

Oh the poor sweet roo, how on earth did he do that. Ouchy! So glad you found it and did the doctoring. Has he had a tetanus shot?? (LOL, I don't think chickens get tetanus, but I know that's what I'd be thinking if it were me!)

Clarkson, KY

My thought exactly. Don't know anything to do for him and can't get it from the vet unless I do know.

Oxford, NS(Zone 5b)

Sounds like the treatment you're giving is the best thing.

I can find nothing online to suggest that chickens can get tetanus.

Clarkson, KY

truly hope not. It shouldn't be a problem where he roams in any case. still.

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

tea tree oil. also called mellaleuca. a few drops in GOOD water in a small pan, soak his foot in it.

Clarkson, KY

Hmmmm. For how long?

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

LOL, as long as you can get him to stand in it! which wo't be long enough...

Clarkson, KY

He eats out of my hand but does NOT want to be handled. DH and I did the towel over the head thing yesterday but he was tipped sideways. Need something like and IV drip attached to the outside of his leg...drip teatree/water into a gauze rooster boot...

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

hmmm, maybe if you choke the snot out of him he will pass out long enough to soak it LOL

you could hold him upside down long enough to just drip a few drops directly onto the affected area on his foot. not joking...

Lodi, United States

She needs....a Chicken Ring!

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

hurry, while supplies last...

Clarkson, KY

He's getting better daily. Where're the supplies?!

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

good. rings for sale down under see missjesters thread...

Clarkson, KY

Watch it TF!! The Chicken Fairy's liable to bring me your pretty blue and splash JG's for even suggesting that!!

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

?

whadido?

sold my splash roo. thought i ihad a splash hen, but she seems to be lavendar.

you may have a blue roo, meet me in MO... i hear the Chicken Fairy is making special deliveries there...

Clarkson, KY

Oooooo.

Check up on that ring thread. I think it ended up being a choke-chain round the neck product (or maybe that was a different ring?)

Tempe, AZ(Zone 9a)

Tee tree oil is very toxic to birds. The hydrogen peroxide/betadine/epsoms salts/neosporin are safer choices.
Suze

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

oh, i had no idea! thank you!
tf

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