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Giant (mud?) balls on ends of toes?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Greetings!

We have 6 hens and it seems that (starting with one) a few have their toes have caked with very large mud balls.  They are hard and dry.

Strange though.  We have had them a year and this is the first time I've ever seen anything like this.  It is "spreading" to the others now.  We had a recent rain and the coop has been muddy, but nothing at all unusual.

Could it be something else?  A cyst?  It covers the toe and talon.  I'll try to figure out how to post a photo.  But in the meantime, I thought I would soak the foot tonight (I can only handle them at night) and see if the ball softens enough to pull it off.

Can it injure her where it's attached to her foot?  Like take off scales along with the ball?  I'm really new to any home curing!  And being an urban chicken keeper, our vet is not so up on chicken health.

Thanks very much!  This is such a wonderful resource!

post #2 of 11

welcome-byc
It sounds similar to the balling that occurs on my quail, and sometimes chicks if their shavings aren't changed enough.  It's just an accumulation of dirt and poopies.  With the quail, I gently hold them so their feet are sticking out, and hold their feet under warm running water.  You can have them stand in a bowl/bucket of water, too.  After a little bit it will soften and you can pull it off.  smile

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

Last evening (after the girls went to roost) the hubby and I performed lovely pedicures on all the ladies to rid their toes of the gigantic mud/poop balls. 

In the dark of twilight, we crept out to the coop.  Well...more like stumbled, dragging a 5 gallon bucket full of warm water, a chair, a towel, a flashlight...and a steak knife (don't ask).   Then one-by-one, we plucked each hen (get it?  plucked?) off her happy place and plunged her feet into a bucket of warm water.  Brian held their wings down with the towel and I picked at the mud/poop balls with my trusty thumbnail--alas the steak knife was not really a very good idea. 

We expected the girls to protest loudly, as chickens are notorious for HATING water.  However, we were all pleasantly surprised to find that they seemed to rather enjoy the experience!  And why not?  To be awakened by a loved one and given a pedicure after you've gone to bed.  Does sound nice!

So now we are poop-ball free!  And the girls can now roam the garden, efficiently scratching for bugs and seeds as hens should.

post #4 of 11

smile  And kudos to hubby for helping... wink

post #5 of 11

Ok...I can hardly wait until mine need pedicures...I will have the camera ready when I ask my DH to go out there with me!    :o

I don't know if the mental institution will let me send pics from there though (cause that's where I'll be if I ask him to help!)  ya


~Rebecca

**NPIP Certified Flock**
See some of my feedback here...  http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=12638-customer-feedback
BBS Orpington Bantams, BBS Orpingtons LF
Reply
**NPIP Certified Flock**
See some of my feedback here...  http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=12638-customer-feedback
BBS Orpington Bantams, BBS Orpingtons LF
Reply
post #6 of 11

We just experienced this same problem (we are new at this).  The mud balls on the ends of the toes were becoming bigger after a heavy rain.  We were going to try treating them one at a time but then decided to try a different method.  We used the plastic tops to our seed tray kits (2), filled them with water and placed hay and cracked corn in them.  It wasn't long before their love of a treat overcame their aversion to water.  As they walked through the wet hay and dug for the corn, the balls of mud started to loosen up and get washed off. It has taken a few days but.... Waaalaaa....clean chicky feet.....now they don't sound like they're wearing high heels coming down their ramp.  Kathy

post #7 of 11

Hi, I have been dealing with this exact same thing. I have one girl with a large, marble sized, mudball stuck to her toe. 2 tiny mudballs stuck to 2 other toes. I put a new dust bath "recipe" in their run and this is the result. As well as too much garden produce and resultant loose...well, you know. I have tried oil. Didn't work. Tried soaking her toe in warm water...still stuck on hard as rock. I guess I'll try "cutting" into it? Each soak was a good 3-5 minutes. Am I being impatient? Thanks for sharing.

post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by dominiques View Post
 

Hi, I have been dealing with this exact same thing. I have one girl with a large, marble sized, mudball stuck to her toe. 2 tiny mudballs stuck to 2 other toes. I put a new dust bath "recipe" in their run and this is the result. As well as too much garden produce and resultant loose...well, you know. I have tried oil. Didn't work. Tried soaking her toe in warm water...still stuck on hard as rock. I guess I'll try "cutting" into it? Each soak was a good 3-5 minutes. Am I being impatient? Thanks for sharing.

Here is a similar thread with pictures:  http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/558082/hard-round-growths-on-chicks-feet            

 

 Other threads say that putting sand in the run may help this from happening.  You will probably need to soak much longer, and try warm epsom salts, or a good soap solution, for 20-30 minutes.

post #9 of 11

Thank you. I can see my soaks are not nearly long enough. I believe this to be due to a new dust bath "recipe" I put in the run a month ago. I've always just used sand and DE. This suggested garden soil and wood ash as well. Guess I won't be doing that again! Got a thermos of coffee, a radio, a chair for me, and hot water/gentle detergent for her for soaking. Will bring needle nose pliers as someone else mentioned in another thread, clean rags and just take my time with it. I'll let you know how it goes. Beautiful New England autumn day so at least it's not cold. Thank you!

post #10 of 11

It's about an hour and a half later and the results are....mudballs removed! Thank you! I did a good 10-15 minute hot water and gentle dish detergent soak. Then gently used needle nose pliers to remove. Large mudball came right off at this point. Smaller mudballs needed a little more "delayering". 

So here's what I did.... Got all my supplies ready including tea kettle full of hot water, Seventh Generation dish soap, tupperware deep enough for foot soak, table to put it all on, chair for me to sit in, needle nose pliers, large towel to wrap chicken in,  a hot cup of coffee and my iphone and little speakers with a podcast ready to go.

Then got podcast loaded and going, sip coffee, get and wrap girly in towel, gently lower toes in water....sit and soak....sit and soak....sit and soak, check,...tug with pliers and repeat until off it came. 

Thank you all!!! She looked very relieved. Attached are some photos

.The soak - 10-15 minutes per foot

 

Tools for the soak. Hot water in kettle to keep it  hot, gentle dish soap, tupperware for holding soaking water and soaking foot, needle nose pliers, iphone/speakers, cup of coffee (not in picture)... all on a coffee table.

Note: Iphone and iphone speakers up on some waterproof egg cartons to keep elevated off the table so they stay dry. You can see she got a bit feisty at times and spilled water.

 

Mudballs are off!!!!

Happy girls!  The hen on the lower right was the one who just got her mudballs removed. 

 

Thank you!!!!!!!!

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