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Bumblefoot How To Treat Your Chickens With Surgery Graphic Pics

Bumblefoot surgery - with pics and "how to" Graphic but Informative Pics
  1. BYC Support
    Bumblefoot surgery - with pics and "how to" Graphic but Informative Pics - By Ruth

    Unfortunately, I have had to do my share of bumblefoot surgeries. I'm often replying on others' threads that seek help and advice so yesterday while performing yet another "procedure" I thought I would document and post pics and step-by-step info:

    Here's what the foot looked like from the top - notice the swelling:


    From the bottom:


    After cleaning the foot - notice the trademark, ever present, black scab:


    To operate on the foot, lay the hen on its side with its head and body covered and they don't normally fuss or move around:


    I begin by preparing a sink full of very warm, almost hot, very salty water. Epsom salts or plain old kitchen salt will work. I soak the foot for a few moments. I have a sink where I can keep her on her side and still put her foot in the water. If you don't have that, then just pick her up and hold her with her foot in the water. Soak for about five minutes while rubbing the pad.

    Then, using a sharp single-edge razor blade (or scalpel), cut away the black scab and pull it out. While cutting the scab off, cut down at a slight angle into the pad and go all the way around the outside edge of the black scab. There may be a plug of gunk attached to it. Pull the scab and any attached gunk out. Once the scab is removed, proceed with soaking again.

    Here's a pic while pulling back the scab - notice stuff attached to it:


    Here's the hole left behind - notice stuff down in the hole:


    Soak some more.

    Pulling out a plug:


    Keep soaking in the salt water and mashing/squeezing the foot while soaking.

    More "gunk" squeezes out of the hole. But please note, it is not liquid, it is a cheesy, rubbery substance and most of it will need to be dug out. Tweezers and sharp manicure scissors work well.


    I often work on a foot for close to an hour. Soaking for a few minutes, while squeezing, then digging around some more, then repeat. Don't worry about any bleeding - they won't bleed to death. I have them near the edge of the sink so I can keep their foot under running warm water so that I can see what I'm doing.

    When finished, you'll have a clean, deep hole. Pack the hole with Neosporin - you can also mix a little Terramycin with the Neosporin.

    Then, cut thin strips of vetwrap and wrap the foot going over the pad and between the toes. Unfortunately, company arrived and I didn't get to finish taking pics of the foot wrapped. But when I finish wrapping, I go around the ankle/leg. Don't wrap too tightly.

    I leave the wrap on for a few days, then take it off and check. Normally, they are healed but if not, I wrap once more for another few days.

    I've never given antibiotics and I've never had a reoccurence in the same bird.

    Hope this helps.


    8/30/09 Edited to add: I cleaned her foot today and changed the bandage so I took the opportunity to take pics of how I wrap the foot.

    First - I cut a piece of vetwrap into three or four thin strips. Then I wrap across the pad and between the toes and wrap around the ankle with one piece and then do the same with another piece but go between the other toes. This way, she can have full use of her foot for scratching and roosting but no dirt can get in or under the bandage. Again, be careful and not wrap too tightly. I don't really stretch it at all, just wrap.

    Cut strips:


    From Bottom:


    From Top:

    You can read more and discuss chicken bumblefoot surgery.

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    sandra Joyce likes this.


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  1. gracies 4 girls
    Excellent article and great pictures. I thank you for this great information since one of my hens has this bumble foot and I will do this procedure as soon as I can catch her....thanks again.
  2. YardBirdMom
    I've always vetted my horses and cows, which took years to master, because I was coached/taught by licensed vets.
    There are things I can do and things I know require a vet. I am grateful for articles like this that show me how I can take care of some situations by myself :) Thank you!
  3. ChookBook
    I have just performed this on our dear chooks Molly and Audrey. both have scaly mite and whilst soaking their feet in flea wash and dettol, we used cuticle scissors to ease of the muck around her toes from the mites, when we look underneath there was the tell tale black dot on her foot pad. After the soaking, the scab/ plug came out easily. Antiseptic applied and some medicream (has lignocaine to numb). Will check again in the morning. Chooks patience with me was wearing thing.
  4. Chicken Goddess
    My poor chickie has bumbles foot. But thank god that this shows me how to cure it, otherwise i would have to take her to the vet and pay thousands of dollars. thankyou to whoever wrote this. :)
  5. bokbokbacok
    Ok....I know that I posted about my hen...Peck Head way back in October but she has done well. She still limps but the area seems to have healed. Oddly enough...we are having a record melt today but yesterday I noticed two more limpers. I don't understand because I don't see any problems on the bottom of their feet!?!?
  6. 5th chick
    We have for chicks, and three of them have Bumble foot. Have done one foot on our Brown Leghorn. Removed the cheesey gunk from the bottom of foot, and a couple of weeks later, she got a large bump with a scab on the top of the same foot. The surgery we did on that looked "text book". Big black plug came out leaving a clean hole which we irrigated profusely. However the knot seems to still be there. Our Dominique has a large bump between her toes with no brown scab and all we get out of it is blood. She has a scab on the bottom of the other foot, which we will work on today. Our RR has scabs on both feet, but her pads are still soft and she is walking fine. Do we cut her anyway?
    the big question is what is causing all of this? We live in Arizona and part of our back yard has decomposed granite. They free range most of the time but we don't think that is affecting them. We had a very long, hot summer and the girls spent a lot of time standing in large saucers of ice water. Did that make their feet too soft, and susceptable to injury? These four chickens are costing more $$$ and taking more time than a dog. Help.
  7. bokbokbacok
    Okay...I JUST performed this on my hen, "peck head". Yes, she is at the bottom of the pecking order. I hope I got all the yuck out. I soaked, cleared the hole, then packed with neosporin. I covered it in a bandage and taped. I have her seperated into a larger cage for observation and so that the others don't bother her. I hope she will be ok.
  8. Thuebner
    OK, I can say I cannot do this surgery. I'm a light headed/blood baby. Cannot do it. I am sure one of my red sex link hens has this. I'm going to check the foot tomorrow. I guess I'm going to the vet...unless there's a chicken lover reading this that lives by me in Princeton MN!
    I just performed this surgery today. I want to thank you for the information. I have a beautiful little easter egger and she has two bumblefeet. One significantly worse then the other and as soon as i found this page i pulled her in the house and performed it immediately. The great news is she didn't flinch or show any sign of pain. It bled a lot and there was a lot of gunk in her foot but it cleaned out well and only took about half and hour. She limped around for the rest of the day and by the next day she was walking normal. I am excited about this and i appreciate the help.
  10. Judybyc
    I've soaked a hens foot for over a half hour in very warm /epson salt water (changing water often to keep very warm) and after a while, the entire glob will just come out in one piece. very gross. By soaking for a much longer initial time, it requires much less surgery because the edge around the 'lump' comes loose and it can be drawn out with less effort. The hen and I watch tv during the foot soaking :).
      sandra Joyce likes this.

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