Bumblefoot in Chickens

This article will tell you what Bumblefoot is, what causes it, how to treat it, and how to prevent it.
By Shadowfire · Dec 3, 2018 ·
  1. Shadowfire
    What is Bumblefoot?
    Bumblefoot is an bacterial infection that occurs on the feet of chickens, geese, turkeys, and other poultry. It enters via cuts or scratches on the foot and forms a pussy, waxy plug in the chicken's foot. Dirty or wet conditions can contribute to Bumblefoot, when dirty straw is pushed onto the exposed area
    What are the dangers of Bumblefoot?
    Bumblefoot can be very dangerous. If not treated, it can cause permanent lameness and it's very painful for the affected bird. It can also be transmitted to humans is the plug is handled without proper equipment.
    How do I know if my chicken has Bumblefoot?
    Usually, signs of Bumblefoot infections include raised bumps on the tops of the chicken's feet. You will also be able to see a dark brown plug on the bottom, partially enclosed in tissue, in the later stages. The chicken may also refuse to put weight on one leg or begin limping due to the pain.

    View attachment 1606150 Credit: KITTYCOOKS.com
    View attachment 1606158 Credit: Backyardchickencoops.com

    How do I treat Bumblefoot?
    You can choose to have a veterinarian do it, or you can remove the plug yourself. There will be a very foul odor, pus, and some blood, so this task isn't for the faint of heart. You will need more than thirty to complete the whole operation. You will need these materials:

    • Two people- one to hold the chicken and one to perform the procedure. Very experienced people may be able to hold the bird themselves, but if this is your first time get somebody to help you.
    • A pair of tweezers
    • A sharp scalpel
    • Disinfectant such as rubbing alcohol
    • Vaseline/petroleum jelly
    • Bandages or wraps
    • Clean towel(s)
    • Non-stick gauze
    • Vetericyn antimicrobial
    • Epsom salts for soaking
    • Heat-resistant plastic or metal tub
    Disinfect all the tools with rubbing alcohol. Then, fill the tub with a couple gallons of warm water, and then add the salts. Make sure that the water's not too high and that only the feet and some of the legs are in the water. Soaking helps to soften the skin so that the plug can be removed easier. Wash off any large debris from the foot. Try to do this in the heat of the day, so the chicken can dry off before night-time.
    Once you have soaked the chicken for about fifteen minutes, wrap it in a clean towel. Make sure to cover the wings so they don't flap in your face, and leave the feet sticking out. Disinfect the foot and get off any remaining debris. Use the scalpel to cut inwards, in a cone-like shape. Then use the tweezers to pull out the plug. Apply the Vetericyn to the area, then cover with some non-stick gauze and a bandage. You may need to use duct tape to hold it in place; just don't get it stuck on the chicken's foot.
    Bumblefoot wrap.jpg Credit: KITTYCOOKS.com A properly wrapped foot.

    How can I prevent my chickens form getting Bumblefoot?
    Make sure to change your chicken's bedding often, and keep their environment clean and dry. Also, check for Bumblefoot often to make sure that your flock stays healthy.

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    About Author

    I live in Wendell, NC, with a backyard flock of five chickens and 329 indoor pets.

Recent User Reviews

  1. ronott1
    "Good Article"
    3/5, 3 out of 5, reviewed Jan 14, 2019
    Good article on treating bumble foot.

    The images need to be fixed as they are not view able in the article.
  2. Anonymous
    "Easy read."
    3/5, 3 out of 5, reviewed Jan 3, 2019
    Easy read article but more pics & detail would be very helpful.


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