Our beloved Gold Laced Wyandotte hen, Goldie, was limping around the other day. My wife picked her up, and I immediately noticed Goldie's right foot was very swollen. It was a clear sign of bumblefoot. Our flock is only a bit over a year old, and we haven't ran into many health problems. We certainly had not experienced bumblefoot before, but I knew what it was thanks to my frequent browsing on BYC. What we didn't know was how to treat the infection and what treatment would be most effective. So I hit the articles and forums here on BYC seeking information. We also made a phone call to my mother-in-law since she's had chickens for about 4 years now and has over 20 hens in her free range flock.

The options I came up with were:
- send Goldie to freezer camp
- soak the infected foot in an epsom salt solution
- treat with topical antibiotics/antiseptics and bandage
- surgically remove the infection and then treat with topical antibiotics/antiseptics and bandage

I knew that bumblefoot was typically treatable, so I chose to keep Goldie out of freezer camp. The foot was obviously very sore, clearly causing Goldie a lot of pain. I knew I had to do whatever necessary to alleviate her pain and symptoms quickly as possible. Just soaking the foot or just applying topical medication and bandage seemed like slow approaches. Comparing this to the infection I once had thanks to an ingrown toenail, I knew that every step Goldie was taking was causing pain and that surgical removal followed by antiobiotics/antiseptics and bandage would provide the fastest relief and a relatively fast healing process. I decided I would take real action and remove the infection surgically.

After watching a few videos online of the procedure, I realized that the common surgical methods involved a biopsy punch or scalpel. I don't have a biopsy punch laying around so that option was out. I have a scalpel, but the scalpel method seemed to involve a good amount of cutting and the removal of quite a bit of tissue from the foot. I decided I would develop my own method using what information I had about the infection, the anatomy of the chicken's foot, and safe medical practice on chickens.

I soaked Goldie's foot in warm water to soften the skin and clean her foot. Once cleaned, I could identify the tell-tale scab. I wrapped Goldie in a towel to cover her head and secure her wings, leaving her infected foot exposed. Holding her securely with one arm, I used my free hand to operate.


My surgical tool of choice was a sharp pair of sterilized tweezers. I carefully removed the scab with the tweezers, exposing a sack under the skin that contained the core of the infection along with some puss. I was able to remove part of the core right away with the tweezers, but the rest was deeper in the foot I knew. I didn't want to cut around it and leave gaping crater in Goldie's foot. Instead I just used my fingers to push on the sides of the infected area and work the puss and core to the surface like popping a giant pimple very gently. This did require me to apply pressure, but I made sure to apply just enough to bring the infection to the surface without causing the skin to burst (like a pimple would). As puss came out I rinsed with warm water. Working right over the bathroom sink made this easy. Within a few minutes I was able to remove three pieces of the core. They were rock hard and rigid. The largest was about pea-sized. No wonder she was in so much pain. Once the core was removed I was able to removed the sack tissue, a thin membrane that contained the infection. There was very little blood at all.


Throughout this process Goldie only flinched a few times. Overall she remained very calm as I operated. Keeping the towel snug and firmly holding her helped keep her relaxed I think - like a thunder jacket for a dog.

After the infection was removed, I rinsed and dried her foot. I then applied equate triple antibiotic as a medication to help with the healing process to keep the wound from getting infected again. I covered the pad of her foot with sterile gauze and taped it in place. I made sure to secure the bandage by wrapping between the toes, over and around the foot and just up the leg. This way Goldie couldn't easily remove the bandage.

Goldie spent the night in our bath tub. The next day I put her in the coop/run. Two days after surgery, I changed the bandage. The wound was healing great and much of the swelling had gone down. Goldie was also walking around much better. She's on the road to a healthy recovery!