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3 week old Chick with swollen knee and possible bumblefoot?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by SeptemberQuail, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. SeptemberQuail

    SeptemberQuail Songster

    Oct 10, 2012
    My three week old coturnix quail chick (Snow) has been the weaker one of her hatchmates. She's also pretty much half the size of a chick who's only a day older than her, and about two thirds the size of a chick a day younger than her.
    She hatched out healthy but walked funny when she was younger. She walked on her hocks (she's pretty much recovered from that state, now she can walk 'properly') for the first week or two of her lives. We tried to support her and fix her from that but it really didn't help that much because she wouldn't stay still. Now she pretty much runs and walks properly, but she can't stand without wobbling forwards and backwards, plus her legs are in a 'V' shape. I'm treating it like spraddle legs and will add a bandaid to bring her legs together...

    She's a generally healthy chick, she drinks well, eats well, runs, sleeps and every time I bring my hand out with treats (egg, sprouts, etc.) she's always greedily eating it.

    But when I was handling her, I saw something weird on her foot when she was fidgeting;
    It looks kinda like bumblefoot but I heard chick's can't have bumblefoot so...

    Is it just a regular wound? And how is she the only one to have it?
    (I had to clean the poop around those weird circley things)



    Plus her knee's are swollen with similar circley wounds.


    Any ideas on what it is? And if so, any ways of treating, helping, or assisting her?

    If she's okay, then great! I'd rather her be healthy than be sick. Because she's my favourite chick; I'm always paranoid when something strange happens to her.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2012

  2. birdonerous

    birdonerous In the Brooder

    Dec 8, 2012
    NW Kansas, USA
    My guess would be bumblefoot. I hope Snow recovers :)
  3. tadpole98

    tadpole98 Songster

    Mar 20, 2012
    I agree with birdonerous, looks like bumble foot.
  4. tadpole98

    tadpole98 Songster

    Mar 20, 2012
    You caught it early enough at least.
    Heres how to treat it (it will take awhile so get ready for dedication if you are willing)
    What you will need:
    • Warm water
    • Shallow bowl
    • epsom salt
    • vet wrap
    • betadine
    • neosporin

    How to treat steps:
    1. Put a tablespoon os epsom salt in the bowl. Then fill it with warm water.
    2. Soak her feet in salt water for ten minutes, then remove and dry.
    3. Place a drop of betadine on wounds then cover with neosporin.
    4. Once neosporin is on, wrap small strips of vet wrap around foot. Make sure you dont wrap too tight, but just tight enough to keep it on.
    5. repeat 1-3 times a day until it falls out. after it comes out, soak feet once a day for another week then leave alone.

    Sometimes this does not work, and it comes back. The sure way to get it out is surgery (but if you arent very fond of the idea of surgery like me, then stick to the above):
    1 person likes this.
  5. SeptemberQuail

    SeptemberQuail Songster

    Oct 10, 2012
    If it is bumblefoot... Surgery is not an option for me. I'm too young (doing a dissection of the heart for an assignment even creeps me out) and I doubt my parents are willing to do so. Besides, she's too small and very fidgety if held belly-up or side ways.

    Are there any substitutes for vet wrap and betadine? And is neosporin necessary? I love Snow but my parents aren't really that happy to spend money on medications that we're only likely to use once or twice, even if it is inexpensive. I can go look for epsom salt, hopefully they sell it in small packs.

    Also, do you think there was any causes for this to happen? The brooder is covered with newspaper, but daily I take them all outside and place them in the soil for them to dust bathe in, then take them back in. The other chicks show no signs, only her. Her spraddle leg is getting worse now. Everytime she walks, one leg slinks back. We put the bandaid on but she always trips... She's an unlucky chick...

    And another thing, any ideas on what caused the swollen knees?
    Thanks for the replies.
  6. Epsom salts should come in a smallish bag or box and is something that is quite useful to have on hand for humans as well as animals. Given this poor baby's history, it doesn't look good. The swollen knee is a bit more worriesome to me than even the foot. Try giving her leg a good soak in the epsom salts and warm water everyday and see what happens. As far as antiseptic/antibiotics to put on the wounds, what else do you have at home already? As she is small and had a rough start in life, it may be that her immune system is weak and just can't fight off what ever started this. This is likely a sign that something else is not right with this little bird. The soaking may give her some relief, she will probably enjoy it. Prepare yourself to make some pretty hard decisions that may be coming up if this problem keeps on and doesn't clear up for her sake. Best of luck to you.
  7. cowcreekgeek

    cowcreekgeek Songster

    Sep 14, 2012
    Hurricane, WV
    !st thing you gotta do, if you're gonna keep birds/animals, is get beyond that squeamish nature ... you learn to do what needs done, which is a small price to pay for all the pleasure they give. If I seem to be unusually harsh, it's because you're makin' me mad by sayin' you're "... too young ..." or the bird is "... too fidgety ..." when I can come up w/ much better reasons as to why you can do anything that you choose to do.

    tadpole98's response was most nearly perfect, save for neglecting to mention that you should never us antibiotic or first aid ointments that contain local anesthetics, as even the smallest amounts of some of them can be fatal to poultry. And, these other good folks are provin' my point as well: There's many people in the world that will help you to succeed, provided that you're willing to risk failure -- in other words? You have to do your part: You have to be willing to challenge yourself to overcome your own fears, and the other difficulties that life throws your way.

    Do not learn to rely upon excuses for not making the required effort, as they only interfere w/ your own abilities to do what needs done. Case in point: See the following thread, in which someone most probably younger than you handle the wounds from a hawk's failed effort to eat her chicken. Or, better yet, review this thread, in which what turned out to be a young woman performed repeated surgeries upon the torn flesh and subsequent infections, with better success than many vets would likely have had ... they didn't believe so much in themselves either, when first the emergencies occured, but they've plenty of faith to spare now that they've developed their skills, and (more importantly) the confidence in their capacity to do what needs done.

    OK, ok ... I'll shut up, and get on to your bird, but ... for you to get that first part through your head is of far greater importance than every bird on BYC.

    That's almost certainly bumblefoot, which is almost exclusively the result of infection by the bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus. Bad germs (and, the good ones, too) are just about everywhere, but they can become highly concentrated, and then be spread to other surfaces w/in their environment, and to others w/in your flock ... and to you, and then to other surfaces w/in your environment, and to others in you family, etc. That's true, in both directions, and w/ virii as well. That's where best practices and biosecurity comes in ... starting w/ Snow's feet, even if only superficially, and scrubbing up before and after handling your flock, or the equipment they use. And, you're gonna have to clean everything up really well, especially in their common areas -- wouldn't be a bad idea to isolate Snow from the others, but in a way that they can still see 'n hear one another, 'til this clears up.

    Ultimately, you're also gonna have to disinfect handles, light swithes, faucets inside 'n out, the phones and keyboards -- everything. Don't mix chemicals w/ one another, or wet rags 'n such w/ electricity.

    Now, for a bit more harsh truth: The individual bird is both fragile and temporary in nature, so as to help the flocks they form be as resilient and adaptive as possible. Most folks that have just a few birds, and keep them as pets, don't adhere to 'best practices' when it comes to flock management, or they'd most often run out of birds pretty quick ... being small/weak leads to sickness, which leads to greater vulnerabilities, which creates excellent opportunities for introducing more sickness, which is why 'best practices' would suggest culling this one as the very first step, for the better good of the others, most esp. since the infection may have entered her joints, which is called staphylococcosis, and one possible explanation for the joint swelling.
    Other possible causes for joint swelling in the legs are infectious synovitis, paratyphoid, pullorum, zinc deficiency, and tenosynovitis arthritis.

    The alternative is, of course, to attempt to treat Snow, which I would personally encourage you to do ... culling isn't ever pleasant, and esp. unpleasant, when it's one we've grown so attached to. Remember that we (meaning mankind) are about the only ones that suffers pain so severely, as most don't have systems that much like our own ... here's the introduction to an excellent presentation on the anatomy of the chicken (close enough, for now ~'-)

    Most young folks get sick of bein' treated like kids, but offended when somebody treats 'em too much like the adults they think they are ... I'd rather break my own arm than my word, and I promise you now that offending you isn't my intention. At all. And, most parents tend to forget that their own children ain't the little babies they still see in their hearts/minds when they're talkin' to 'em. But, rather than argue, it'd be best to try 'n teach 'em how much and well you've grown, by showin' how well you handle your responsibilities ... makin' a fine example of your own flock is a fine way to do that, too. And, maybe they'll see it as the very important tool of learning/growing that it can be (then, they might not sweat the costs so much ~'-)
    WildflowerIndependence and Suzie like this.

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