Anyone know what causes this? Impacted Pockets in chickens toe webbing

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by fifibreen, Feb 4, 2015.

  1. fifibreen

    fifibreen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I need help since I cannot find any information on what this is. I can only find info on bumblefoot, and I feel this is not a case of bumblefoot.

    I have noticed particularly on my 3 year old barred rock hen that the webbing between their some of their toes was enlarged. I thought maybe they had been injured and it was swelling. One closer examination it appears that pockets holding impacted dirt and manure have formed in the toe webbing. By gently pushing I can remove the "mud balls" from the pockets in their toe webbing, but it quickly becomes impacted again. Other then regularly removing the "mud balls" I'm not sure what to do. I have now noticed my other barred rock hen is beginning to develop the same issue. I am watching all my chickens to see if this continues to develop on any other hens.

    Is this a condition and what is it called?
    Why, what causes it?
    Will it cause lameness or infection?
    How do I cure it?

    So far the chickens are all eating, drinking, pooping, laying, walking normally. They don't show any discomfort or awareness of the issue.

    Picture from top. Notice the bulge between the two toes.
    [​IMG]

    You can see the "mud balls" in-between her toes
    [​IMG]

    Here is a close up of the pockets in the toe webbing containing impacted mud and manure...
    [​IMG]


    By gently pushing I can turn the toe web pocket inside out, and push out the hard "mud balls"
    [​IMG]

    The "mud balls" come out rather easily.....
    [​IMG]


    You can see the "mud ball" as it is removed from the toe web "pocket" they are pretty hard.
    [​IMG]

    You can see the void that is left behind after the "mud ball" is removed. This void or pocket seems to fill back up with hard mud and manure pretty quickly. I try to empty the pockets several times a week.
    [​IMG]

    The bulge is less pronounced after the material was removed. the skin is still loose and fills back up.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    Your chicken has one weird foot! Or is it 2 weird feet? I'm wondering what would happen if you did a minor surgery on her... clipping the web spacing to eliminate the pocket effect. In no way, am I suggesting that you take a jack knife to your gal's feet, I'm just wondering out loud if that would fix it. There would be the risk of infection to consider. You might consult a vet IF you wanted to put the expense into the project.
     
  3. DaveOmak

    DaveOmak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You might try soaking the foot in Epsom salts to soften the tissue.... then apply a disinfecting cream or AB ointment and wrap in no-stick gauze and finally vet wrap.... maybe that will get the tissue to shrink and close up the pocket....

    I'm not experienced with your situation.... Just apply some stuff from bumblefoot care...
     
  4. fifibreen

    fifibreen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The hen pictured has this issue on one foot. My other barred rock hen has developed this issue on both feet. Other chicken I own have not issue. I two wondered if a vet could relieve the pocket with a punch, or by cutting it. The vet would probably be costly, doing it myself could be a option. Infection is a big concern and how I would quarantine and keep the wound clean to heal first. I'm not opposed to vets, it just nearly impossible in my neck of the woods to find a chicken vet. There are two vets that will treat chickens. Only one one of those will allow a office visit with a live chicken, the other will only consult. The vet whom is kind enough to allow the chicken in the office does not seem very experienced with chickens although they see birds.

    Before going to extreme measures such as cutting the pocket, I wanted to learn more about the issue in general. Maybe if there was a cause I could eliminate that first. I don't even know fully what to call this issue to better research it.

    I'm stumped![​IMG]
     
  5. fifibreen

    fifibreen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Getting the pocket to shrink is one possible thought. I do apply a spritz of vetericyn if there is any redness when I clean the pockets. I am afraid this issue could eventually start a infection. Will ointment actually help it shrink? I guess I associate ointment with softening tissue as described, but would it need to dry out to shrink?
     
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    It's a physical abnormality. Not bumble foot. Yes, it looks like it could be prone to infection, and the long term solution would be surgical correction (I have no medical experience in the area of treating chicken feet. For that, you'd need your local friendly chicken podiatrist!) IMO or should I say, IM very limited O, you hare handling it correctly by removing the mud balls, and treating any irritation that you find. Are you the chicken owner who sends her spent hens to the crock pot? Or do you keep them as forever pets? Do you breed your birds? You definitely don't want them playing in the gene pool. Interesting that you've had an other one develop the same problem. If she's eventually destined for the crock pot, you may feel comfortable cutting the web by yourself. Again, I'm not offering advice regarding that option. You might want to move this post to the disease section. Now, let's look at this issue from an other angle. What is their coop/run situation? Are they in a run that has been stripped of vegetation, so they are on bare soil? If so, your solution could be as simple as putting a good layer of mulch over their run. Keep her out of the mud, and she won't have mud balls. I wish you the best.
     
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  7. DaveOmak

    DaveOmak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like the skin flap is a genetic thing...

    Also, thinking aloud, cutting the web between the toes, packing with blood stop, vetericyn and AB ointment, wrapping wouldn't cause the bird any serious problems down the road....
    I'm sure, in the wild, birds have experienced a lot worse than that.....
     
  8. fifibreen

    fifibreen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    "Are you the chicken owner who sends her spent hens to the crock pot? Or do you keep them as forever pets? "

    We are a bit of both. Some chickens like the one pictured are just beloved, and e plan on keeping her through old age. Others I have we are not afraid to eat, and have. Some just have those special personalities and spark.

    "Do you breed your birds?"
    No, nor do we plan to. My barred rocks were from cackle hatchery.

    "If she's eventually destined for the crock pot, you may feel comfortable cutting the web by yourself."
    We plan on keeping this one she is too special being a spoiled brat and a crowing hen. I am not opposed to cutting the web myself. (we have had to do a few minor surgeries before) I just was hoping to get a better understanding of the issue before going to that measure.
    [​IMG]


    " What is their coop/run situation?"
    [​IMG]
    10x18' covered run, coop 5x6' Currently houses 11 chickens all hens

    " Are they in a run that has been stripped of vegetation, so they are on bare soil?"
    [​IMG]
    The run is covered so the ground stays rather dry. We use sand as our primary litter and spot clean with kitty litter scoops. We change it out completely once a year. There is not vegetation in the run. Our yard is rather muddy this time of year but when things green up its reasonable. It is unavoidable that they step in their own poo. The sand could be sticking in the manure. We keep pine shavings in their coop and nest boxes.

    One thought is a different litter? But as long as there are chickens stepping in manure, I figure those "web pockets" in her feet could fill up. Could it just be a age thing? They did not have the problem when they were a little younger.
     
  9. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    I honestly don't know. I've never seen it before, nor do I do foot inspections unless I think there may be a problem... I may have a few of my own birds with the same problem, and not know it!!
     
  10. fifibreen

    fifibreen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Its possible. I'm not sure when it started on the first chicken, but once I became aware of it I checked all the others. It was not until recently that the barred rock I have pictured developed a web pocket in one foot as well. That is when I became more concerned over the issue. Both of these barred rocks came from cackle hatchery so hopefully it is isolated be genetics. If there is another cause, my other chickens could develop the issue as well which is more the concern.
     

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