Bumblefoot Prevention Help

Aunt Angus

Crossing the Road
Jul 16, 2018
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Nevada County, CA
Hi.

I have 9 chickens and 4 ducks living mostly harmoniously in a 64 sq ft coop, 200+ sq ft covered dog kennel-type run with an adjacent 600 sq ft yard. The coop has pine shavings over a painted plywood floor. There is an 8 ft poop board they walk on sometimes that has PDZ and is scooped at least once daily. The run is deep bedding of pine shavings over bare dirt. The yard is grass and dirt. Ok, imma be honest - thanks to the ducks it's mostly dirt now.

I just did my big spring cleaning in May where I removed all of the bedding material and cleaned everything. I replaced the pine with all new stuff. All roosts, floors, play things, nest boxes were scrubbed and disinfected. The yard is free of most anything that would be problematic, I'd think. There may be small rocks or pine needles that fall through. I don't know if those are the culprits.

Bryony (2 yo Welsummer) has had chronic bumblefoot for months. She is now on antibiotics to finally see if we can cure it. She's the waaay bottom of the pecking order, and the vet says that sometimes those birds have more problems because they get chased.

Today, I noticed one of my ducks limping. So I grabbed her up, and she had a superficial wound on her foot that was bleeding - like she maybe scraped it walking on the pavers around the pond. I brought her in, cleaned it up, and bandaged it with antibiotic ointment and all the usual accoutrement. I looked at her other foot, and there was a dark area on the pad. It wasn't a scab, but when I tried to wash it off, it started bleeding, too! Ugh! So now little Figgy (4 mo Runner) has two bandaged feet. I also noticed a cut on one of her toes that wasn't deep enough to bleed and wasn't infected. It almost looked like a crack in the skin.

I check the chicken's feet regularly, but the ducks less often; they aren't as easy to handle as the chickens. But that changes as of tonight! I will check the whole flock's feet and vents tonight!

I promise you I keep their areas clean. The wood is all sanded and painted (except for the branches the chickens roost on in the run). The bedding is added to or completely changed out pretty regularly. The pond is emptied, scrubbed, and refilled every other day.

What else should I be doing? What am I missing? Should I switch to sand? Help? I don't want my birds' feeties to be hurt or infected!
 

Quatie

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
Oct 16, 2020
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I can't help with the chickens, since I don't have any. But I have read perches too high can cause problems, especially with bigger breeds.

It sounds like your pavers are one issue for the ducks. Any sharp rocks can hurt their feet. I sometimes worry about my ducks stepping on a sharp stick. They don't think about it and will put their web on a stick putting pointing up 🙄. So far none of mine have been damaged by sticks. I had bumble foot in some of my flock from some sharp pieces of metal that came from somewhere.

Someone else will have better insight, but I use straw bedding. I love the shavings for ducklings, but I think the straw is softer.

@Isaac 0 is one of the experts on bumblefoot and lots of other duck illnesses.

@Miss Lydia and @casportpony can provide some other insights
 

Miss Lydia

~Gift of God ~ Eternal Life ~John 3:16
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Oct 3, 2009
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Mountains of Western N.C.
First year I had my Faverolles they had bumblefoot continually nothing any different than with my other chickens and ducks and geese but these girls had to of had the tenderest feet ever. I'd get them cleared up then it would start again. Last year just a couple had bumble.They are now 3 yrs old and finally this year just one had it. We live in the mountains so very rocky here and so far since 2004 only one duck with it and never neither goose and only a couple other chickens.
Soaking in warm Epsom salt water like your doing plus getting the infection out, wrapping and keeping their feet clean and dry until healed. From my own experience evidently some are just more prone to this than others.
Sounds like your doing all you can to keeping it from happening. I even took my one duck to a vet because her bumble didn't look anything like the ones I treated in the chickens with a scab I could pull off and get the infection out, the vet said it was my husbandry I said okay we live in the mountains I pick up rocks all the time and they just make more.:rolleyes:
 

addctd2plnts

Songster
Aug 24, 2019
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St. Charles County, MO
As a human podiatrist, I wonder if some of the problem doesn't happen because they are not as active during the winter, and increase their activity level too quickly. Maybe it doesn't give the skin time to adapt? Or maybe they are meant to be in water, more than weight bearing? I wonder if they were kept in chicken tractors and moved to fresh grass daily, if they'd still get it? I guess I'll find out because that's what I'm doing with my Runners. I let them swim for an hour or two, then they are on grass.
 

ChickNanny13

Crossing the Road
8 Years
Jun 23, 2013
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The Big Island/Hawaii
You're doing everything right and it's frustrating to still have to deal with BF. I've had my share of them, what I've learned ....
1. Height of their roost, higher the harder the landing
2. Heavier breeds, more issues
3. Sometime hereditary

I do a modified DLM, daily go thru their CH to look for even the tiniest pebble they may have dug up. Have been using this set up since 2016, I'm not finding as many turned up rocks and hoping I won't have to deal with BF this year. I usually raise for a year then sell as "starters" so I don' have to deal with "what to do when no longer laying".

I've never had to do 'surgery' on any, have been told to leave it alone ... There has been instances where the scab just plucks off, only to happen again. I've since lowered my roosts and keeping to a 'lighter' breed this year, experimenting.
 

Aunt Angus

Crossing the Road
Jul 16, 2018
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Nevada County, CA
Thanks, everyone. What everyone is saying makes tons of sense, and I appreciate it.

I could try straw or sand in the coop and run. The chicken yard is too large, though. There was grass, but the ducks and our drought have taken care of that, unfortunately. I can trade out the pavers for something else, no prob. We live in the foothills, so also very rocky. Not much I can do about that.

I read on the Poultry DVM site that i might try Tuf Foot, which is made to toughen up feet. Lots of waxes in it. I figure I'll give it a try on the two who seem prone.

Is it possible there is a nutritional angle? Like a deficiency? They get Scratch & Peck grower and layer pellets. I ferment some and feed it to them 3x a week. They do get other things, too. They forage in the yard for several hours a day and eat bugs and worms and grass and things. I gave them melon the other day, and they usually get worms 1x or 2x a week (mainly when I need to get them into the run to lock them up if I'm going somewhere in the evening and won't be back in time to see them to bed).
 

Aunt Angus

Crossing the Road
Jul 16, 2018
6,664
17,135
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Nevada County, CA
Just checked the whole flock. Everyone else's feet look great, so it's just these 2.

I am on day 5 of antibiotics for my chicken, and there isn't much improvement. 5 more days, and she'll be going back to the vet. Not sure what to do next....
 

Miss Lydia

~Gift of God ~ Eternal Life ~John 3:16
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Oct 3, 2009
119,349
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That's good everyone else's feet look good. A big relief. I really think some are just more prone Especially seeing all my flock of 32 walks and run on the same half acre and only a few have had bumble. I'll have to check out Tuf foot never heard of it.
 

Miss Lydia

~Gift of God ~ Eternal Life ~John 3:16
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Oct 3, 2009
119,349
143,459
1,982
Mountains of Western N.C.
As a human podiatrist, I wonder if some of the problem doesn't happen because they are not as active during the winter, and increase their activity level too quickly. Maybe it doesn't give the skin time to adapt? Or maybe they are meant to be in water, more than weight bearing? I wonder if they were kept in chicken tractors and moved to fresh grass daily, if they'd still get it? I guess I'll find out because that's what I'm doing with my Runners. I let them swim for an hour or two, then they are on grass.
Let us know with yours. That's another problem we have no grass the chickens took care of that and our soil is so shallow we can't get any to grow for long anyway.
 

Aunt Angus

Crossing the Road
Jul 16, 2018
6,664
17,135
832
Nevada County, CA
Let us know with yours. That's another problem we have no grass the chickens took care of that and our soil is so shallow we can't get any to grow for long anyway.
Our ducks took care of ours. Maybe we should trade (just kidding, of course).

It was lush and green just a few short months ago. Hubby will set it to rights, but wants to wait until the worst of the summer heat has passed. The water company imposed mandatory restrictions. Our property is the only one to be on town water because of our proximity to the main road. The other 2 houses have wellwater, but they're conserving, too, because prices have skyrocketed and because we are all keenly aware of fire danger out here.

I was def relieved it is only the 2. I will still probably try straw. It's slicker, but I have a ton of it because we use it for the goat house. See if that helps. And Tuf Foot is on it's way (yay, Amazon).

It was kinda pricey, tbh, but there are other products out there. They're mainly for dogs' pads, but I figure it can't hurt to try. I'll probably just try it on these two. Maybe I'll write a BYC article on it.
 

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