math ace

10 Years
Dec 17, 2009
Jacksonville, FL
a bunch of old hens had bumblefoot (they've been butchered now) how can i prevent this and will it effect them?
Bumblefoot is the result of something being pushed into the chickens foot pad. Usually, it is the result of the roost being too high. I have had my birds get bumblefoot when they went free ranging through the blackberry patch...THORNS in the pads of their feet. My lightier birds (leghorns) that like to FLY out of the fenced in free range areas of the yard have gotten bumblefoot too.

Bumblefoot is not categious. It is the result to an injury in the bottom of the foot where bacteria has been shoved into the foot. Instead of acting like a pimple, the bacteria pushes deeped into the foot until it reaches the bloodstream. You can cure bumblefoot realtively easily if you catch it early enough. At the first sign of a bird limping, look at the bottom of the foot for the telltale scab indicating bumble foot.

I tend not to operate right away. I wait a few days and look at the foot again. If the area is not more inflamed or red or swollen then it was when I first noticed it, I wait a few more days. I just keep an eye on it. Sometimes, the bumblefoot will act like a pimple and it will resolve itself. HOWEVER, if after a few days, the foot looks worse, then I isolate the bird and do the surgery.

I have had great results with the few bumblefoot surgeries I have had to do...


7 Years
Oct 12, 2012
Waterloo, Ontario
My Coop
My Coop
and how would you do the surgery?...

math ace

10 Years
Dec 17, 2009
Jacksonville, FL
I will breifly describe the process, but you will want to do a search on BYC for a detailed description...

First, assemble everything you are going to need -
GLOVES ( bumblefoot is a staph infection and contagious once you cut it open)
Epsom salt
A conatiner to soak the bird's foot in - I use a plastic shoe box from the dollar store
Triple antibiotic - without pain killer
Duct tape
razor knife or the like

FIRST step - Soak the birds foot in warm water with epsom salt in it. The bird will relax and either go to sleep or poop. So make sure the birds butt is off the edge of the tub of water and that you are using a towel... Soak for 20 to 30 minutes. REASON: Cleans and softens the tissues.

Second step - STERLIZE instruments Use the iodine to sterilize the cutting instruments, tweezers and birds foot.

Third step - WRAP the bird up in a towel like a burrito. Leave the injured foot sticking out. REASON: This stops the bird from flapping and moving around while you operate.

Fourth step - Put your gloves on and cut the scab. You kind of cut around the outside edge of it. When done correctly, it will pop out like a cork. You may use the tweezers to remove it. SQUEEZE.... It is going to work like a pimple and puss , a core of puss, should come out. You may have to dig deeper to get it. If you don't get it the first time, then you will end up going through the whole process again in a week or so when the foot doesn't heal right.

THIS STEP is where your need to do a few searches and get all the details. I am sure some one has posted instructions with pics....

FIFTH step - bandaging the foot. Pack the open wound with triple antibiotic and cover with gauze. Then use strips of duct tape to adhere the gauze to the foot. I separate my hens from the flock for a few days so that the foot has a chance to scab up BEFORE they are exposed to filth. I put them in a clean dog carrier and change the bed linens every day... CLEAN, keep that foot clean as possible. If you use duct tape on the foot, it will help SEAL the foot from poop that bird steps in...


Hi Everyone!
7 Years
Feb 5, 2012
Port Townsend, Washington
Before I perform surgery, I use an inexpensive potato poultice to try to draw out the infection. It works pretty often, and has prevented many surgeries.

Here is a copy of the how to I've offered to others:

If you want to be 100% natural, I suggest a potato poultice. Simply cut a potato in half, and use a dull knife to scrape up potentate mash (kind of like mashed potatoes but with raw pot ate) to about a tablespoon size qty. Clean the wound, place the potato OVER THE WOUND NOT into the wound; That is very important. Place an absorbent bandage (Cotton balls or pads) gently but firmly over the wound. wrap it well, so it won't move around. Put your bird in isolated cage. In 12 hours, removed bandage, rinse with sterile water (boiled and cooled w/plate over it). IF you have them, sterilize a syringe (no needle) w/the water. Boil gently for 10 minutes - cool. Use the syringe to spray the water into the wound, if it is still open. Poultice again.

On most animals, when the irritant is gone the whole will close quickly. Don't reopen it. Usually the irritant is found in mucus, blood, and pus from the wound. Use a toothpick to examine the blackened poultice for irritant. I would do this every 12 hours for 2 days (4 treatments). If irritant is found before then, discontinue. Just lightly use neosporin cream (not ointment, it hold in bacteria) over the closed wound after final treatment. See if she has improved in 24 hours after last treatment.

The swelling should go down, and the wound will close, most of the time. Please fill free to PM me if the need arises. I'll check back for updates tomorrow.

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