Coturnix quail foot growths, but not bumblefoot?


Jun 10, 2022
Had a really hard time getting this to focus, so you'll have to believe me. Coturnix quail, large ground pen (15 birds, 80 sq feet) hens around 10 weeks old. Pen has hardware cloth buried to deter weasels, but other than the edges where it connects to the HC walls, it's under about 4 inches of dirt.

We had a younger hen get bumblefoot and took care of her inside and one other looks like she may also have an early case, so we're going to look for potential causes (I suspect an older piece of wood may be the culprit) but this looks like something else.
Most of the quail have fine feet, a little bit of feces and dirt clodded up from time to time, but there are four who all have notable dark growths that they aren't particularly worried about - should I be? The walk fine, we just found them on a random inspection of toes. These clods are scale/skin as far as I can tell, minor dirt but mostly that's bird, and they present like corn smut growing off the toes. Two have some on their the pads, one making a little 1/4 inch flat shelf to stand on, but mostly it's toe growth. On Tiny here, her left middle toe is a little split beneath the claw in the middle of one of these growths with dirt trapped between - snot sure if a symptom of the growth, the cause, or unrelated, but it's the only one like that. Epsom salt baths and minor scrubbing can clean them off, but they remain big dark growths. Again, this doesn't look like the bumblefoot we've seen twice before, with a distinct black scab over a swollen node. These are just dark tumescence coming off the side of otherwise healthy looking feet. If I were to remove them, I can guarantee some hearty bleeding.

We've had these girls about 5 weeks now, and they all came from the same guy, literally Farmer John, who raises quail for sale in wire tower setups. Looked like he took excellent care of them in there, and we got these at 5 weeks old. I don't recall inspecting their feet when we first got them, as these were the first time we'd ever bought grown birds rather than eggs.


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Followup, another 2 hours soaking and some careful exploration revealed small wounds at each site, some bleeding slightly just from the long soak. We also observed one of the males pecking at the feet of hens who had healthy toes, so we may just have a jerk who's putting the others at risk of infection with his love/hate of toes.

Boys are getting bachelor pads to give the girls a rest soon anyway, so we'll see if that reduces the problems or if there's another source of injury on the pen.
We kept her isolated and this eventually resolved on its own. I never did figure out what it was.

We DID keep getting bumblefoot problems though and found that there was a tiny stub of broken drill bit in one piece of wood in their enclosure. They all liked to walk on this wood. Removed that and have had no foot issues either way since.

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