1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Examining a chicken's feet

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SusanD, Sep 30, 2015.

  1. SusanD

    SusanD Chillin' With My Peeps

    I noticed today when holding one of my chickens that her feet felt really dry, So, I think I need to check their feet over more carefully than I have been doing (meaning get a visual of what the bottom of their feet looks like). I'm too much of a novice to be comfortable with turning them completely over to examine them. Is turning them sideways (with their face up and their feet towards you) an acceptable technique? Thanks.
     
  2. Wishing4Wings

    Wishing4Wings Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    20,639
    2,961
    448
    May 7, 2012
    Sonoma County, CA
    Handling and turning them over will not hurt them. Better if they do not have a crop full of food, though.

    Their feet should be dry, but the scales should be smooth and flat. If the scales start sticking up giving the feet a really rough look, it could be scaly leg mites, which are easy to get rid of by smothering them. Rub on olive oil or vaseline.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    30,445
    3,332
    508
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    It takes some practice but I roll mine over on their backs on my thighs parallel to the ground to keep their heads above their crop and held together to form a bit of a trough.

    Hold their wings to their bodies with both hands so they can't struggle, then slowly roll them over onto their back, keeping those wings contained and not letting their feet gain purchase on anything.

    Once they realize they can't get away they usually calm a bit, talk softly and keep one hand on them while the other manipulates the feet for inspection. Easier with 2 people or sure.

    Hope that helps, it's unnerving at first, but you'll both get better at it with practice.
     
  4. SusanD

    SusanD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi,

    Thanks for the clarification. I thought I read somewhere that turning a chicken upside down would cause them to have trouble breathing. But if I'm understanding right, it sounds like it can be done as long as they're carefully supported and care is taken not to let food slip out of their crop (I assume that might be a choking issue). I may try it this weekend with one of my parents to help. Alternatively, I may just have them look at the bottom of the chicken's feet while I hold them upright.

    Wishing for Wings, I like the idea of putting vaseline on their feet. I do have one bird with possible scaly leg mites (the vet who told me she might have them wasn't sure). I was a little intimidated by the idea of putting oil on her feet, so haven't done so yet. As long as it won't do any harm and might help, I think I probably should. Assuming no cuts on the bottoms of their feet, this might be a good way to help keep them soft?

    Susan
     
  5. Wishing4Wings

    Wishing4Wings Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    20,639
    2,961
    448
    May 7, 2012
    Sonoma County, CA
    I don't think the feet should be too soft on the bottom. Mine walk on rocky ground and dig in tough oak leaves with sharp spines, and the bottoms of their feet are naturally tough. You shouldn't have to do anything special. The scaly leg mites will be more on the tops of the feet and toes and up the leg. I didn't put any Vaseline on the bottoms.


    Just for fun.
    [​IMG]
    Our little rooster would go in a trance when set on his back.
     
  6. SusanD

    SusanD Chillin' With My Peeps

    cute pic :) I will definitely try the vaseline on their legs. As far as the bottom of their feet is concerned, I think that changing up our run to something softer would probably have the most impact (we have wood chips and bark mulch it in now, and I am worried that won't be good for their feet long term). Is it normal for their feet to be flaky dry in places (like they have some dry skin flakes coming off)? If so, I won't worry about that (unless, of course,I do find a cut or a scrape [​IMG])
     
  7. Wishing4Wings

    Wishing4Wings Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    20,639
    2,961
    448
    May 7, 2012
    Sonoma County, CA
    Honest;y I haven't spent a lot of time examining their feet, just check the bottom if someone is limping to see if there is an injury. Dry patches I would expect, but if large areas are flaking off, you might have a problem. What kind of wood chips and bark are in the run? I imagine some trees could have oils or compounds that might irritate their feet. I have heard that cedar chips are not good in coops because they can cause respiratory problems.

    Chances are they are fine. If they are walking normally and not limping or holding their feet up, I wouldn't worry.
     
  8. SusanD

    SusanD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Bark mulch and pine chips I think (I did tell my Dad no cedar when he got the chips).

    Susan
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    30,445
    3,332
    508
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Try to get some pics of the feet if you see something that concerns you, no need to 'treat' something that isn't a problem.
    They can roam all over all kinds of surfaces without damage......
    .....but obvious sharp stuff like metal edges of fencing/mesh and splinters on roost/ramp wood should be taken care of.
     
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by