Foot exams - a necessity!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by azygous, Feb 18, 2014.

  1. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    And I always thought I was a pretty great chicken mama!

    Yesterday, after too many below freezing days have prevented much needed butt washing, I got the tubs out and began going down the roster. Much crust and clots of poop had built up, and I'm sure each hen weighed a little less after her "tune-up". I always examine and wash, if needed, the feathered feet. These chickens also seem to be prone to getting pebbles and poop caught in dimples in their foot pads. But this was the first time I'd decided to check the clean-legged ones.

    When I looked at the foot pad of my four-year old SLW Alice, I was horrified to find a one centimeter sized pebble lodged in a dimple I never knew she had. When I popped it out, it left a cavernous hole even deeper than what appeared on the surface. I have no doubt she would have eventually gone lame. It looked like the pebble had been in there a long time already. She had given no indication that she had anything wrong with her feet, either. Usually, they'll hold the foot up or peck at it. The run is sand, so that may account for this.

    I'll be doing regular foot exams on the entire fleet from now on. Just wanted to pass this on in case it hasn't occurred to some of you to do regular foot inspections.
     
  2. RMo2

    RMo2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Glad you caught this now so she can heal up! :)
     
  3. aldarita

    aldarita Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ever since I lost my favorite hen to bumblefoot I have been performing foot inspections on my flock every month. I also have sand on the run and coop and they pretty much free range all day long. I have found small pebbles in some "folds" of their feet that I remove during the inspection, I can understand how easily these pebbles can get inserted in the skin and cause a serious problem with time.
    So yeah, I agree with you, monthly inspections are a most.
     
  4. chicksurreal

    chicksurreal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am right there with you!

    just last night I randomly picked up one of our pullets and decided to look at her feet. Long story short, she had a 1 inch cactus needle embedded all the way in her foot that had built a callous over it with a hard little black scab, when I finally pulled it out a little gush of puss and blood came out too. We got it out and doctored her foot, but I felt so bad because I know it was in there for a while to have built up a callous like that. She wasn't limping or anything either.

    Foot exams regularly around here from now on!
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2014
  5. lularat

    lularat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I do look at their feet, but not always the bottoms. Will be doing more thorough foot checks...starting tomorrow.
     
  6. chicksurreal

    chicksurreal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I check the tops of their feet all the time too, that's the easy part! Lol!

    I am with them for several hours each day and look at them closely, but I don't always pick them up and really check them out well, they don't like to be held unless it's on their terms. [​IMG]

    They are going to have to get used to it, though, I felt so bad about my poor girl having that cactus in her foot.
     
  7. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Most of my flock adore being handled, but there are a few who would rather not. I've found a universally easy way to accommodate all personalities when I need to look at their feet.

    I find a central spot, get down on my knees (I have one of those foam gardening knee pads 'cause it kills my knees to kneel on the ground, even sand), and I wait for them to come to me. Most of them see the foam pad, and are conditioned to crowd in for group hugs. Then I take them one at a time, walk her forward so her head is in my crotch, which they all find curiously comforting for some reason, and it's easy to pick up one foot at a time and do what I need to do to it. If they decide to get squirrelly, they are easy to keep under control in this position. I have a Chinese chop stick that I find handy to dig out stones and mud and poop.

    For the stand-offish ones, I first herd them into a small enclosure where they can't run away from me. Then I crawl forward toward them and grab them. From there, I use the previously described routine to examine their feet. One or two are so adverse to being handled, a meal worm is a sure-fire way to get their cooperation. They cannot resist a wiggly worm and will come to me every single time as if I was their very best friend.
     
  8. aldarita

    aldarita Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know what you mean, every time I do my foot inspection you would have thought I was going to "water board" them, they all pile up in the corner of their roosting board (I do my inspections when they go to roost). I keep on hoping that they will eventually get used to it, but it seems like every time is the first time I have done it and they don't know what is going on,[​IMG]CHICKENS !!!!!!
     
  9. Alicatt

    Alicatt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Glad you mentioned poopy butt. One f my hens has it, tried to clean it, was easier to trim. You use dish pans and hold chickens in water? Like a baby bath? Wipe with a washcloth? Still too cold here for that. But never thought of bathing a chicken. I am glad to know this is commonplace because the orp is one of my best layers and thought it could be an indication of poor health. And thanks, I will be on a mission to catch them all now, to check out the feet. Impressed by those who can kneel in their coops, even if I cleaned mine ten minutes ago, I would hesitate to crawl in it.!!!
     
  10. aldarita

    aldarita Chillin' With My Peeps

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    For whatever reason, sometimes some of my pullets or hens get a poopy butt, there is one in particular that seems to have that problem, I do not know what causes it, I give them ACV in their water and their feed has pro and prebiotics, so who knows what causes this problem. I pour some warm water and baby liquid soap in a medium size pan, then place the pullet feet in the edge of the pan (the pan handles are wide so she can comfortably perch) and hold her with my arm, then I wash her butt with the soapy water, you have to work out for a while dissolving the hard poop on the feathers, I change the water twice and continue working until "all poop is gone". You don't have to get the chicken a whole bath, this way just her butt gets wet. I dry the excess water with a towel and turn her loose in the yard (of course in warm days).
    BTW you can make an inspection on feet, wings and vent at that time.
     

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