Foot problem with little quail... please help!!


Sep 6, 2019
We have been keeping quail for just short of a year. They live on the ground with a board to prevent rats and “easy chick” bedding. Some time ago, early July we noticed one of the smallest quail (we only have 6) had a swollen foot. By mid-July we were worried enough, because she limps a lot, to separate her for 10 days and provide broad spectrum antibiotic cream to her foot. She is a very vocal little one and would sing everyday as well as lay us an egg almost every day too.

We had to reintroduce her by end of July as were going away and a neighbour was set to care for them. The swelling had not really changed at all. From reading online we were confident it was bumblefoot but werent sure.

Roll forward to today and she is now almost immobile, her foot is no more swollen than previously but she isn’t mobile and her attempts to move are more like throwing herself around the coop. Her eggs are very discoloured, they used to be normal with light flecks, the most recent one looks like a small potato!

The infection on her foot hasn’t progressed much (visually) in over 2 months now, there is no black spot, it’s very soft to touch and there is no evidence of hardening, the swollen foot is not hot to touch and we are beginning to wonder if it even is an infection as opposed to anything else.

We aren’t raising the birds for food, just their eggs and I’ll be frank in saying she is more of a pet than anything else. I will cull if I have to but I’m not interested in doing it because it’s the easy way out. We’ve read online about treatments for bumble foot but a) were not convinced she has it and b) the procedure does not look like anything I could do. Quail are super timid, very very small and these girls aren’t used to being handled, we leave them to it. I am confident if I had to cut anything she would struggle so much so we would likely die of shock and / or exhaustion.

Lots of photos attached for help. We are looking for advice on what to do and when to say goodbye and Godspeed to quail heaven!

Thanks for taking the time to read.


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12 Years
May 3, 2010
Elgin, TX
Doesn't really look like bumble foot because it doesn't look there is a hard spot on the bottom. I would try and injectable antibiotic and see it that takes care of it.


Sep 6, 2019
Thanks for replying. How can I get an injectable antibiotic? I’m in the UK so can’t buy much without a trip to the vet which will be VERY expensive


Sep 6, 2019
Sadly no. The antibiotic cream we had was actually from the US when we were there on a visit and my wife hurt her foot(!) because even that wouldn’t be legally sold here. The antibiotic applied was in effect neospoirin.

Can a vet trip be justified? It’ll probably cost about 20 times the amount paid for the quail - and that’s before treatment. It won’t be easy to transport her there without panic either.


Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Dec 11, 2009
Colorado Rockies
Check out this very good web site on chicken podiatry.

Some respiratory diseases can cause infections in legs and feet and also affect egg quality. They can be treated with an oral antibiotic. Injectible penicillin is good for treating this issue. Buy needle syringes from a people pharmacy rather than a feed store to obtain fine enough needles for a tiny quail. But the penicillin needs to be shook vigorously for several minutes to break up the solid particles in order to squirt it through a fine needle. Dosage is .10cc per pound so you may need to weigh your quail and break down that dosage accordingly.

Wyorp Rock

🐓 ❤ 🐛
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Sep 20, 2015
Southern N.C. Mountains
Since you are in the UK you have a very limited choice. If you can find Tricide Neo that may help with treating the swelling - this involves soaking the foot once a day, probably the least invasive treatment option, hopefully less stress too. You might be able to find it in a pet shop where they sell Koi, otherwise you may be able to purchase it online.

The scales are raised a bit too, I would rub a bit of oil into the legs to help soothe them.

As for the cause, it's very hard to know. Quail can suffer from Mycoplasma Syonviae which affects the legs and feet, but usually it's seen in both legs, but these pesky diseases don't always present with "classic symptoms".


Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Apr 3, 2011
southern Ohio
I have no experience with quail, but I wonder if she has broken or badly sprained her foot? If both ankles were swollen, I would suspect mycoplasma synovitis (MS,) an infection of the joints. Is her upper leg joint swollen? As already said, you should treat her for scaly leg mites, as evidenced by the raised scales. Asperin can be given for pain and inflammation 325 mg for 8 ounces/240 ml of water. I would also post on the quail forum here:


Sep 6, 2019
Thanks everyone for your advice and recommendations.

I will look into the scaly leg mite, I didn’t think her feet looked bad otherwise but I was comparing them to the others so they might be suffering too.

We wondered about the leg maybe having been broken in the past too...

Anyway I’ll call an end to all this as sadly the little one died overnight.

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