Gnarly Foot Wound (graphic photo)


In the Brooder
Apr 27, 2020
A couple days ago, I noticed one of my hens pecking at a very swollen toe. I brought her inside and checked for signs of bumble foot. I did not find a scab, but the toe was really inflamed. I soaked her foot in Epsom salts, applied wound spray and Neosporin and wrapped her foot up.

Yesterday, the skin on her toe had turned black, and there was pus underneath, so I cut away the dead skin, flushed out the wound and reapplied wound spray and Neosporin. I’ve also been dissolving aspirin in her water for pain management.

Today, her toe looks like this. I’m concerned that the swelling is not going down, and it feels hot and firm to the touch. Should I keep flushing it out and dressing it, or does she need to be seen by a vet? I want to make sure I’ve done everything I can, but I don’t know what else I should do.


7 Years
Sep 26, 2015
Portland OR
Eew, that is a nasty bit of nastiness. You've done just about everything I would recommend - I have to wonder if maybe she had an accident that broke the bone with sharp edges inside leading to an infection that's led to this hunk of yuckiness. Hm. I'm usually a fan of lancing anything that shouldn't be there to see what's underneath all that swelling. If it's warmer than the surrounding flesh, its likely infected. If you have the means to take her to a vet and can find one to help her, you could at least get an x-ray to find the root cause, and maybe get it removed with some form of anesthesia as it is in an important spot. You could certainly keep up the wound tending approach and see how it goes - but again, if you can get her seen by a vet, that might be best.


Feb 18, 2021
San Martin, Peru
It looks like some kind of fowl pox that maybe she has pecked at and opened it up. My chickens that get fowl pox get it on their foot in that location often. But I have never seen a chicken so large get affected like that, only my little ones.

So to me it seems like a superficial wound in a location that is not dangerous or painful. It's not like it's on her face near her eyes or sinuses. I would stop aspirin only because the long term effects are unknown.

Something like coconut oil is a natural antibiotic, although neosporin may be just better. It's not even a wound that would worry me. I would keep the antibiotic ointment at night and monitor if it spreads somewhere else. Problem with pox on the foot is they can scratch and spread it to their face. So hopefully it's not spreading or something contagious.


Jun 25, 2021
It’s difficult for humans to feel wound heat on chickens because their baseline is hotter than ours, (it’ll always feel hot..) a scanning thermometer is better than our senses. Bumblefoot..that’s interesting. In retrospect the large, almost static swelling should have been a clue, but, who wants to explore a wound like that at home..not me..!


Aug 19, 2020
Kitsap, WA
One of my girls had a swelling like that in about the same place. No telltale scab. I lanced it and removed bumble from it, which was deep and had also permeated deeper down into her pad. After about month, there came a scab that hadn't fallen off, so after soaking her foot, I pulled on the scab and out came another big bumble. Last I checked the swelling was gone and it seems healing nicely.. those things can be persistent.

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