Help - chick with strangled toe

SoProlix

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 7, 2014
49
4
31
Olympic Peninsula, WA
Hello,

I am chagrined to say that yesterday I noticed a 5 week old BO chick with a serious poop/bedding blob on her foot. Brought her inside and pulled it off. Looks like it totally cut off circulation to the toe; it is black, immobile, very narrow where the mass was. Here's a picture of the toe after removing the mass (and before applying blue kote).



In the brooder (almost done building the hen house), she seemed unbothered by it. She was eating, drinking, taking treats, hopping on the mini roost. It was affecting her walk a little. I brought her in the house, tried to soften the mass with warm water, pulled it off. It did bleed a small amount. The photos aren't great, but the blood was present then. I coated the toe with blue kote, bandaged up the toe, and kept her inside until after dark.

She ate some peas (by far the chicks favorite treats), but didn't take water or yogurt and seemed kind of low. I spend at least 30 minutes twice a day with chicks, but they aren't intended to be pets, so they aren't used to being handled a lot. I decided to change the bedding and put her back with the others and observe for a while. She seemed understandably tired, but ate and drank and seemed more normal.

By morning she had pulled the bandage off, was eating, drinking, roosting, not being picked on as far as I could tell, but standing on one foot a lot. The bleeding has stopped, no other discharge. The healthy parts of her foot don't look discolored, but blue kote could obscure that.

Long story short, my not-a-pet chicken is not going to a vet. Is there anything more I can/should do? I thought about separating her longer, but she seems happier with the flock and they are not picking. Should I cut the toe off? How do I staunch the bleeding? Or should I just leave it unless it looks truly infected? Obviously I am checking each chick more carefully now, not just watching the group.
 

Eggcessive

Enabler
Premium member
9 Years
Apr 3, 2011
50,691
41,088
1,202
southern Ohio
That looks like frostbite which wouldn't happen in a brooder, but I would suspect it was somehow crushed. From the blackness, I think it may just fall off in a few weeks. For now, don't cut it off, but keep applying BluKote or iodine to dry it up and prevent infection.
 

MrHuhn

In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 3, 2013
12
0
22
Whitmore Lake, Michigan
My thought would be to lop it off a few mm above the blackened area with a sharp pair of wire cutters or dog/cat nail clippers, use styptic powder to stanch any bleeding. Bandage it to keep it clean. The skin should overgrow the bone. I am not aware that bone could fall off on its own, and this could lead to osteomyelitis and sepsis. This is called a guillotine amputation and doesn't require closing the skin over the open bone at the end. (this is advice from someone with people medicine skills, who hasn't done this to chicken before).
 

Eggcessive

Enabler
Premium member
9 Years
Apr 3, 2011
50,691
41,088
1,202
southern Ohio
My thought would be to lop it off a few mm above the blackened area with a sharp pair of wire cutters or dog/cat nail clippers, use styptic powder to stanch any bleeding. Bandage it to keep it clean. The skin should overgrow the bone. I am not aware that bone could fall off on its own, and this could lead to osteomyelitis and sepsis. This is called a guillotine amputation and doesn't require closing the skin over the open bone at the end. (this is advice from someone with people medicine skills, who hasn't done this to chicken before).
Actually in frostbite (which this isn't because she is in a brooder under a lamp) the black toes or even a whole foot will pretty much fall off after 4-6 weeks, and keeping iodine or BluKote on them helps to dry them out. I am in the medical field and this shocked me when I started reading about frostbite, but there are many threads here on BYC that say that is what happens. It may be due to the cold conditions that infection does not occur. If you would like to read some threads, just do a search at the top of this page for "frostbite in toes or feet." Here is one with a happy ending: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/842760/frost-bitten-feet
 

SoProlix

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 7, 2014
49
4
31
Olympic Peninsula, WA
Gimpy Toe (great name, right?) seems to be fully recovered. I continued to apply blu kote every day and the toe fell off around day three or four. That was a little over a week ago.

She didn't make it easy to get a shot of her toe. She must be camera shy! More likely the only times I've really picked her up were to mess with her toe. Poor thing.

Here she is running away from me:




It's her right foot's outside toe.

Confronting her fears:






Can just see her toe under her. She's as good a climber/percher as any of them.






Booty shot!







Thanks for your responses! Even if the first 2 were contradictory. :). The frostbite stuff was especially informative/consoling.


Sent from my iPhone
 
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