How to help a chicken in quarantine rejoin flock

TxChickenGeek

In the Brooder
Nov 24, 2020
31
47
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Hello.
This is my first post on Backyard Chickens. I am hoping someone has some advice for me.
I have a chicken being treated for bumblefoot. She has to be separated from the rest of the flock to keep her on a different bedding to try to keep the wound cleaner as it heals. I have her in a small pen in the larger run during the day and in a dog cage in the coop at night. I was trying to keep her with/part of the flock as much as possible.
I have seen some picking at her through the bars of the fence/crate. She doesn't try to stay out of reach and fights back, and she has some injuries to her comb now; they are healing ok.
I let her out in the yard to roam with the flock some when I gave them all yard time out of the run, and the rest of the birds were picking at her, especially the one who rules the roost. She tends to try to keep her distance, but if they get too close, they chase her.
We are about to have some rainy days, so I can't leave her in the small pen because it isn't covered. I have had to set her space up in the garage. I plan to keep letting her sleep in the coop with the others in her small cage.
Does anyone have any advice for getting the rest of the flock to reaccept her more smoothly, especially now that I have to have her really out of sight in the garage for the next few wet days? I know there is a pecking order and they are chickens being chickens, but after all this time trying to get her healthy, I don't want them hurting her more.
Thank you for any advice you may be able to offer.
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
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Glad you joined us. You'll get lots of ideas on how to reintegrate your hen. My advice is do it gradually, letting conflicts take place and resolve as they usually do, intervening only if it goes on longer than a minute or so and looks like someone is going to get hurt.

However, bumblefoot isn't usually an issue that requires separation from the flock. I treat the foot, put on the ointment, then a non stick gauze pad and bandage with Vetrap and that keeps any dirt from getting to the wound. I usually check the wound every other day and rebandage, and I've never had a problem. Chickens are always better off if you can keep them with their flock.
 

TxChickenGeek

In the Brooder
Nov 24, 2020
31
47
49
Thank you. I was surprised my vet didn't say to wrap the foot. I would think it would be cleaner in the long run than being on shredded paper bedding. (All that bedding is adding up too. $$$ ;-)

How do you keep them from picking off the Vetrap? And where do you get Vetrap?
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
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Get Vetrap at the feed store where the horse supplies are shelved. Vetrap sticks to itself if you rub your fingers back and forth on it to make it stick. I wrap in around all the toes, back and forth across the foot and then end it at the back of the shank. Their beak can't reach back there.
 

TxChickenGeek

In the Brooder
Nov 24, 2020
31
47
49
Thanks :)
Sorry for all the follow up questions...
so the toes stick out?
Do I trim it to like inch-wide strips?

Thank you again.
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
22,072
30,462
1,102
Colorado Rockies
Your thread is a conversation and we can go on for weeks, even months. I have an old thread that has 735 comment windows filled and 76,000 views. There are threads on BYC even longer and they've been active for years. Ah, immortality. So, have fun with your threads. This is a very fun place, even though we do discuss life and death matters.

I cut the Vetrap into 16 inch long pieces and then cut those into four strips one inch wide. I save the cardboard rolls or even toilet paper rolls and roll the cut strips for future convenience. That size is much easier to mold to the foot. After you wrap the foot, it will resemble a glove with no fingers. It even comes in colors so you can find one to compliment your chicken's color.
 

TxChickenGeek

In the Brooder
Nov 24, 2020
31
47
49
Wow! Those are some long threads. :)

This is my first flock, so I am looking forward to getting advice from more experienced chicken keepers. My husband laughs I have chickens at all...I am a city girl, but we moved to a rural area. It is a fun adventure. I read a lot of books, and he built me a great coop. My girls have been doing great until the bumblefoot issue.

So one 16in strip will be good to wrap the foot with a non-stick gauze pad on the wound? Just regular gauze pads from like Walmart? They don't need to be special vet ones, as opposed to people ones?

Will the other chickens target her due to the wrap? (They are already giving her a hard time.) Should I avoid certain colors of wrap...like red?
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
Jul 3, 2016
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This is the vetwrap I typically use: https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/product/well-and-good-flexible-bandage-for-dog-3-w-2991872?cm_mmc=PSH-_-GGL-_-SPP-_-PME-_-PET-_-AQU-_-0-_-PM_GGL_FY20_SBU04_PrivateLabel-Well&Good_PLA-SMRT-_-0-_-0&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI1tDm6L6c7QIVdAytBh0ligUMEAQYASABEgIEovD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds - I cut it to about 12-14" long, then cut each strip horizontally into fifths, so you end up with 12" x 1/2" strips. For me that's plenty to cover up a typical bumblefoot wound.

So one 16in strip will be good to wrap the foot with a non-stick gauze pad on the wound? Just regular gauze pads from like Walmart? They don't need to be special vet ones, as opposed to people ones?

Will the other chickens target her due to the wrap? (They are already giving her a hard time.) Should I avoid certain colors of wrap...like red?

I don't even use a gauze pad, I just make sure the injury area is well covered by the time I'm done wrapping it. Don't wrap too tightly, but it does need to be snug enough to stay on. As long as it stays clean and is pressed firmly all around onto itself to make it stick, it'll stick on through scratching, roosting, etc.

I would avoid red since it naturally attracts them, otherwise I've done green, white and purple without issue.
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
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Through experimentation, I found the one-inch wide strips sixteen inches long are just right to get the foot adequately wrapped. Any shorter and it may leave a gap somewhere that dirt can find its way through.

Chickens are most curious about red things, so I avoid that color, but I use all the others.

It's always a good idea to try to track down how this chicken hurt her foot to have it turn into an infection. Long ago, I discovered four out of five young Welsummer pullets had bumblefoot. It didn't take me long to figure out they were all getting sore feet from dismounting a perch that was too high onto a floor without adequate bedding to cushion their dismount. I fixed that and their bumblefoot all healed and has never returned in their eight years since.
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
Jul 3, 2016
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WA, Pac NW
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As far as the integration issue, you did it right by housing the chicken in line of sight of the rest of the flock. I've not had issue simply letting out the chicken once it's recovered enough. Yes there'll be a little pecking but it should reintegrate without too much problem as long as they've seen her most of the time. Having multiple feeders available as well as maybe a bit of clutter to allow her to hide if needed may help.

I've also never separated a chicken for bumblefoot. I just do my treatment, wrap it up, and let them rejoin the others. The wound should stay clean and heal up as long as you do daily soaks/rebandaging.
 

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