Just got through washing the fleet of feathered feet


Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Dec 11, 2009
Colorado Rockies
It's springtime in the Rockies, and it's very muddy, and today was muddier than usual due to snow last night. I made the mistake of letting all thirteen girls out of the pen to get some exercise and do some worm hunting. I took the opportunity to clean the pen which consists of construction sand.

I looked up as they started returning and noticed they were tracking in an unusual amount of mud. The feet that were returning were so caked with mud that they looked like they were wearing booties.

Half of the flock have feathered feet, so I decided to set up a wash basin with warm water and children's bubble-bath and wash them. I do this as a matter of regular flock management every few weeks anyway to avoid foot-rot from caked on poo and dirt, so this wasn't anything new. But on a few of the feet, and not necessarily on the feathered ones, I found mud balls wedged in between toes and foot pads that had to have been very uncomfortable, and were so hardened they had to have been there for a while.

My flock loves to scratch in the dormant garden beds and compost piles, but I'm not going to let them out again when it's this muddy. I'm glad I discovered those mud balls and got rid of them before they caused any serious problems.

That children's bubble-bath liquid is great for washing crusty butts, too, since it doesn't require rinsing. A few got butt tune-ups today while we were at it.
I agree, clean feet are so important. They use their toes to scratch their heads, etc. I try to keep their run dry using straw, wood chips, etc. - no mud for them. What a good chicken mom you are.
Wood chips were the first pen covering I tried four years ago when I first became a chicken mom. I got them for $7 a pickup load at the local wood processing plant. Since the run was clay soil, they worked very well in keeping feet above the soil level. But the pen wasn't very easy to keep clean since I like to scoop up the poop every day.

A couple years ago, I decided to rake them all up and put sand in the run. It's the best decision I ever made. It's easy to scoop the poop using a cat box scooper. It pays off with no smell when things get damp, and no flies in summer.

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