My chicken has bumblefoot and the vet estimate is $600

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by kurley, Jul 29, 2015.

  1. kurley

    kurley New Egg

    Oct 17, 2013
    About two weeks ago I noticed our hen was limping and I found a large swollen area on her foot. I researched this site and realized that she has bumblefoot. I removed the scab and cleaned it out as well as I could, packed it with triple antibiotic ointment, and bandaged it. I have changed the bandage every day for a week. The first couple of days I could see a big difference. The last few days it has plateaued. It seems obvious that the infection needs to be surgically removed. I've read some posts on this site and others and see that people perform the procedure on their own when an avian vet is not available. I do have an avian vet available, and just took the hen in to find that it would cost $450 - 600. We have 22 chickens that we keep for eggs and the enjoyment of having chickens in the yard. I can't afford this vet bill, and the vet was not willing to give me antibiotics or pain meds. Should I cull the bird? Try to cut out the infection without pain relievers or antibiotics? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Read some of the threads on bumblefoot surgery and treatment and do it yourself. My gut tells me that you are the type of person that is quite competent at handling this.
  3. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2013
    X2, plus you should be able to google "bird biotic" and get water soluble antibiotics over the internet.
  4. mirandaleecon

    mirandaleecon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 29, 2014
    Panama City, FL
    I have been having bumblefoot issues in my flock as well. I have performed a few surgeries (actually cutting into the foot) and it worked great on all of my hens but one. I think the infection is just deeper in her foot but it seems to be working it's way out.
    I have found out though, that cutting is not really necessary. If you soak the foot in Epsom salt solution, massage it a bit, remove the scab and squeeze (like a pimple), the plug will still come out. It's super gross but the plug is what is keeping it from healing. As long as you use gloves, and clean the area well with iodine, and keep it bandaged with antibiotic ointment, you shouldn't need to provide oral antibiotics. And I certainly wouldn't pay a vet $600, although only you can put a sentimental value on her if she is considered a pet.

    Another method I have not tried yet, although I'm going to once I can find something suitable, is placing a type of donut shaped object on the foot (so the scab is in the center) and wrapping that to hold it in place. The idea here is that it will push all of the infection to the center of the foot and ultimately work it's way out. I think, given enough time, it would work it's way out on it's own, or if you do what I described up top, you can get the infection out faster.

    Hope this helps! I will let you know how it goes when I try the donut technique...
  5. kurley

    kurley New Egg

    Oct 17, 2013

    Thanks for the vote of confidence, that's surprisingly helpful :)
  6. kurley

    kurley New Egg

    Oct 17, 2013
    Thank you for the advice. I'm going to try to cut it open myself.
  7. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    Bumble foot is a staph infection, so wear gloves. I have done this operation with no antibiotis and no painkillers. You can do this!
    1 person likes this.
  8. kurley

    kurley New Egg

    Oct 17, 2013
    Luckily, I have a friend who is an OR nurse, and she was kind enough to perform the surgery for me! I've been checking the rest of the flock and out of 22 hens I think there are maybe 8 birds with a small scab on one or both of their feet. None are swollen though, does it ever go away on its own? I was thinking about getting some tricide neo, is this the way I should go?
  9. MrsBachbach

    MrsBachbach Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 6, 2013
    Those with the small scab could be resolving on it's own, but you need to keep an eye on them. If the area starts looking red and you see swelling starting, it is getting worse. What I do before I go cutting on anyone is soak the bird's feet in warm epsom salt bath every other day for a week or so. After each soaking I wrap the bird in a towel to secure her then apply an iodine/sugar poultice to the bottom of the foot. I put a piece of gauze pad on that and then cut strips of vet wrap and wrap that around the toes and foot. I follow that with sports tape or bandaging tape. I change it every day that I do the epsom salt soak. The poultice helps draw the infection down and the soakings help soften and loosen the scab. The bandaging keeps the poultice on the foot and keeps it soft. They can run around the chicken yard with it on. You should find the scab and core much easier to remove after several soakings and using the poultice. See my post here:

    As I said in above link, if I think there is still infection in foot after removing the plug, I apply more idodine/sugar poultice, rewrap and then check it again in a couple of days. Clean it again and reapply until I'm satisfied all the infection is out. Then I will apply a triple antibiotic, wrap it up again, change bandages a couple of days later and keep doing this until the wound is healed and closed up good. It is important to keep the chicken on dry ground while doing this because wet or muddy ground will just soak through the bandages. You don't want the open wound to get re-infected, so keep it well bandaged.
  10. lizro

    lizro Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 29, 2015
    Whitchurch on Thames UK
    Hi everyone - hope you don't mind if I join in with this thread. I have a rescue hen with a scab on her foot but no swelling redness or difficulty walking. So I am assuming this is bumblefoot but hopefully resolving without 'surgery'. I did put Mag Sulph paste on it with a dressing but the soaking in epsom salts sounds good.[​IMG]

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