Unreal (kind of terrifying) waddle issue - What the...?

Jrose

Songster
6 Years
Jun 6, 2013
493
115
156
Okay. So my roo, Gallus, had a big 'scab' on his waddle a week ago. I snatched him one night, removed the scab and expected puss, but instead the wound was a perfect hole going deep into the waddle, no blood or smell, no puss. It seeped some oil and made some fizzing/hissing sounds when I put pressure on it. I cleaned it up, confused, and let him be. Thought maybe he injured himself scrapping with the other roo, or poked himself on some wire or something.

I noticed the other day it was looking grossly swollen. I brought him in tonight and popped the scab off again. It's not really a scab, more like a crusty grey "plug" a 1/4" round and 1/4" long/deep. I 'pulled the plug' and again expected puss. Nothing happened. I squeezed it and there surfaced a hard yellow mass, peeking out from in the 1/4" perfectly round hole in the waddle. The mass was solid feeling inside the waddle. So with antiseptic, tweezers, and cotton balls in hand, we proceeded with the most confusing and terrifying spelunking expedition known to man and chicken. Gallus deserves an award!

What we unearthed were two hideous masses. They're a puss-like yellow color. Rubber in consistency, and quite firm but it's easy enough to break them up.

The first was at the 'surface' of the 'tunnel' boring deep into his right waddle. I finagled it out, ripping some chunks off in the process. Texturally it was a bit like... um... soft but well packed cheese? It was over 1/2" long and wide (quite a feat popping it out of a 1/4" hole). It was scraggly, mishapen, and had thick 'noodle-like appendages' coming off it. No blood, oil, or puss accompanied it. I flushed the hole with witch hazel, inspected the 'cave' with a flashlight, and felt for the next mass before diving in again.

I had to wrench on the waddle below the next mass really hard (poor Gallus). Kind of like trying to drain a really deep abscess is how I went about it. On the 4th try I felt the satisfying 'pop' of the mass breaking through closer to the opening in the waddle. The 5th wrench brought it up to the surface of the hole. A quick squeeze and tug with the tweezers and the second mass was free. I photographed this one. It's almost 1" in length, about 1/2" wide, and has those noodly appendages as well. Same consistency, color, etc as the first. Still no blood, puss, oil, or other lymph to be had. Totally clean. Wicking the witch hazel out did leave a soft pink color on the cotton balls, but there was no fresh blood or bleeding. No blood on the masses extracted.





There is a third mass, slightly smaller, very deep in the waddle near his throat. There is a 'tube' or 'vein' coming off the back of the mass, leading deeper into the waddle towards his throat. I was unable to dislodge this mass, it's way too deep (perspectively at least 1 1/2" inches from the 'entrance' near the exterior edge of the waddle). His left waddle is 100% normal. Neither the 'vein' nor the masses extend into the left waddle. They extend backwards through the right waddle towards his throat and I was unable to find an 'end' to the hard 1/16" thick 'tube' coming off the back of the third mass.

I thought at first this was like solidified puss or something from an infection I neglected. Not even sure if that's possible. But I'm worried maybe it's tissue? It looked like it. Could this be some kind of cancer or something? I'm not fear-mongering about Gallus's ailment, I'm just completely confused. I've never seen anything like this. I dealt with a lot of animals, alive and dead, and seen some strange stuff. But this? No smell. No lymph. No drainage. Not even bleeding!

I flushed it really well with witch hazel, dried it, and sealed it with some herbal goop that's designed to draw foreign objects and infection out of the body (works wonders on deep thorns, splinters, metal shavings, etc), plus gave him some homeopathic pain relief. He's back in the coop, reeling from the procedure. I wanted to bandage it to keep anything from getting in there, but I'm not sure how to do that.


WHAT THE HECK?
sickbyc.gif


Edit: These masses were completely independent of the surrounding waddle tissue. I was extremely cautious at first, having no idea what I was going to find. It's literally like there's a tunnel inside his waddle with these masses dwelling in it. Sounds strange, but that's what it is!
 
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chooks4life

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 8, 2013
4,902
678
296
Australia
Well, that was an entertaining read. :p

Poor chook. That sounds quite unusual. Parasites maybe? Something like botfly larvae? Maybe something that ended up in the wrong host and went for a bit of a confused wander as a result?

I had a bizarre experience with flesh-eating maggots of two different species in one of my roosters, so maybe I'm a little biased in my thoughts on the potential causes of your chook's issue. My rooster's outcome was not as good as yours unfortunately.

I'll just clarify, 'waddle' is what ducks and pregnant women do, 'wattle' is what chickens and some other species have on their heads. ;) Common confusion there.

It sounds quite bizarre that so much mass was inside the wattle; it must have been swollen grossly. Wish you had some pictures of the site before and after emptying it. That would have been something to see.

It wouldn't be fear-mongering to think it's cancer, at all; like most other domestic animals chickens have more than their fair share of cancers. Quite common. After all we're taught that a totally cooked diet (y'know, the same stuff we're told gives us cardiovascular issues and obesity and other health problems) is the very best for them, and most poultry feeds (that I've seen anyway, not many great brands around here) contain hydrogenated oils (no wonder heart and liver issues are so very common in chickens) and other crud like that. Everything we know about diet and nutrition and how they correlate to health and longevity directly contradicts what we're told (by the feed manufacturers) is the best diet for livestock.

Really, the problem there isn't fear-mongering, it's the reverse, so many people prefer to believe things are better than they are and ignore all manner of common issues in the early stages that can be treated --- until they can't --- brushing off all symptoms of ill health as 'normal'. I guess it is indeed normal precisely because of that.

I just had a discussion with some women who had decided that pullets bleeding all over their first few eggs was normal, analogous to human reproduction. Nothing I could say would convince them otherwise. One of them had '40+ years of pullets bleeding on their eggs' and therefore believed it normal (!). Normal for their genetic lines, apparently... Not normal for the species though. Not one of my pullets has ever bled on their eggs. :/

I have never heard of anything like your issue before, wish you had photos of the procedure! Sounds like you have it under control though.

Best wishes.
 

Jrose

Songster
6 Years
Jun 6, 2013
493
115
156
Well, that was an entertaining read. :p

Poor chook. That sounds quite unusual. Parasites maybe? Something like botfly larvae? Maybe something that ended up in the wrong host and went for a bit of a confused wander as a result?

I had a bizarre experience with flesh-eating maggots of two different species in one of my roosters, so maybe I'm a little biased in my thoughts on the potential causes of your chook's issue. My rooster's outcome was not as good as yours unfortunately.

I'll just clarify, 'waddle' is what ducks and pregnant women do, 'wattle' is what chickens and some other species have on their heads. ;) Common confusion there.

It sounds quite bizarre that so much mass was inside the wattle; it must have been swollen grossly. Wish you had some pictures of the site before and after emptying it. That would have been something to see.

It wouldn't be fear-mongering to think it's cancer, at all; like most other domestic animals chickens have more than their fair share of cancers. Quite common. After all we're taught that a totally cooked diet (y'know, the same stuff we're told gives us cardiovascular issues and obesity and other health problems) is the very best for them, and most poultry feeds (that I've seen anyway, not many great brands around here) contain hydrogenated oils (no wonder heart and liver issues are so very common in chickens) and other crud like that. Everything we know about diet and nutrition and how they correlate to health and longevity directly contradicts what we're told (by the feed manufacturers) is the best diet for livestock.

Really, the problem there isn't fear-mongering, it's the reverse, so many people prefer to believe things are better than they are and ignore all manner of common issues in the early stages that can be treated --- until they can't --- brushing off all symptoms of ill health as 'normal'. I guess it is indeed normal precisely because of that.

I just had a discussion with some women who had decided that pullets bleeding all over their first few eggs was normal, analogous to human reproduction. Nothing I could say would convince them otherwise. One of them had '40+ years of pullets bleeding on their eggs' and therefore believed it normal (!). Normal for their genetic lines, apparently... Not normal for the species though. Not one of my pullets has ever bled on their eggs. :/

I have never heard of anything like your issue before, wish you had photos of the procedure! Sounds like you have it under control though.

Best wishes.

We have very similar thoughts in regards to health and genetics! I keep a sharp eye on things. The birds are fed a 'raw' diet of milled non-gmo grains and peas, plus raw meat (scraps from the carnivores' dinners), eggs, and of course whatever they find free ranging. At times I ferment my grain feed and add supplements as well. They eat charcoal and ash from the burn pile, and I often burn leftover deer skeletons/bones- the mineral rich ashen remains are the birds' favorites! They've generally been healthy- I've only had 1 mystery death in my short 5~ years of chicken keeping. I've lost birds due to poor genetics though, mostly internal laying. They've combatted several illnesses and mite plagues brought about by the 'wild roosters' in my area. I think there's a pox going through the flock right now, actually, and was originally wondering if that was the cause for the large grey blob on his *wattle* ;) This was before I picked it the first time.

It's definitely not a bug. It wasn't alive or wigglin'. And if it were worms/maggots/larvae I'd think there's be a fair bit of blood and puss involved. The wattle is swollen very firmly and is distorted, but is NOT hot like it's dealing with infection either.

He's my main breeding roo (black copper marans), he's a year old now. I hope this isn't something 'genetic' :/ He's the first of this lineage I've had, I purchased him and a few others last year. All my marans seem healthy...
 

chooks4life

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 8, 2013
4,902
678
296
Australia
Just a theory... If there was a parasite, it might have left that trail throughout his wattle and then the scab as it exited, or it might have died and rotted in there. The rooster I had with flesh eating parasites wasn't pussy or infected or bloody either, they just hollowed him out very cleanly. Still, it's just one theory, I don't know what that could be because it is quite unusual.

Still, all's well that ends well! If it doesn't happen again. I'd eat him myself, if it did, provided he isn't a pet that is. ;) Just to be sure.

Interesting to hear about the wild roosters in your area, are they actually wild? How do they survive with the parasites and all, without human treatment --- do you observe them consuming anything in particular? Very interesting.

My chooks like to help themselves to ash and charcoal too sometimes, it's good to have around. Raw meat fed chooks! They must be so pleased with that.

Best wishes.
 

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