What’s Wrong With My Elderly Hen’s Feet?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Chickenchick11, Apr 22, 2019.

  1. Hello,
    I have an elderly (around 7-8 year old) red sex-link hen, and for the last couple of years her feet and ankles have become more and more swollen. I don’t believe it’s bumblefoot, because there are no wounds or cores on the pads of her feet. Her foot pads, ankles, and toes are just swollen. I was thinking maybe it’s arthritis swelling because she’s elderly? I feel bad because I can tell her feet bother her. Does anyone have any ideas for why her feet are like this? Or any remedies or suggestions for pain management?
     

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  2. Melky

    Melky Spring has sprung!

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    This is still most likely bumblefoot. You can start with soaking in epsom salt water 20-30 min each day. Look for scab or pus area (plug) to clean and remove. May need to wrap in gauze with vet wrap. See instructions below. Need to see a vet for oral antibiotics at this point since feet are so swollen. Wear gloves and wash hands well to prevent spread. See links for prevention as well.

    https://animals.mom.me/chicken-swollen-foot-1809.html

    https://www.fresheggsdaily.com/2012/03/bumblefoot.html?m=1
     
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  3. Melky

    Melky Spring has sprung!

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    The other possibility is gout and may also need to contact vet as may need medication to control. If no sores like bumblefoot found could be gout as bumblefoot usually impacts one foot and gout usually affects both. :)
     
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

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    To me that looks like articular gout. How long have her feet looked like this? What kind of diet does she eat? There is a drug called meloxicam that can be used for pain and inflammation, that you get from a vet. Aspirin can be used in the water 325 mg per each 8 ounces of water. Here is some reading about gout in chickens:
    https://thepoultrysite.com/articles/gout-management-in-poultry
     
  5. microchick

    microchick Crossing the Road

    You
    Can also offer her chopped cherries. There are chemicals in cherries that help break down uric acid crystals called tophi around the joints. Yeah I know from research experience. I have gout.

    Plus chickens love the cherries as much as people do.
     
  6. Her feet have looked like this for at least two-ish years if not three, but it has gradually gotten worse over this time. I got her as a four or five year old, so I'm unsure of what her diet was before she came into my care. Her diet as long as I've had her has consisted of either Purina Layena pellets, or when my local feed store is out of them she gets Nutrena NatureWise layer crumbles or Country Companion layer crumbles. Reading that link you attached, it looks like excess protein can cause gout in predisposed birds. I have in the past during molting and other times of stress for her and the rest of the flock fed Nutrena Feather Fixer to help ease them through it. I think this includes increased protein to help them with feather regrowth. So I will definitely look into this and nix it permanently from her diet if the protein is higher than normal layer feed. Other than that she and her two flockmates get a small handful of scratch a day, and then fruit and veggie scraps when we have them. She also free ranges during the day in my yard.
     
  7. I will definitely do that. So sorry to hear you have gout.
     
  8. cottagecheese

    cottagecheese Songster

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    The problem is indeed with what she's been eating, but it's not the protein, it's the calcium. The protein couldn't have been more than a few percents higher in the 'feather fixer' and it was actually needed, if she was molting. Layer feed has 400% the amount of calcium of 'all flock' feed and it's designed for hens who lay (more or less) daily. Calcium, just like iron, selenium and so many others, becomes toxic if there's too much of it. Maybe this is where the saying 'too much of a good thing' originates. And when we say too much here, we mean FOUR TIMES more than what it should be, because an older hen doesn't lay intensively. When she needs calcium, she has her oyster shell/egg shell.

    What has been going on: The high level of unneeded calcium has impaired her kidneys, her kidneys now can't filtrate (as they should) out of the blood a waste product of metabolism called uric acid, now the uric acid instead of going out is floating around and crystallizing in the joints as gout.

    http://www.poultrydvm.com/condition/gout

    So the layer feed is slowly poisoning her, she needs all flock with oyster shell/egg shell offered separately. I like to change their water twice daily, they really like it fresh, who doesn't? The cherries are a great idea, for all your flock, because whoever doesn't lay daily has the same problem.
     
  9. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

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    Gout causing kidney damage can have a number of causes. It is actually rare in chickens. Fungal infection, early in life exposure to infectious bronchitis, water deprivation, and excess sodium, calcium, or protein in the diet are some of the possible causes. There is not much that can be done at this point other than to manage the pain. I would switch to an all flock feed, and if you have hens who still lay, just offer a container of crushed limestone or oystershell for their extra calcium requirements. Here is another hood article to read:
    https://thepoultrysite.com/articles/avian-urolithiasis-visceral-gout-an-overview
     
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  10. Wow. I feel so bad that I've basically been slowly killing her. :( Next payday (Wednesday) I'll pick of a bag of all flock feed and switch her and her flockmates over to it. It's just not in the budget before then. She and my 4 year old RIR lay on average two, sometimes three eggs a week each, so they definitely have majorly slowed down on egg production. My other hen, a 6 year old White Rock lays 5-6 eggs a week consistently.
     
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