Chickens spend all day, every day, on their feet. With all that stress, it’s no wonder bumblefoot—an infection that grows on chickens’ feet—is a common health issue among chicken flocks. Bumblefoot occurs when the staphylococcus bacteria invade a chicken’s immune system, usually through a cut, scrape, or other irritated area on the foot. Fortunately, this infection is relatively easy to recognize and treat—especially if you catch it early. Here’s our guide on how to treat bumblefoot in chickens and get your birds back to their clucking, curious selves as quickly as possible.
Like with any disease, the best way to take care of bumblefoot is to prevent it from happening in the first place. The infection occurs more commonly in heavier breeds, roosters, and overweight chickens because of the added stress on their feet. Make sure you’re giving your birds a balanced, nutritious diet so they can stay at a healthy weight. You should also pay attention to the inside of your coop. Keep roosts and other ledges smooth and rounded so your chickens don’t cut their feet on sharp edges or splinters. Additionally, make sure the coop’s bedding is clean and dry to prevent additional bacteria growth.
Identifying the Symptoms
There are a few obvious signs that will let you know something is up with your birds. If one of your chickens has bumblefoot, you will likely first notice them limping or favoring one foot. Of course, there are many reasons why your chickens might be walking funny, so make sure you perform a closer inspection before doing anything else. When you examine your bird’s foot, look for redness or swelling. These are symptoms of the early stages of bumblefoot. If the infection develops into more serious stages, you’ll see a dark brown or black scab on the foot.
How to Treat Bumblefoot in Chickens
When it comes to your chickens’ health, it’s important to consult the professionals first. An avian veterinarian or other expert is the best option to treat bumblefoot or any other disease your chickens might catch. However, if you’re left to your own devices, there are a few steps you can take. If the infection is in its earlier, milder stages, you can soak your chicken’s foot in warm water and Epsom salts. Gently dry the foot, apply an antiseptic to the infected area, and bandage the site to prevent further irritation. If your bird has a more serious case of bumblefoot—or if your chicken doesn’t get better after the above treatment—you will need to cut out the infected area. Make sure you remove both the scab and the underlying infected core. Once the infection is gone, clean and treat your bird’s foot as described above. As always, make sure you keep an eye on your chicken throughout the recovery process and consult a professional if you have any questions.
Stromberg’s Chickens has everything you need to take care of your flock. From routine equipment like chicken feeder troughs to the medicine and treatments you need to keep your birds healthy, we’re here to help you keep your birds safe and happy.