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Bumblefoot in Chickens

Regular examination of the feet of your flock is important for health! A common infection to be aware of is Bumblefoot, an infection on a chicken’s foot. You may notice limping as an early sign that something is bothering your feathered friends. Look for swelling or redness on the bottom of the foot. You may also see a black or brown scab forming. Left untreated, bumblefoot can be fatal because the disease can spread to other tissues and even bones.

Bumblefoot is caused by broken skin allowing bacteria to get inside of the foot. This causes an abscess. Some common ways this might happen are:

  • Splinters
  • Sharp wire ends
  • Jumping repeatedly from a perch
  • Skin irritation caused by poor litter management
  • Normal scratching and foraging

Vitamin deficiencies or obesity can also put chickens at a higher risk for infections. Sufficient calcium in the diet is very important.

The best treatment is catching it early, so you have a higher chance of beating it. Once you find it, use the following treatment methods:

  • See your veterinarian and obtain the proper antibiotics. Administer per your vet’s instructions.
  • Soak the lesion in warm water filled with Epsom salts to soften the exterior. This will allow you to drain the lesion with hydrogen peroxide, filling it with antibiotic ointment once the pus and debris is cleared.
  • Keep the bird separate from the time you find the disease and until treatment is complete, and provide them with adequate, clean bedding.


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