Monday, 15 April 2013

Chicken Foot Injuries

Warning - some photos of injuries

I do love our chickens but it seems that our flock attracts more than their fair share of bad luck. 

First we lost Coolie, our Barnevelder, in January. I still have no idea what caused her death.
Then Breanna and Washington were both attacked by dogs and we needed veterinary help.
Breanna's side wound with a huge dog bite
Currently Breanna is losing weight and feathers. I have upped her protein intake since last week. I will post a recipe later in the week.

Foot Wound

Then on Saturday, when everyone else was at swimming lessons, I was cleaning the waterer in the coop when my mum rang on the phone. We might have talked for about ten minutes. (They are coming to chicken sit while we are away next week). 

Yes it was raining and muddy! All nails removed now.
When I went back with the fresh water, I found poor Bluey hanging upside-down at the front door of the pen. The webbing in her foot had caught on a raised nail on the door frame. (I kept meaning to get around to removing it after the wooden door stopper rotted away). She was quiet and calm. Washington and Silver were watching over her. But she could not get loose by herself. I was quick to help her but the wound was bleeding a bit. With one arm around her, I gathered first aid supplies and ran the laundry tub with some disinfectant in it.

She was very calm once in the bath and even sat down. My mind was whirling. I am not good in a medical crisis. I get a bit flustered. I would probably not make a good vet. In fact our vet is the polar opposite of me. Very calm and confident.

Anyway somehow I managed to dry Bluey with the hair dryer. Clean out the wound with Betadine and then sprayed the wound with plastic skin to stop the bleeding. She was able to get straight back to the coop and regular chicken scratching. The wound looks great today.

Bumble Foot

Finally, Washington has come down with a nasty case of bumble foot -a staph infection that develops from a splinter or puncture to the soft pads of the foot. 

Right foot - the large black spot causes her to limp

I thought that I would have to perform the surgery myself. I ordered Veterycin spray and vetwrap from the USA a fortnight ago but it still has not arrived. I can't leave it untreated any longer for fear it will spread to her bones and kill her. The right foot is much worse than the left. 

Left foot - see the tiny black spot?

After Saturday's foot accident I was so stressed out about performing surgery on Washington's feet. I gave myself a headache. My husband told me to just ring the vet and get them to perform the surgery. He said something very sensible "Would you operate on a dog's paw?" No way!

So this morning I rang the vet and sent them an email with the links to two bumblefoot procedures. One at The Chicken Chick and the other at Fresh Eggs Daily. We have an appointment tomorrow morning for minor surgery on both feet. 

As much joy as they bring to our lives it's hard to bear so much responsibility for these feathered creatures. I don't think that I could not handle larger farm animals and the kinds of diseases and accidents they would encounter. What if I found a half mauled goat? Or a calf got stuck whilst birthing? What if I was forced to put one down? I am too soft hearted. I don't even kill spiders! I would NEVER want to own a gun! Our chicken breeder just can't understand our misfortune as he has hundreds of chickens and hardly anything every goes wrong with them. He's never even heard of bumble foot!

Anyway on a lighter, and footless, note we had a visit from a tree snake yesterday. He appeared next to the front pond, silthered into the reeds in the middle and then stretched all the way across the pond to hide in the rocks.

Stunning hey?

Linking up with Clever Chicks Blog Hop #30


  1. Oh. Fiona :( your poor chooks and poor you! I hope their luck improves soon! And yes, gorgeous snake :)

  2. Lots of things can go wrong with chickens. I've definitely learned that the hard way in my 3 1/2 years of keeping them. I have taken several to the vet and they always say they rarely see chickens. I think anyone who keeps chickens will have problems, but maybe they just aren't as aware of the problems as others are. I inspect mine each day just to make sure they are ok and note any changes. I am very soft hearted like you and really love my chickens! :)

  3. That's quite a lot of chicken drama! Thank goodness you have a first aid kit handy and Vetericyn at the ready.

    I hope your vet didn't take too much exception to being sent surgical instructions written by a lawyer! LOL Thanks for the vote of confidence. I performed bumblefoot surgery many times prior to writing that blog post and I'm happy to know that my research and experience came in handy for you too. All the best to you and your peeps.

    Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick


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