A common disease among chicken is the evil Bumble Foot. Bumble Foot basically causes swollen and painful chicken feet due to inflammation and hardening of tissues in the area. Whether it has happened to your chickens yet or not, it is advisable to pick up some knowledge so you can detect it early and apply the necessary treatments.
Symptoms of Bumble Foot
Calluses and abscesses appearing at the chicken’s soles are telltale signs of the disease. Realistically, checking their soles every now and then is too much of a hassle even for the biggest chicken lovers. However, it is easy to spot it when your chickens are limping around or having difficulty walking. Once you see trails of blooded footprints, you can be quite sure you need to take them for treatment.
Causes of Bumble Foot
There are several causes of Bumble Foot but these are the 3 main ones you should take note of:
One of the most common causes of Bumble Foot is actually the chicken’s own habit of perching. The problem is that they have low awareness when it comes to perching; they just perch anywhere they can and like. Perching on surfaces like narrow wires, sharp corners and edges can easily cause bruises which lead to Bumble Foot. Landing hard after jumping off higher grounds can also cause the disease.
Vitamin A is an important nutrient in a chicken’s diet and when it is lacking, Bumble Foot might result. Sufficient Vitamin A levels primarily promote healthy appetites and good digestion. In addition, it helps keep resistances against parasitic infections strong. When Vitamin A is lacking in their diet, the chicken’s plumage looks a little different. It appears rough, lacking in colour and a yellowish hue may also manifest on the beak.
Another common cause is the frequent scratching and running of chickens which can cause small wounds at their soles. If left unattended to, parasites may infect and cause necrosis of the bones. This is usually serious as death can occur as a consequence.
The best way to prevent all the causes above is to design your perching area inside the coop so that they will not injure themselves. Remove any existing wires in the coop and check that the perimeters enclosing the perching areas are of varying circumferences.
You can also give your chickens a high Vitamin A diet. Since chickens generally eat anything you throw at them you can pick cheap feeds. Any combination of vegetables, carrots, potatoes and pumpkins are great for Vitamin A supplementation. If your chickens don’t really enjoy the diet, mix in some fruit peels (they like this) and you will see them gobble everything up.
Treatment of Bumble Foot
The standard treatment of Bumble Foot is topical application of antibiotics. In mild to normal cases, wash the injured feet gently with warm water for about 10 minutes. Subsequently, apply the antibiotic ointment directly over the affected area. For severe cases, perform a small operation by using a sterile clean knife to peel away the scabs. Gently cut away remaining scabs and pus until you see a small opening in the foot. Apply the antibiotic on it and bandage lightly but tightly. If this sounds too difficult for you, take your chicken to the vet for professional treatment.