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Author Topic: Chicken with swollen feet  (Read 7882 times)


  • Joined Jun 2009
Chicken with swollen feet
« on: January 22, 2010, 09:43:15 pm »
Hopefully someone can offer some advice please.  One of our chickens (ex batt) that we've had for about 9 months seems to have something wrong with her feet.  They both appear swollen, golden in colour and she can hardly walk on them.  I cant think it is frostbite or anything linked to the icy conditions as their area is now clear and I'd imagine she'd have had sore feet before now if it was linked to that - plus we put down loads of straw so she wasnt really in contact with the ice.

Anyone got any ideas?  She's still eating and pooping, just really reluctant to walk and when she does, she is clearly uncomfortable on them.

Many thanks
Voss Electric Fence


  • Joined Aug 2012
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Re: Chicken with swollen feet
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2010, 09:53:22 pm »
Sounds like it might be 'bumblefoot' 
Bumble foot is found on the bottom of a bird's feet where it has formed an abscess. They look sort of like calluses; they feel hard and typically affect both feet. Depending on the diagnosis, vets may recommend hot soaks or antibiotics (pipercillin injections, etc.). In some instances, surgery may be indicated, especially in cases where severe distortion of the contours of the foot and/or the toes occurred, as this has the potential of causing considerable damage in the foot.

    * If only one leg is affected, the bird is more likely to have experienced an injury and/or has a localized infection. (Scroll down to infections for potential treatment options)

    * If the legs appear to be dry and scaly, or the bird has crusty-looking legs, please refer to this webpage for information: Scaly Leg or Scaly Face webpage
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age


  • Joined Jun 2009
Re: Chicken with swollen feet
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2010, 10:13:58 pm »
I looked up bumblefoot as i wondered if it might be that but i dont think so for several reasons:  both feet are swollen all over and there isnt a specific swelling, especially on the underside


  • Joined Jan 2008
Re: Chicken with swollen feet
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2010, 10:17:12 pm »
I read somewhere that it is some kind of mite which causes this.


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Re: Chicken with swollen feet
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2010, 11:43:29 pm »
Scaly leg mite causes the scales to stick out when they burrow underneath, but I've not heard of them being on the bottom of the feet - are there scales there too? If so it might be that. Simple treatment is dip feet and legs in surgical spirit then cover in vaseline.

Scaly Leg Mites

Scaly leg mites bore under the scales on the legs of the bird. The scales enlarge, get rough and become infected, thus potentially causing lameness in the bird. These scaly legs are commonly referred to as "tasselfoot" in some species.

Heavy scaling of the feet / legs can result in reduced mobility and increased discomfort.
Common Treatments:

    "Cage protectors" commonly found in pet stores are ineffective and may be toxic.

    SCATT: One of the most effective treatments for mites seems to be SCATT - a treatment produced by Dr. Marshall - a well-known and published avian vet in Australia. Another treatment is S76. Please visit this website for information on both treatments.

        Scatt has a residual effect and one dose is effective for about 3 weeks. The other treatment, S76, is a good choice for treating mites that do not feed directly on the bird’s blood or living tissue, such as feather mites. . Some mites like to hide in the cracks and crevices of your bird’s cage. So environmental treatment is important.

    Ivermectin: Vets may also prescribe Ivermectin.

    Alternative medications are Avomectin or Moxydectin (may be obtained at your better pet / bird store without a Vet's prescription). One product that is frequently used is Scalex - and it is also effective in removing scales. Scalex is usually freely available at local stores.

    Simple common household products, such as either Benzyl Benzoate, Paraffin or Petroleum Jelly, have been successfully used to treat birds with initial or minor infection. The bird's legs are soaked in an oil or cream to suffocate the mites. This procedure is repeated every 3 to 4 days for 2 weeks. The old scales will then fall off over time and be replaced with new scales. One breeder described coating seeds with vegetable oils and as his canaries walked over the seeds, their legs got coated with oil and the mites suffocated. He stated that his canaries were mite free within 2 weeks.

    Tips for remove the scales on scaly feet (NOT scaly face - you could get water into the nostrils potentially aspirating your pet bird):

        Wash your pet bird's feet CAREFULLY in warm water. Apply 2 tablespoons of vaseline (or you can try olive oil or baby oil) on your pet's feet and legs every day for 5 or 6 days.

        For additional healing and effectiveness, brew yourself some nice chamomile tea for drinking, and take the warm and wet teabags and place them over your pet's feet for a couple of minutes. This will also help losen them while healing the wounds at the same time.

        Some people also add GSE to the water - for its anti-parasitic properties.

        After a week or sooner, the scales should start to come off and soon thereafter your pet should be scale-free.

        If the scales are slow to come off, try rubbing the scales very gently. But don't be impatient and don't be tempted in forcing the issue. If you pull the scales off before they are ready, the wound will start bleeding.

    I received the following e-mail that might be of interest to you:

        "I wanted to share with you that I have a friend who's bird suffered terribly from the worst case of bird mites her vet had ever seen. He had a crusty substance covering his face and beak from the mites. I suggested to her that she get some GSE (Grapefruit Seed Extract), mix five to ten drops in one tablespoon of distilled water and dab onto the affected areas. Never use GSE full strength and be careful to avoid eyes. This treatment cured her bird. He is finally mite free after a horrific battle not unlike the one described in the article. It worked relatively quickly too. You can also add one drop of GSE to every four to eight ounces of drinking water and treat the bird from the inside. "
« Last Edit: January 22, 2010, 11:47:57 pm by doganjo »
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age


  • Joined Jun 2009
Re: Chicken with swollen feet
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2010, 12:49:26 pm »
Annie, thanks so much for that, I do think it is the scaly leg mites as described as that seems to pretty much fit the bill.  Will get on the case right away - thank you


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