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rooster with bumblefoot

cocococo Junior Member
edited October 2006 in Poultry Health and Welfare
Hi All, After reading other posts I am now sure that my rooster has bumblefoot. I've learned that I need to drain the pus-correct? Is there any oral antibiotic that I should use for followup. If I need to use an antibiotic sub-q-, where do I inject? One other question-does anyone know of any organic substance that will kill mites? Thanks for your help, Coco & Ramos the rooster.


  • SandySandy Senior Member
    edited October 2006

    This is a condition affects the pads of the feet.
    Bumble foot affects all birds
    It is caused by the bacteria staphylococcus aureus, which is present wherever there are chickens.


    Bumblefoot is difficult to cure.
    Make sure the roosts are rounded and not too high off the ground.
    Sand off any potential splinter areas.
    Ensure plenty of litter, 3-4 inches or more deep in the coop
    Don't use wire bottom cages, unless you really have to
    Give vitamin supplements, especially Vitamin A.
    For problem flocks Biotin and Vitamin E+C levels should also be checked - and where feed is low (or has been in store for more than 21 days) a supplement should be given.
    Staph enters the foot through injury to the pad - either by bruising or breaks in the skin caused by sharp objects, a small cut, bruise or any small opening
    Avoid high roosts
    Avoid sharp litter


    Most people notice swelling of the footpad, and if you look at the pad and note a dark, blackish scab, it is bumblefoot.
    The swelling is due to an abscess in the pad.
    It causes, lameness, swollen foot, a scab on the foot pad

    Pre - Treatment

    Isolate the bird
    Make sure it is out of drafts and direct sun, but with fresh air
    Fresh food and water to be available at all times
    Put a deep layer of fresh clean SOFT litter for the bird to stand on
    And if the bird is laying supply a nice clean soft nest area also

    Have on hand the following:

    Betadine, hydrogen peroxide or Lysol (*Lysol – see bottom of page for more information), Neosporin or bacitracin, sterile scalpel or 14g needle, coban, sterile 2x2 gauze pads, surgeon's gloves, Epsom salts, anti bacterial soap, small scrubbing brush
    Have a cage ready to put the chicken in when you're finished, or a small dog kennel carrier with scrap towels for bedding
    Make sure you have deep litter in the cage
    I have used Terramycin or Baytril in the water for a week - follow the directions on the package.


    Wash the legs and feet thoroughly with warm soapy water with some antiseptic in the water, not too much you don’t want to burn the legs
    Or you can - Soak the foot in an Epson salts solution as directed on the package for a human
    Then lightly scrub the affected area with an anti bacterial hand soap
    Scrub it good enough to remove most of the scab, but not hard enough to damage the leg and make it bleed
    Rinse the leg(s) and feet and dry thoroughly

    Then spray the affected area with Lysol then apply bacitracin and bandage.... keep the bird separated in a small cage. (Or you can use a dog kennel carrier, put some scrap towels for bedding and do this every night right before roosting time for 3-5 nights

    If you don’t think that will work then you can try :-

    Thoroughly drenching the feet in hydrogen peroxide, full strength for seven days, twice a day

    If the foot has any open wounds DO NOT USE HYRDOGEN PEROXIDE, use iodine (Betadine lotion), only use the peroxide to do the initial cleaning out of the wound, not as an ongoing treatment
    If any open wounds apply an antibacterial or antibiotic powder

    Give the bird a broad-spectrum antibiotic in the drinking water for the next 5 to 7 days
    Also give the bird 2 tablespoon of yoghurt (plain unsweetened culture) to keep the bird from getting diarrhea due to the antibiotics, as it upsets the natural flora (bacteria) of their bowel

    When it has healed clean the area where the bird was staying with bleach solution and keep the bedding clean 2-3 times a day until the skin on the pad has rehardened.
    Then go back to normal care.

    It has been found that many of the antibiotics that they used to use are no longer effective against Staph, below are some that I recently found that may be effective (Oct 2005)

    Ani – staphylococcal Penicillins
    Staphylococcal infections

    Generic Name
    Flucloxacillin –
    Dicloxacillin –-
    Nafcillin -

    Brand Name:

    Methicillin – No longer available

    Generic Names - Brand Name - Mode of Action - Main Use
    Gentamicin – Garamycin – Mode of action > Inhibit protein synthesis – Main Use >Serious Gram negative infections
    Netilmicin – Netromycin - same as above
    Tobramycin – Nebcin – same as above
    Amidacin – Amikin – same as above

    Streptomycin – Generics – Mode of action> Inhibits protein synthesis – Main Use > Tuberculosis

    Neomycin – Generics – Mode of action > Inhibits protein synthesis – Main Use > Skin infections (topical)

    Spectinomycin – Trobicin – Mode of action > Inhibit protein synthesis – Main Use > Gonorrhoea

    Opening the infected area to remove the pus

    Sometimes Bumblefoot doesn’t have a puss filled pad, check before you cut

    If your going to do anything to the bird, it is always a good idea to have a helper with you, but you can do it yourself, just make sure the bird is unable to move about, if you have a stretch bandage, then wrapping this around the birds wings, will certainly help

    Before you start, put on a pair of disposable gloves, you don’t want the staph infection getting into you, if you have any small nick in your skin it can and will get in to your system
    Wash the leg and foot, gently scrub with betadine until clean at least 30 seconds

    If you can soak the foot until the scab is soft, do that and then pull off the scab
    Lance the pad with the needle or scalpel and squeeze out the pus
    Do this under running water
    Yes, there will be bleeding
    After the pus is out as much as you can get, dip the foot into peroxide solution
    The blood will cause a foaming reaction

    If there is a lot of bleeding, hold pressure with a sterile 2x2 pad until stopped or under control.
    Apply Neosporin or a sulfa ointment to the site
    Apply a sterile gauze pad 2 x 2s for padding
    You can either use a stretch bandage or wrap the foot firmly with coban (tape)

    Wrap so the toes and spur are exposed – if you’re working on a rooster
    Don't wrap so tight that you cut off circulation
    You will want to start the wrap on the foot and work up to the leg

    If you use the sticky tape, you will find that the chicken can’t pull it off, change the dressing in 2-3 days
    If your using elastic bandage then change the dressing daily and re-apply the bandage and sterile dressing, I actually prefer the bandage, this way I can check the progress of the wound each day

    I keep the chicken confined until the pad is well healed so that it won't open up when they go back to free ranging.

    Also, you may find these websites helpful in answering other poultry questions:
    Reference: http://www.msstate.edu/dept/poultry/disaid.htm
    Reference: http://www.welphatchery.com/index.asp
    Reference: http://www.welphatchery.com/poultry_care.asp
    Reference: http://www.welphatchery.com/poultry_health.asp
    Reference: http://www.angelfire.com/med3/poultrylovers
  • crazychickcrazychick Senior Member
    edited October 2006
    Here's another method of treating bumblefoot, if you'd like to try it. I use this method and it works very well...

    You'll need some gauze (4x4 if you can get it), some coflex/coban/vetwrap, duct tape, iodine and plain granulated white sugar. Wash the bird's affected foot under running water- do not soak the foot or you will be introducing further bacteria into the foot. If you can work off the scab without causing too much bleeding, then do that. If you can only get a bit of it off, take that off, continue to run it under warm water. Once as much of the scab is removed as possible, see if you can clean out some of the pus inside, continuing to rinse under the water. Use sterile insturments (like tweezers soaked in rubbing alcohol or iodine) to work inside the foot. If there is no pus evident or there is no scab to remove, then go onto step 2: Cut a strip of coflex bandage about 8 inches long and 1" wide. Cut an 8 inch long, 1/2 inch wide strip of duct tape- have these both ready. Now mix about a tablespoon of white sugar with about 1/2 tsp iodine. Mix this together and add more iodine if it doesn't seem like a thick paste. It shouldn't be runny, but you shouldn't be able to see individual granules of white sugar. Now, fold a 4x4 gauze in half, then into thirds, so you have a pad about the size of a large postage stamp. Put a blob of this iodine/sugar mixture on the pad and then put on the bottom of the foot. Begin wrapping the coflex on the foot- go between all the toes but not up the shank of the leg at all. Repeat the wrap with the duct tape. Now your bird will have a little shoe- change this every day for the first 5 days, then you can leave it on for a couple days at a time. The iodine kills the bacteria in the foot and the sugar draws out the infection. When you change the bandage, the sugar will still be there but most of the iodine will have soaked into the foot. Wash the foot and repeat the process. If you'd like to put your bird on an antibiotic, I find that Pen G procaine, given at a dosage of 30 000 IU per kg of weight works well. The amount will vary according to weight but it will be less than a cc in most cases. Give this either intramusclular or subcutaneous with a 22 gauge needle once per day- draw back on the syringe to ensure you aren't putting the penicillin into the blood stream.

    Good luck with your bird,

  • cocococo Junior Member
    edited October 2006
    Thank you Sandy and Crazychick. I did a combo of what you both said- he is getting better but I had to redo the entire procedure again yesterday. The darkened pad returned and there was more pus. Thanks again for your help. Coco
  • HenmomHenmom Senior Member
    edited October 2006
    This advice has been excellent - and just in time for Averill, my 6lb barred rock hen. I've been washing the sore in chlorhexadine and dabbing occasionally with Blue Kote - and it's better, but not gone. The inflammation and tenderness are much improved, but she still has 2 swollen areas on either side of her toes. It's in the webbed area of the foot actually. Has anyone seen this and should I try to open the bumble scab on the bottom of her foot and force out the possible pus? If I do this, I may want to give her aspirin for pain, and have been told that one baby aspirin (81mg) should work. I'm nervous about medicating without solid information. Thankyou for any help with this. Henmom
  • crazychickcrazychick Senior Member
    edited October 2006
    Hi Henmom,

    It's a toss up between continuing to reopen the wound to remove pus and just wrapping the foot to try to allow it to heal. I would try, at this point, to soak the foot in running warm water, soap them up and wash them really well. Try to gently peel off the scab and, using sterile instruments (tweezers soaked in rubbing alcohol) try to remove the pus manually. Squeezing the pus out, especially if it's thick and cheesy, not only hurts the hen but it may reinfect the foot by causing undue irritation. If you cannot see any pus upon the removal of the scab OR if you have removed the pus already, then pack the wound with the sugar/iodine poultice, place the gauze over it and wrap with coflex. It is imperative the you allow the foot to heal under the cleanest possible cir***stances or it will continue to get reinfected. Bumblefoot can become a chronic infection, so it's best to allow it to heal with gauze and wraps so that it doesn't come back. As for pain medication, my poultry pathologist told me that it is safe to put 5 aspirin in 1 gallon of water, given free choice (this dosage is now everywhere on the "chicken internet"!). I have used this dosage without any problems. I cannot vouch for the baby aspirin - I have heard this dosage but I don't know if it originated from a vet or not. Another pain drug used commonly in birds is called Metacam (Meloxicam) and can be given at a dosage of 0.1 mg/kg. This is available through your vet.

  • HenmomHenmom Senior Member
    edited October 2006
    Thankyou Laura! I will take your good advice. I agree that aggressively digging in the foot may injure her more. I'll buy the supplies after work....and hope my husband will hold her like a vet tech! ;) Appreciatively, Henmom
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