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Why is my chicken Limping

Bumblefoot: How To Treat Sick Chicken Naturally At Home

by Helen
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How To Treat Bumblefoot In Chickens Naturally

First, let me start by saying I am not a doctor nor a chicken specialist.  This bumblefoot treatment worked for my hen so I am paying it forward to others.  Please note there are ways to treat bumblefoot in chickens naturally when in early stage bumblefoot chicken.  Also, just because you have limping chicken does not mean bumblefoot.

How We Treated Bumblefoot Infection Naturally

First of all, I noticed my chicken limping.  Also, she separated herself from the rest of the flock because she could not keep up with them. Since I keep a close eye on my girls and BamBam – the rooster because chickens are good at hiding when they are ill.

You may think a chicken limping means your hen has an injury to the foot or leg, but it can be a symptom of other causes.

The cause of a hen's limp may be easy to see a chicken swollen foot not bumblefoot, limping on a leg, laying down, or dragging a leg; there may be visible reasons why you have a chicken limping. But often, there are no visible signs, and it can take some effort to identify why your bird is limping.  First, there are many reasons you may have chicken limping.  For example, a sprained ankle, a cut, severe infestation of leg mites, and a limping chicken is not always bumblefoot.

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woman and chicken

Bumblefoot Chicken Not Injury

Bumblefoot (also known as Pododermatitis) is a staph infection.  Bumblefoot is pretty common, as a chicken keeper and raising backyard chickens, it is one of those things you will encounter at some point; this was another chicken adventure that I was not prepared to deal with.  In addition, I discovered how to treat bumblefoot in hens naturally with herbs and essential oils; it is by far the easiest and more successful route to take.  As a chicken keeper, we have to be prepared for those unforeseen situations that randomly pop up.  Therefore, I made a chicken first-aid kit.  This was my first case to treat bumblefoot, and the treatment I followed was easy and it worked like a charm.  Since I had great success, I want to share it with you!  By the way, I always take the natural path first.

How To Prevent Bumblefoot

First, chickens require a well-balanced diet to avoid any vitamin deficiencies and prevent obesity; both are the more common reasons that put them at risk of contracting bumblefoot.  Moreover, laying hens need layer feed that has the vitamins and minerals they need plus additional calcium sources, such as crushed oyster shells or eggshells.  Also, calcium should be available to them at all times; they know when they need more calcium.  We love to give our chickens treats, but we know it should not constitute more than 10% of their daily diet to avoid obesity in your hens.

Chicken Injuries

Furthermore, repetitive jumping from their roosts, splinters, scratching, and jumping off their perch is what typically starts the process of bumblefoot due to thinning of the outer skin of the footpad. Therefore, their roost should be splinter-free and less than 18 inches from the floor.  Plus, make sure to keep the coop litter clean and dry at all times. Also, using sand in the coop and run helps keep the area dry, and scooping chicken feces is a lot easier, bacterial growth is less likely to occur.   Last, the sand attaches to chicken droppings, and it prevents it from getting on your chickens' feet.

What Is Bumblefoot

Let’s start at the root of the problem—what on earth is bumblefoot, anyhow? Bumblefoot—or Pododermatitis—occurs when the staphylococcus bacteria enter the skin of the foot through a scrape, cut, or injury on the foot itself. It then gets worse, creates an infection, and if left untreated can cause major issues including death, should the infection spread. At this point, you may have a limping chicken,

First of all, this is an extremely common issue, chickens naturally use their feet to scratch the ground, which is a heavy, dirty muddy area, and jump from their roost onto wood floors or rocks.  Therefore, if you notice your hen limping check her out as soon as possible.

Symptom Checker For Bumblefoot – My Chicken Is Limping

According to Poultry DVM, typically during the first stages of bumblefoot you should look for are small superficial lesion, rough abrasion, or some mild discoloring, swelling, or redness, and can even manifest itself as a black scab on the bottom of the chicken's foot.   Don't fret just yet, we can fix this easily!  The easiest and safest way to treat your hen's bumblefoot infection is to treat the area naturally with Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils, Herbs, and Epsom Salt.  Although, early-stage bumblefoot chicken is easier to treat.

How To Treat Bumblefoot In Chickens Naturally

To point out, there are different ways to treat bumblefoot.  My preference is to treat the infection naturally which is quite simple and non-invasive.  The other option is to perform surgery on your hen and remove the infection.

First Make A Disinfectant Spray

Disinfecting & Healing Spray:
  1. In a 2 oz. amber or BPA-free plastic spray bottle pour 1 oz. of distilled o or purified water
  2. 1 tsp. of Colloidal Silver
  3.  1 drop of lavender essential oil and 1 drop of tea tree Essential oil, if you have Frankincense add 1 drop of it.  If you don't that's okay.

Option 1:  Use Essential Oils & Fractionated Coconut Oil

If you catch the infection before it goes into full-blown bumble infection which is stage 3-5, the fastest route to healing will be essential oils.  Once, bumblefoot gets to stage 3 and above it may not be so easy to treat your hen without having to perform surgery on the infected area.

  • Add 1 drop of each of these essential oils tea tree, oregano, and lavender to a small bowl with 6 drops of fractionated coconut oil or solid coconut oil.
  • Rub the infected area with the oil mixture liberally, then re-bandage the foot with medical wrap, make sure not to put it on too tight but tight enough that it won't come off easily, then release your hen.
  • Replace the bandage every evening before she goes to roost, so that the oils can absorb into her foot throughout the night.
  • Re-dress throughout the day as needed, but that will be up to you and how aggressive the infection is.

How To Treat Bumblefoot In Chickens Naturally Option 2: Essential Oils, Epsom Salt & Soak The Chickens Foot - This Is What I Did

Furthermore, how to treat bumblefoot in chickens naturally may sound complicated but it is rather easy.  If you catch the infection before it goes into a full-blown bumble which is stage 3-5, the fastest route to healing will be essential oils.

  • Add 1 drop of each of these essential oils tea tree, oregano, and lavender to a small bowl
  • 6 drops of fractionated coconut oil.
  • 1/4 cup of Epsom Salt
  • and fill a plastic container with very warm water – we want to make sure the Epsom salt dissolves. ***NOT so hot it burns your chicken.

Soak the infected foot in the water for at least a half-hour.  Then gently work around the black scab (gently pushing the skin away from black dot) remove it without making it bleed. If when you try to remove the scab but it doesn't want to pop semi-easily, soak foot for another 5, or 10 minutes. Eventually, you will be able to pull out the black scab.

TIP: I wrapped my hen with a towel then laid her on her back on my legs with her feet exposed.

Once you remove the gunk, pour some colloidal silver on the open wound then spray it with the essential oil your mixture.  Then put some sterile gauze on the injury, wrap the foot with medical wrap, make sure not to wrap it too tight but tight enough that it won't come off easily, then release your hen.

Spray the essential oil mixture on your hen's foot every time you replace the bandage, replace the bandage every evening before she goes to night night. My hen was walking pretty good after a couple of days. Re-dress throughout the day as needed, but that will be up to you and how aggressive the infection is.

Finally, this is the one I don't like and have not tried. Ugh!

Surgical Removal of Severe Bumblefoot

Your next level of treatment is surgery.

  • Sterilize a very sharp knife or scalpel with vodka or alcohol.
  • Make a small incision in the shape of an “X” on the foot where the infection is
  • Squeeze out all of the infection by applying pressure to the infected area, like your popping a pimple.
  • Flush the hole with a solution of 1 tbs. Manuka or Raw Honey, and 1-2 tbsp of water, 1 tsp of colloidal silver. The raw honey is a natural antibacterial.
  • Add 1 drop of each of these essential oils tea tree, oregano, and lavender to a small bowl with 6 drops of fractionated coconut oil.
  • Apply to the foot to cleanse and disinfect the area.

Wrap the foot and allow it to heal, applying the essential oils once a day until the hole is completely closed, or closed enough that nothing will get into the wound.

No matter which method you decide to go with, offer your chickens thyme, oregano, and astragalus in their waterers on a daily basis to help boost their immune system response to the infection and speed up the healing process.

Also, you can make a calendula healing salve out chamomile, calendula, and your favorite essential oils to help alleviate the pain and heal the foot.

Using Essential Oils With Chickens

We keep essential oils on hand at all times around the homestead. Herbs and essential oils truly are a lifestyle for us. But let me assure you that not all essential oils are made the same. There are a few brands that I trust, but I only use Doterra. Make sure you are using high-quality oils with your animals. Please read the label; you want 100% Therapeutic-Grace Essential Oils – No synthetics or perfumes.

The takeaway, get to know your hens; observe them so when something is amiss you will identify it immediately.  Additionally, be prepared and put together a chicken first aid kit, for unforeseen injuries or illness.


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