If you’re new to raising chicken, a foot injury might seem like nothing to you. After all, chicken feet seem pretty hardy, right? Well, that’s exactly the wrong idea to have. Chicken feet injuries are actually a big deal and proper treatment is essential. Without proper treatment, your chicken would have to suffer in pain and this could often lead to them not eating or drinking. This weakens the chicken for infection and your chicken can quickly die as a consequence.
It is thus important to look out for your chickens. A change in behavior could be a strong indication of an injury. The first thing that you’d definitely need to have stocked in your farm is a good veterinary first aid kit. This is crucial as you’d have to keep their injuries clean to ensure that it doesn’t worsen or become infected.
To properly help you with taking care of your chickens, I have divided this article into the various possible injuries or illnesses that your chicken could contract and listed a quick guide on how to take care of them.
Basic Foot Injuries
With your chickens running wild around your farm, it is often easy for them to get hurt. They could step on something sharp and have their claws and feet entangled in wire and plastic. For chickens, this would be extremely painful. It might not be obvious to you at first, however, if you see your chicken hobbling around or staying stationary in a spot, this is a good sign that it’s injured. In fact, this is a good sign for any hurt in their feet.
Once an injury is discovered, it is crucial to remove any remaining objects that could be hurting it. If there’s something embedded in their feet, gently remove it with a tweezer. If wire or plastic is entangled around it, you’ll have to remove it carefully. This could require unwinding and untangling it or even using a tiny pair of scissors to cut it off. Once the object is removed, clean your chicken’s feet with antiseptic and ensure that no abscesses have formed. Due to their injury, your chicken may also not have eaten or drank recently. You should thus ensure that it has easy access to such for a while. For the next few days, you’d also want to pay close attention to that chicken to ensure that no infection or further injury occurs.
Broken Toes or Toenails
These are perhaps the most common injury for your chicken. This is especially so if your chickens are allowed to roam freely around your farm. Your chickens could easily get themselves trapped in wire and hence, cut themselves. In worse cases, their attempt to wiggle free could also cause their entire toe to be broken. Alternatively, you or anyone else on the farm may accidentally step on their feet and break their toes. In any case, these are injuries that you have to pay attention to as they can have dire consequences.
If there are any cuts or wounds, you’d definitely have to clean and dress their feet well. This is important as you want to prevent any infection from setting in. If the wound continues to bleed, you’d need to stop the bleeding before placing that chicken back with the rest. This is because chickens are attracted to red blood and the other chickens would peck and bite at the wound of the injured chicken. Cornstarch is a great and easy way to stop their bleeding. Once the bleed is stopped, you can proceed to clean and treat the wound.
This is another common injury for your chicken’s feet. Essentially, a bumblefoot is when a staph infection occurs in your chicken’s feet. In such injuries, abscesses are common and that causes immense pain for your chicken. They are, however, a good way for you to spot and see that your chicken is injured. With bumblefoot, walking hurts. Your chicken would, therefore, try to reduce the pain by either hopping on the uninjured foot or by completely not moving. This varies from chicken to chicken and that’s why you’ll have to pay close attention.
To treat bumblefoot, you might want to read even deeper into it. However, this article will also be providing a quick summary of how to treat it. For the chicken, the abscess is what is hurting it the most. As such, the end result you’d want is for that abscess to be removed. This can be done by using a specialized treatment plan that involves antiseptic wash, antibiotic cream and the usage of gauze and vet wrap on the injured foot. In essence, the antiseptic wash, gauze and vet wrap are used to keep the injury clean. This helps to prevent further injury and infection. The antibiotic cream is then used to treat the staph infection.
Splay Leg in Your Chicks
Splay or spraddle legs are basically when a chick is hatched with deformed legs. This makes it extremely hard for them to walk properly and they often end up scooting around on their tummy. In this condition, their legs are basically bent or at the wrong angles. In other circumstances, their toes could also be bent and that could evolve into splay legs too.
Early treatment for the splay leg is crucial. And luckily, treatment is also fairly simple. All you have to do is splint and secure the splayed leg of the chick. Early treatment is important because the hip joints are still growing and developing and you’d want it fixated as early as possible. Splits can be something as simple as a pipe cleaner and bandages are all you’d need to secure it to the chick. With the splint on and time, the chick will be able to fix its splayed leg and develop normally.
In essence, foot injuries in chickens can easily develop into serious and life-threatening conditions for them, not to mention the loss of appetite. Early and proper treatment is crucial to prevent that.