Bumblefoot and other Quackery

It’s always an adventure of some sort around here!

Several days ago, we noticed that one of our white Pekin ducks was limping, and she had blood on her back. We picked her up and examined her body and her feet, but we could not locate the source of the blood nor the cause of her limping. We refilled the kiddie pool with fresh water and put her in it. Quickly, she cleaned herself off and then waddled into her coop.

She has continued to limp and has been mostly sitting quietly in the coop, even when her girlfriends went outside to explore and splash. She has continued to eat and drink, which is a good sign.

So last night we picked her up to look at her feet again, and y’all, the bottom of her left foot was all swollen and had a big nasty scab on it. Gross. (You can keep reading. No pictures of this part.) This cut was the source of the earlier blood, but we have no idea how she got it from her foot to her back. ???

I looked up the duck forum on www.backyardchickens.com, and within minutes, I learned that she has bumblefoot, and that it is treatable. Basically, bumblefoot occurs when a chicken or duck cuts its foot and the laceration becomes infected. If you want to read all about it and see some pictures, you can check out this article from “Fresh Eggs Daily” for how to treat it conventionally, or this article from the same blog about how to treat it naturally.  Normally, we are all about the natural alternative, but in this case the gathering of supplies would have been quite arduous, so we went with conventional.

While I was at work, John made a trip to town and bought the necessary first aid supplies. When I arrived home, he was cleaning out a large Rubbermaid tub, which we filled with several inches of warm water and Epsom salts. I picked up the poor girl and set her in the tub, where I held her for fifteen long minutes. She was easy enough, it was just boring.

(Please notice that I am wearing a plexiglass face mask.  While working with the ducks one day last summer, one of them splashed me in the face with dirty pool water.  I was sick for five days.  Eventually had to go to urgent care for IV fluids and anti nausea medication. That won’t happen again if I can help it.)

After soaking her foot (and her) in the warm Epsom salt water, I took her into the operating theatre/utility room in the shop so that “Dr. Craig” could attend to her.  John gently peeled off the scab.  Fortunately, the flesh underneath looks healthy.  He sprayed her foot with vetericin, which is reported to kill 99.99% of all sorts of germs.

Next, he sprayed gauze with the vetericin, placed it on her foot, and then wrapped the foot and the gauze in some snazzy spring green vet tape. (Thank you, Honey, for not bringing home the camo vet tape.)

The article in “Fresh Eggs Daily” said that this entire treatment is only slightly uncomfortable for the duck, and we found this to be true.  She was remarkably calm for all the treatment. Much calmer, I might add, than a chicken would have been.

Per said article, we placed her in a dog crate overnight to keep her still and clean. Who would’ve guessed that one crate would, over time, contain various dogs, chickens, a duck, and even one rambunctious baby goat?


The patient resting quietly in her private quarters.

I think this is going to be “wash, rinse, and repeat twice daily” for a few days.

Meanwhile, some of her girlfriends are asking about her.

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