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Los Angeles Urban Chicken Enthusiasts Message Board › Swollen feet - mites?

Swollen feet - mites?

Gardenerd
Gardenerd
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 23
New issue today. Our barred rock has swollen feet - both of them. We've pretty much ruled out bumble foot, since it's both feet and we can't find anything stuck in her feet. Could this be mites? Gout? What else?

There are 4 pictures - two from the top and two from underneath.











Is there a way to treat this without a vet? Any help would be appreciated.
Vickie
Spinster_Sister
Hawthorne, CA
Post #: 200
http://www.squidoo.co...­

once they are over the leg mites, you can use the scaley leg protector spray on their roosts, bedding...I use the poultry protector in my hen's housing/nest box/roosts and love it!
Leanne
user 11879008
Long Beach, CA
Post #: 83


Is there a way to treat this without a vet? Any help would be appreciated.

Could she have injured her feet hoping off a high roost or high perch in the yard? That would be my first guess. Or does she spend much time on a wire floor? These two things can be hard on the feet of heavy breeds. I would isolate her where she doesn't have to step down off of anything until you know what is causing it, and to give her a chance to heal. Plus, it would give you the opportunity to make sure she doesn't develop any other contagious symptoms.

It doesn't look like the photos I have seen of scaly leg mites, especially since her hocks are so smooth looking in the photos. Usually there is lifting of the scales or crustiness on the legs when mites are present, but it doesn't hurt to treat her for it.

There are other diseases that swollen feet are a symptom of, but the majority of them have additional symptoms. Does the hen have any other symptoms, like drop in egg production, increase thirst, diarrhea, less appetite, ruffled feathers, reluctance to move, or others? A vet is probably necessary if she doesn't improve, has any other symptoms besides just foot swelling, and if you rule out leg mites.

Contagious poultry diseases that cause swollen feet include Staphylococcic Arthritis, Infectious Synovitis, and Avian Cholera (it goes by other names including Avian Pasteurellosis, roup, endemic fowl cholera.) Avian Cholera can be spread by a variety of things including wild birds with access to the chicken's feed, rodents, shoes, used equipment, and more.

I hope she improves very soon.

Edited to add: I just noticed your other post about your Barnevelder with diarrhea. I would recommend you take them both to a vet.
A former member
Post #: 61
I have had scaley leg mites on hens many times, tends to afflicte the older hens, and this photo is definitely not mites. The scales on the legs become very raised with a thick accretion accumulating underneath. This is the residue that protects the mite as it burrows in. They are difficult to get rid of once established, as the pest is protected by the scales and residue. Ivermectin by injection or oral dose will gradually kill them off. Coating the legs of the afflicted birds DAILY with petroleum jelly also works, but you must do it for weeks, not the few days some information suggests!! Also, coat the night perches. Some old time manuals suggest nastier concoctions like diesel fuel, kerosene, or linseed oil, but this seems toxic and more appealing to human senses of "the stronger the medicine the better the result" theories. I wonder if she has heart/circulation problems, as humans manifest these issues with what is called "dependent edema" or swelling in the legs caused by insufficiency of the heart pumping, so fluids back up in the extremities. Just a thought....
Gardenerd
Gardenerd
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 24
I guess you can't see it in the picture (somewhat in the third one) but she does have scales lifting from her feet and legs. We're implementing the oil dipping treatment, and we'll see how it goes. I did read about edema and it didn't seem like a match, but I'll keep the option open if this doesn't work.

She's walking normally, just a little slow - which makes it easier to catch her for dipping.
A former member
Post #: 77
My hen once had a swollen foot. Luckily it was on just one leg and I figured it was from the roosting pole, because that side (tree branch) had something small sticking out. After a quick online search I dressed the pole with insulation pipe and she got better and better until she was back to normal about a week or so later.

They cost about $1 at Home Depot. Link to insulation pipes and link to the specific pipe I got.

She also had scales lifting, but I ruled out mites because it wasn't black underneath the scale, just lifting. (I think that was the reason.) I suppose scales lift when leg is swollen.

I did the dipping regardless but what cured her swollen leg and limping was adding the insulation pipe. Technically it doesn't have to be this pipe. Anything comfortable that can be wrapped around the roosting pole will do.

It is nice that you and others ask questions and try the DYI before running to the vet. It helped me understand better--great for both preventive measures and for cures--and saves on vet bills for things that are more serious.

For example, my hen went quiet one day last week, was kind of hiding and had small/running poo--a big warning sign that something is off. She was also going through a moult while going broody, which put her in a weak position. (Moulting can be natural but also be due to sickness.) I though she was eating because at night her crop was full. Problem is that her crop was also full in the morning, meaning she wasn't digesting it. I massaged her crop in the evening and the next day it was empty. She is now back to normal. I realized that lately I was a bit rushed and haven't fine-cut some of the snacks. Another reason to be careful.
A former member
Post #: 78
Oh I should mention that I could have changed it to a thicker and smoother tree branch, but figured making it more comfortable will heal her faster short-term and prevent future problems long-term, so I just kept it.

If the hen is heavy, she is pressing against her legs the whole night. Same goes if hen is light but legs are weak due to sickness, lack of calcium, or age. Too complicated. It was easier to just keep it on and replace every few months if it wears out.
Vickie
Spinster_Sister
Hawthorne, CA
Post #: 203
Thanks Marty for the tip on making their poles more comfortable.
A former member
Post #: 63
Still, don't think it is scaley leg mites. The mites generally begin the infestation at the farthest extremity of the toes and work their way up, till the whole foot and shank of the leg can be infested. The underside area, for lack of scale coverings, is not as afflicted. But between the toes a cruddy accretion from the mite activity can form. The pads themselves do not get bulbous as your hen appears, and the scales lifting is dramatic. Individual scales become raised like the hood of a car, attached at the rear, and thick, yellowish deposits that look a little like moistened corn meal. Look for photos on-line. Rubbing in the petroleum jelly is a smothering treatment, cutting off the air needed by the mites. That is why the gooey, retentive property is helpful, v.s. dipping in a oil that rapidly sheds. You rub the PJ against the scales growth direction, to fully push it up under the scales. I talked to a poultry professor at UC Davis a few years ago about this and this was her advice.
Gardenerd
Gardenerd
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 25
I just wanted to post an update on Polly's feet. I took her to the vet on Thursday last week and the doctor said that it looked like it could be an out-of-the-ordinary manifestation of bumble foot or a systemic joint infection that "dropped down to her feet". She has nothing stuck in her foot, no lesions anywhere, so specific points of entry noticeable by the vet, which led to that conclusion.

The vet lanced her feet, drained a tremendous amount of pus (gross), cleaned out the wounds and bandaged them. Saturday morning, we took her back and they removed the bandages.

We are now administering oral antibiotics and pain medication 2x per day, and giving her Betadine foot soaks 2x per day. We have also been instructed to keep her isolated from the other girls, off dirt (and on something soft like a doubled up blanket or foam) for 3-4 weeks. So that's what we're doing. (All this for a $20 chicken!) I am guessing that her rate of recovery is going to be faster and she'll be back with the other girls before long.

Since we couldn't afford to pay for a cytology report, we don't really know what happened, but we're being more diligent about cleaning the coop and dusting with DE and putting ACV in the water from now on, in case it was some kind of parasite-related infection. Lesson learned.

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