Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Spa Day for a Chicken

Meet Voodoo, one of our favorite chickens. She's a six month old Barred Rock, a breed which has given us some of our mellowest and most friendly hens. Our oldest hen Hera is a Barred Rock, and a real sweetie too. Voodoo however is a little more adventuresome than most, and has consistently figured out ways to defeat the chicken pen security and escape to freedom. We find her on our front lawn, with all of the other chickens clucking indignantly that they should be out to roam too (we do actually let them out to free range as much as possible, but not when we're not around the house). It was probably on one of these escapades that Voodoo hurt her foot, and we noticed that she was limping a little bit.

Then Wayne and I went out of town to the Reno Air Races with my dad, and my mom stayed with the kids. It was during this time that the foot started to swell up and get noticeably worse. From the laptop in our hotel room, I frantically started Googling "chicken foot injury" and came up horrified. Who knew that there was this dread chicken foot disease called "bumblefoot"?? Fortunately, I don't think that's what she has after looking at the foot, but Mackenzie was very panicked when it swelled way up and many of the websites talked about lancing and surgery and antibiotics.

What I did tell him to do was to go and get some epsom salts and start soaking the foot, and move her to a sterile environment indoors. So he and grandma set off to the drugstore. Unfortunately, Epsom salts have now gone designer, with all kinds of herbal addititives (gone are the days of the $3 bag of just "Epsom salts" apparently) and they came back with a scented bag of chamomile salts. So we've been joking that Voodoo is getting her twice-daily "spa treatments" at the Blue Skies Ranch, and so far the swelling on her foot has gone down almost completely and she's putting weight on it again. Another day or two and she'll be done with her little spa vacation and can go back with the other ladies and tell them all about it. I bet they'll be jealous.


Andrea said...

I hope your girl is better soon. It is so strange, I had never heard of this bumblefoot thing until today, and now I have heard it twice. I was able to give my rooster to a woman who is afraid her rooster has bumblefoot. She said two of her flock have it. I don't know a thing about it, but I hope you don't have it and your flock is well.

janasmama said...

Interesting...I will always be looking out at my hens feet now.

On the epsom salts...you can buy plain ones at the dollar store although I rarely am ever near one.

What kind of space did Voodoo get while indoors? Have you clipped her wings?

Heidi said...

We have also had trouble with one of our hen's feet... she somehow managed to break her middle toe and it was bending at a very disturbing angle. We took her to the vet and she put the foot into a "cast" of sorts - a cardboard base that her foot was taped in the correct position to in order for it to heal. She was not happy about the cast and her foot never did heal correctly but it doesn't seem to bother her (at least not as much as the cast did) so we just let her be. Penny is also our most feisty hen.