Monday, 30 July 2012

British Hen Welfare Trust

The British Hen Welfare Trust, as well as being a fantastically worthwhile organisation, also has a page on veterinary assistance for hens. After my recent blogging about our visits with the vet, I thought I'd include a link.  The work the trust does is absolutely brilliant, so if you have five minutes have a look through their site x

Battery hen farming is VILE and these girls deserve all the help they can get.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Bumble Foot - part 2

The vet's appointment was very productive.

I bundled Betty & Mabel into their wicker carrier and headed off to our appointment. The receptionist wasn't sure what bumble foot was.  As popular as backyard chicken keeping currently is in the UK, hens are not a regular at veterinary clinics and consultations are often an amalgamation of chicken keeper experience and veterinary knowledge.

The vet was very receptive to my internet babble, as she looked at the girls' feet.  Betty's black plug was more raised than Mabel's, rather like a scab on your knee when it's ready to come off, raised and puffy.  When she pulled it off there was, as text books would have it, cheesy cream-like pus and blood.

She said that Betty's feet seemed worse but Mabel was the one who was limping.  Bet's other foot and both of Mabel's were not as forthcoming, so the vet left them and suggested I remove them at home. 

As bumble foot is a bacterial infection (it seems to involve bacteria that live quite normally on the outside of the foot which get inside through a cut or damaged foot) the girls had antibiotic injections and an antiseptic wash to be used twice a day.  Mabel also had some pain killers, to be administered orally (fun!) as she was obviously finding one of her feet quite sore to walk on.

The girls behaved themselves, mostly.  Betty lay down on the table and considered a nap, Mabel stared at her surroundings and tried to eat the needle as the vet injected her. She has been labeled 'feisty' by the vet and I'm sure they've marked her card 'trouble maker' for future reference.

When we arrived home, I settled down to remove the remaining plugs.  I didn't use a blade, I donned gloves and eased the edge of the plugs up and pulled them off.  I was surprised to discover that one of Mabel's and the remaining one of Bet's had no hole or pus under it.  Mabel's other one bled but no gloop came out.  I am totally confused about whether this is a good or a bad sign.

Mabel's foot the day after the vet's visit.
Minus black plug and three antiseptic washes under our belts.
All four feet were cleaned with the antiseptic wash and washed with water after 10 minutes.  This is repeated twice a day.  We're back to the vets on Friday for another antibiotic injection.

My preferred chicken grappling position for foot cleaning.
And in case you're wondering, the oral pain killers took over 5 minutes to administer and I ended up wearing quite a lot of it.


Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Bumble Foot!

Gaahh, I can't believe it!  I've never had to deal with it before, I secretly hoped I wouldn't have to. 

Mabel AND Betty have, what looks to be the early stages of bumble foot.  I'm devastated.  There are many horror stories of how to deal with it yourself on the net, none of which I fancy undertaking, so I'm off to the vets tomorrow to see what they have to say.  Obviously if it comes to the crunch, then I will do what I have to but I won't be looking forward to it!

Bet has been a little off colour of late, I had thought it was due to her early moult but then I noticed that Lucy was attacking Mabel's head.  Mabel is at the top of the pecking order and Lucy at the bottom, so I knew something was a foot but I didn't think it would be literally!  

I had a quick check of Mabel, as chickens will attack sick of injured flock mates. She was a little bit not herself as she has just been broody but otherwise she seemed to be in good health.  I was puzzled somewhat until I noticed her slightly limping and checked her feet.

Mabel's bumble foot.  Notice the tell tale black 'plug' on the pad of her foot.
(Excuse Mabel's soggy undercarriage.  She'd been cooling off in a bath, it's very hot in the UK at the moment!)

Bumble foot, on BOTH feet!  When I checked the others I found out Betty has it also, again on both feet.

I have no idea what could have caused it.  Rough perches, impact damage from jumping from high places (unlikely with these two) hurting their feet on something sharp or rough.  None of these issues spring to mind, the perches are smooth, they don't leave the ground hardly at all, the garden is safe and well tended for the girls.  Both feet, on both of them, I mean it's not like it's catching.  I am at a loss.

I will keep you updated on their hopefully non-invasive treatment and progress x