Chicken people - treating bumblefoot?

As a first time chicken owner, this is my first encounter with bumblefoot. I know at least one hen in my flock has it. I’ve scoured youtube videos and the backyard chicken forum and have a good handle on treatment options…but really? Is it that labor/time intensive? Not to sound callous (and the reason I’m posting here and not backyard chickens) is I don’t have the time or energy to dedicate to nightly (assuming it’d be way easier after they roost) soaking and wrapping of an uncooperative chicken’s foot. Hoof abscesses are bad enough, but at least my horses behave during treatment :rofl:

It seems like it HAS to be treated, so please tell me there’s an easier way? My chickens are friendly enough in the sense they run up to me for treats, but don’t let me touch them or hold them without throwing a fit…this just sounds like a nightmare to treat. Advice?

Once you can catch them, even the feistiest bird becomes easy to handle once you flip them onto their backs.
So treating the access that bumblefoot is, becomes no more chore than treating a horse.
Grab hen, put her upside down on your lap & treat.

For funsies:
DH taught me to “hypnotize” a chicken by flipping it on to its back or side, then drawing a straight line with your finger in a line leading away from the beak.
They’ll stay put for some time after you do this.


I have only modest experience with it, but here goes.
Clean the coop very well, put down fresh shavings
Set up a bucket of warm epsom salt water
Get a ratty towel, latex gloves, vet wrap already torn into modest strips, and your wound potion of choice.
Corner and grab hen, use the towel to sorta securely wrap her up with her feet out.
Sit on a bucket and stick the foot in the water.
Listen to NPR for 10 minutes.
Check the plug- can you loosen it from her foot?
No? Foot back in the water.
5 more minutes of NPR
Check plug again, it’ll likely be removable (see why you’re wearing gloves?)
Dry it with towel.
Dab it with your potion of choice.
Wrap with vetwrap well enough, but not so snug as to hurt her circulation.

Rewrap in 3-4 days then discard the wrap.

If she loses the wrap - meh- you cleaned her pen well, she’ll be fine.


I’ve seen people on facebook take a tupperware tub and cut a lil hole, just big enough for a chicken neck, that essentially traps them to soak! Still takes some time, but at least less wrangling and frees your hands up.


You shouldn’t have to soak it more than once? Unless it’s that old, “Just keep soaking it every day and eventually it will clear up!” advice that makes no sense because chickens don’t really work that way. When they have bumblefoot, that pus is HARD, it won’t just pop like on a horse.

Do you have a wire dog crate? I’m sure most of us have various sizes of wire crates. Find your smallest one that will hold your chicken patient, or however many you find are afflicted. Then find a tub bigger than your crate, at least a few inches deep. Or your bathtub, whatevs. Put the crate in the tub without the floor pan, fill the container up about 3-4" with your epsom salt water, and chuck the chicken(s) in. Let em soak half an hour or whatever, then their feets should be clean and ready to go.

Then you just open up the site (pull it off or use a scalpel, whatever necessary), get that hard pus all out, rinse it, pack it full of Neosporin (without pain relief, chickens can’t have lidocaine), stick a guaze on and wrap with some narrow vetrap and you’re done.

Do wear gloves and bleach the crate and tub after since bumblefoot is staph.


Not sure where you’re located, but do make sure that it’s bumblefoot and isn’t frostbite. I’m in Ontario where we’ve been having some very cold weather, and a few chicken people have posted on Facebook asking “is this bumblefoot”, but their birds actually have frostbitten feet that are blistering.


This is brilliant! This is why I came to you guys, I knew you’d have an easier way to tackle this :slight_smile:

Some of the videos I’ve watched say to wrap daily anywhere from a week to a month - but it sounds like that’s unnecessary?

@2DogsFarm I have to admit, I’m a little excited to try the chicken hypnosis trick!

@GoodTimes We’ve had some subzero temps, but the one I am sure has it has the telltale black scab on the bottom of her foot.

Another unrelated question…the same one with bumblefoot is molting badly right now and I noticed she can’t fly onto the tallest roost…could it have something to do with missing feathers or could she have an injured wing? These damn chickens sure know how to keep me on my toes :rofl:


How high is the roost?
Sometimes when they’re molting they can feel pretty crummy. Takes a lot of energy out of them.
Also wondering if the bumble foot is the result of injuring the foot jumping down from a high roost.

I’d have to measure but I’d guess 2’ max, there’s one about 1’ next to it that they usually jump on first and then hop up to the taller one. Same for getting down. Last night she slept in a nesting box instead.

That isn’t very high, so I doubt the initial injury/bumblefoot is from that. But it may be bothering her enough now that she doesn’t want to hop up and down.

Are any of the other chickens picking on her? Some of them can be nasty if they notice someone isn’t feeling 100%.

Sorry, I don’t post much on weekends.

I don’t think daily changes are really necessary unless she gets it off daily. I’d leave the first one on a couple days, then check it, maybe wash it off, and wrap again. Probably leave the second one on for three or four days and then, depending on what it looks like, she should be good to go.

Is she a big heavy large fowl chicken? I end up with some bumblefoot in mine occasionally, but they’re heavy and I figure that’s probably the main cause since their roost is really low (because they’re heavy :laughing:)

As far as her not flying to the highest roost, could be a few different things, but wouldn’t worry me much. Maybe lack of feathers, maybe she tweaked a wing, maybe she knows her foot hurts when she comes down and doesn’t want as high of a drop. Nothing much to be done for any of those scenarios.

No, she is the Queen hen :rofl: and is still picking on everyone else, despite her feeling crummy!

@Mosey_2003 That sounds manageable! It’s supposed to warm up into the 50’s tomorrow so I’m going to tackle it then. Didn’t feel like messing with it in the snow and frigid temps we had over the weekend.

Yes, they’re all big, heavy birds so that could certainly be part of it. They also free range and love scratching up the pebble landscaped areas of the yard, so she could have easily cut it on a rock or something too. Who knows!