After our discovery of Bumblefoot and talking chickens with our chicken mentor, Debra, we decided that we would schedule monthly chicken inspections. Lauren is our resident chicken expert so anytime we need to know what’s going on, she is in her chicken books reading what she can on how to treat different ailments, conditions, etc.

Our chicken inspection tool kit includes the following:

  • Clean towel (for holding the chickens during inspection). This is especially useful if we need to remove new bumblefoot infections.
  • Clean rag (for cleaning the chickens’ feet)
  • Dental pik (for removing bumblefoot scabs and picking the wound clean)
  • Exacto knife (for bumblefoot)
  • Container of soapy water (for cleaning feet)
  • Container of vegetable oil (for the chickens’ feet)
  • Apple cider vinegar (for cleaning wounds, if necessary)
  • Hand balm (for blisters on the wattle and comb)
  • Nail clippers (for clipping the beak, if necessary)
  • Cotton balls and q-tips

When we do our inspections, we are inspecting the chicken from head to toe…starting with the feet.

Feet

  • Look for any signs of scabs on the bottom of the foot. If you see any, this is the beginning of bumblefoot and must be removed. You can read about how to clean bumblefoot in this post.
  • Dip feet in a container of vegetable oil. If a chicken’s foot dries out, the scales on its feet can slightly separate allowing mites and other critters to get underneath the scales causing problems for the chicken. To prevent this, dip each foot in a container of vegetable oil. This suffocates the pests and puts moisture back into the feet.

Feathers

  • Make sure that the chicken’s bottom is clean of dingleberries (poop stuck in the feathers). If the feathers are dirty or sticking to the rump, use scissors to cut those feathers away to keep the area clean. No worries, they will grow back.

Wattle & Comb

  • Check for blisters on the wattle. If there are any, using a q-tip or your finger, rub some of the hand balm (or petroleum jelly) over the blemish.

Beak

  • In some breeds (like the Sultans or Polish), their beaks may need to be trimmed. For some reason their beaks can grow unevenly (perhaps they can’t see well enough through the poofy feathers on their heads and don’t forage like they should). At any rate, their beaks may need to be trimmed.

There may be other things that need to be done during an inspection. These are the ones that we’re doing right now. Generally, just carefully look over each chicken. If you see something different or out of place, then see if you can fix it. It may mean doing a little bit of research, but it’s better to have a healthy chicken than a sickly one.

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