Backyard ducks: bumblefoot

Asked July 7, 2020, 5:58 PM EDT

I think two of my ducks may have bumblefoot. I have concerns about the appropriate way to treat them. It doesn't seem severe, but it's always best to get ahead of these things. Our ducks are free ranging, and our yard is mostly grass/weeds/dirt. I suspect the damage to their feet might be related to the concrete patio (although it is quite smooth) or their coop. Their coop has a pool in it, but it is surrounded by 1/4" hardware cloth, and the ramp/door of the coop is also hardware cloth. They walk in and out of the coop regularly, so I think it might be too abrasive for their feet? 2 or 3 of the 4 ducks have what look like minor symptoms, and we've caught them standing on one foot more regularly. Any advice would be appreciated.

Marion County Oregon

5 Responses

I don't think it looks like bumblefoot but there are definite sores on the bottom of the foot.
See the article from DuckDVM on bumblefoot -
Prevention is important. Can you include photos of your set up? This would include the coop, pool, and ramp. It would help in making recommendations.

Thank you Dr. for your rapid reply! Good to know you don't think it's bumblefoot. How can you tell the difference between regular sores and bumblefoot? The lesions I am observing are very similar to your linked article, and it would be great to know if there is a characteristic distinction.
I've attached an image of the coop/ramp/pool. There aren't really any sharp edges, but it's not the softest thing to walk on. I plan to coat the floor with some rubberized coating to make it less abrasive.

Interesting looking pen. Very nice. I don't think that the wire of the ramp or pen would hurt the foot unless there are sharp edges. Check the surrounding area to make sure there are no bits of wire or nails lying around that could be the problem.
Most bumblefoot involves the footpad and shown in some of the photos on the website I recommended.
You definitely have sores that have become infected though. I would follow the general instructions for treating bumblefoot on the website since the treatment would be pretty much the same. You just may not have a necrotic plug that it refers to. You should definitely change the water in the pond as well during this time. Looks pretty muggy in the photograph.

That's good to hear!
The water is definitely filthy in that picture. We change the water every day, so this pic was taken right before the water change. Four ducks can muck up a tub like that in a hurry! The coop is mobile so we can move it around and we drain the murky duck water onto our orchard trees and garden. But because it's mobile, we had to have a strong floor to protect from raccoons (lots in our area).
I will try the epsom salt soaks, and bandage their feet, as well as do more inspections of their environment and see if the problem persists. Thank you!

Your welcome. Good luck. Hope the wounds heal well.