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As I sit here I have my grey duck in my bathtub soaking her poor feetsies in some warm water while I search the internet to figure out how to deal with what I’ve now come to realize must be bumblefoot. Let’s go back a ways and I’ll explain. Last week I noticed Princess (she had no name til today and I decided any duck that I waste this much time on must be named Princess) was limping on one foot. She was new to the flock and I figured she must have gotten in a scrape with one of the other ducks. But last night when D.H. Ed & I were locking up the birds, I grabbed Princess to check out her foot to make sure it was okay. There was a large black scab on the bottom of her foot connected to an even larger swollen area. Looking back I”m not sure why we took the scab off, but we did and ugh! the smell! We thought there must be something in there, like a piece of wood or rock or something but what came out was a cylindrical core of foul smelling flesh, leaving behind what a puncture wound would look like. Then we flushed the wound with iodine and – not knowing how to wrap a ducks foot successfully – we sealed the wound with liquid bandage.
Today when I went to let the birds out I grabbed Princess first. The infection part seemed a little better, but the large inflated area in the middle of the foot didn’t seem to have gone down much. I also noticed that the other foot had a couple black spots too. So I brought her inside and put her in the tub with some warm salted water and started browsing the internet to find out what the heck was wrong with her. And after looking a several gross pictures and some even grosser descriptions, it seems to me that she has bumblefoot.
For more information on bumblefoot, see the following links:
Apparently, it is a bacterial infection (often caused by staph) and needs to be treated with antibiotics interally and externally. Well, it’s Saturday and the Vet was closed, and I didn’t feel comfortable administering antibiotics (even if I had some, which I don’t) without vet approval. In additition, most sites suggests hot soak with epsom salt, and VetHomopath suggests Arnica Montana and Hepar Sulph C.
SEVERAL HOURS LATER….
By the time I had decided it was definitely bumblefoot it was very late in the day. Apparently we did the right thing by pulling the “core” out of the bumble, but once I read that it was most often caused by staph I was pretty disqusted that I had put her in our tub and jepardized the health of the humans in the house. Princess spent most of the day soaking her feet in the warm water, which she seemed to enjoy, but she didn’t want me nearby (she’s new and not yet tamed) so she wouldn’t eat much. In the evening I took her out and checked out the infection. It doesn’t look promising at all. There’s black spots on the top and bottom of her feet, the largest being right in the middle of the middle bone (right over and under the swollen part). It looks pretty gross to tell you the truth and I don’t think a picture will do it justice. I had her upside down while looking at her nasty feet and she was looking at me calmly with her pretty beedy eyes…I looked back and noticed…hey, that dark grey spot around her beak seems bigger than yesterday. I looked closer and noticed the skin was peeling off where it was darkest. Oh god! I thought, her beak is rotting off!
Who knows?! I’m frustrated because I don’t. The bird is in absolutely no pain. All kinds of energy and mobility and is quite vocal. I can’t know anything until I get her to the vet on Monday. And bringing her to the Vet! Boy, is that going to piss Ed off. He’ll probably say, I’ve got a vet right here and it’s spelled A-X-E. And maybe that type of thinking isn’t so wrong. From what I read some animals are just very susceptible to bumblefoot and keep getting it! And what if she gives it to my other animals? It’s not like it’s a pet or anything, it’s supposed to be livestock and ducks are a dime a dozen – the vet costs tons more than a dime.
Anyway, after our eyes meet, I gave her some Arnica and Hepar Sulph that I had from Hyland’s Homeopathic (they are the best!). Two 30x melting tablets of each kind. Then I put Blu-Kote on her wound and on the spots on the other foot. Then, I took a little black plastic bag that I had cut open and, after inserting her foot, tightened it around her leg with electrical tape. While I was finishing up and secretly wondering if there was anyway I could safely put some Blu-Kote on her beak, I lost my grip on her and off she ran, flinging blu-kote all over the bathroom and – since I forgot to close the bathroom door – all over the hardwood floor in my bedroom. Now her name is Princess Uncle %#@! and for a bit there I was about to go get the axe myself. If you’ve ever had to deal with Blu-Kote, you’ll understand my frustration. No, it doesn’t come off. Ever. So I grab the duck finally and take her with her lovely new sanitized foot out to the hen house, which was closed up earlier by Ed. I didn’t want to set her down on the ground until I got her in the coop, just because I had spent so much time on her today and wanted to see her safely in the coop. But just as I got in the dark pasture I slipped on some mud (yes mud) and fell down, dropping the duck; who ran off. My daughter Annelise (who had come out to help) and I had to chase Princess around and when I finally could grab her I saw that the %#@! bag had torn! AAARGH! At first I felt like, great, all that work for nothing; but then I remembered, who cares? it’s just a duck and you did your best.
So I came back inside and put bleach all over the tub and tried to wipe up the blu-kote even though I already knew it was futile. And I threw away the towel I had been holding Princess with because I couldn’t bear to wash a staph infected, blu-kote drenched piece of cloth in my washing machine. Anyway, she’s in the coop now and we’ll see how it looks tomorrow but she’s staying outside until the vet tells me what’s wrong with her.
%#@! ducks. :)
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