On a busy Saturday I was micro-chipping our chickens together with 3 volunteers.
Every chicken we held got a careful examination. We made sure we inspect everything, this way we wouldn’t miss anything. Because it is dangerous for prey animals to show weakness, chickens specialize in hiding their injuries and pains. It is vital that we catch it BEFORE they show symptoms. One of the chickens we examined was chicken Bigfoot. As you may have guessed, her problem was a foot that had swollen so much we now call her Bigfoot. But funny as that may be, her foot infection was not.
She has something we call bumble foot. It happens a lot, especially in chickens that were bred to be eaten after 6 weeks old. Bigfoot was saved from this fate, and she is one and a half years old! That is almost unheard of. 99% of these kind of “broiler” chickens do not live to see another day past those 6 weeks. They are bred to grow as fast and fat as possible, and as they age beyond those 6 week many problems pop up. One of those is bumble foot. Part of the problem is that Bigfoot is such a big girl, it strains her little feet. Her feet are not designed to hold that much weight, and as a result she got an infection.
The Vet Visit
On to the vet we go! She was not happy about her vet visit and glared at us angrily. The vet gave us antibiotics to give twice a day, and instructed us to soak her feet in diluted betadine water and to keep it clean. Yes sir! By this point Bigfoot was starting to realize we were trying to help her. Instead of trying to run away flapping, she sat still when we opened her cage, and waited for us to pick her up. No longer was chicken Bigfoot suspicious of us, but when we tried to reassure her by petting her, she’d close her eyes and enjoy it. I could swear she would purr if she could.
As we cared for her every day, and her foot began to improve, she blossomed into this beautiful chicken. Happy to see us, relaxing in her warm foot bath and receiving our affection with pleasure. Soon she’ll be healed and we will let her out to be with her flock once more. We will miss her presence in our break room, but she showed us how kind and sweet chickens can be if we give them a reason to.
Please give all chickens in the world a reason to love you too, and don’t eat them. Bigfoot thanks you.