My limping chicken – has a broken toe

Oh no, September 30, 2013 ….who do I see slowly limping through the greenhouse to where the chickens were fed in the mornings – one of my sweet buttercup hens17 months old. I pick her up and sure enough, without too much swelling, the front part of her middle left toe seems”loose” no sign of open would and i can’t see any evidence of the dreaded bumble foot, another cause for limping chickens.

I set her up with straw bedding, food and water inside the box that was my first brooder, has served as a place for misbehaving roosters, roosters to be shipped in the morning, broody hens, broody breaker and now – hospital.

How long till she gets better? Will it get infected and should I put her on antibiotics? Should I put on a splint? –  were just some of the questions. Mostly I worried about missing bumble foot, but it really did look like a fracture.

The reason to keep her protected is only to help it heal and keep her are pain free as possible – including that i did not want her to be chased by roosters.

It is now October 9, and last night, for the first time, I thought maybe she was feeling better as she volunteered a tentative step with that foot. Until that time – she really really tried to stay off it. It swelled up a lot in the first 2 days, all the way up to the upper toe  joint, and today was the first time i had the impression that the swelling was less except for the pain break area. I had been worried it was getting infected, but also recall just how much swelling there is with “just” injury.

Each day, to clean her cage and to have her be around a couple of other chickens – i took her out…which she loved even if she mostly ended up standing around on 1 fo0t after a while. Today, 9-10 days later, she actually walked, even though still limping, for a few steps and tried to dust bathe and scratch.

After 5 days I had made her a splint (cardboard, cotton and vet-wrap). She “lost” the first one after a couple of hours …didn’t like it. I made another one …included wrapping it around her leg …took a few more hours but she worked to get it off …so I thought: no chicken in nature would get a splint, she is already getting protection – heal baby, heal.

I did give her some reiki type energy while she was sitting on my lap for a few days though.

Will update more later, but today I am encouraged that she will be ok, even with a slightly bumpy joint and a little crookedness of that toe. Somewhere I read that it takes 3 weeks and after that it won’t get much better. I think that is probably a fair assessment given how fast chickens heal from physical injury.

She also started to molt …and I will continue some high protein and Vitamin B treats. (ie – eggs and egg yolk)

For the first time today she came to the front of the cage pretty fast wanting to go out with the other chickens. This is her sitting in the afternoon.

October 10, 10 days later  – afternoon – extensive dust bath …good for her.


October 11 – this morning Cinderella -broken toe lost her shoe buttercup – must have felt very ready to be out there with the flock – and made her way out the box when I tried to put the feed in. All went well, slight limp, but she eventually found her way to the roost in the hangout. A couple of hours later – all well still but then I heard a “kafaffel” and she was fighting with one of the Andalusian hens ….I did notice that when you keep them  too separate for too long, there might be some re-figuring out the pecking order. I scooped her up and she is back in the box…she was not happy with that – and i know they will work it out later, I just want her to have a couple more days to heal….whether she needs it or not, I don’t know, but I would prefer she was not limping at all anymore.