Everyday life here on the urban homestead means caring for plants, animals, insects (bees) and even people. The urban homestead lifestyle is not a part time hobby or hip trend “of stiff new overall wearing, organic straw eating farmers” Instead, it’s a practical (not so glamourous) lifestyle and lifelong pursuit that involves in caring for living things from birth till death, in sickness and in health.

Shortly after we first moved from the country to the city to back in 1985, Farmer D aqured a few hives and we’ve been caring for animals ever since (chickens, rabbits, ducks and now goats). Through trials, we’ve had our fair share of learning experience – some successful and others not so successful.

One thing we have learned is having and raising animals on the urban homestead requires one to be chief caretaker and vet – on call 24/7.

This week on the urban homestead we are treating Sairey Gamp for a case of bumble foot. Sairey has a habit of running in circles around the animal enclosure. Sounds like she’s a bit off her rocker, but she’s been doing this since she was a chick and hence the colorful Dicken’s character name. But her odd and silly behavior has gotten her into trouble it seems.

How she got bumble foot?

Well, for one thing the chicken coop and an enclosure is clean so we believe she must have poked the bottom of her foot with a piece of straw or mulch on one of her spur of the moment run-a-bouts. To treat this case of bumble foot, Jordanne’s been treating her foot twice a day. Soaking the foot in epsom salt, applying tea tree oil, for good measure adding a bit of extra apple cider vinegar to the water (which we do on a monthly basis to ensure the overall health of the flock) and taking all necessary precautions with such an infection.

Though bumble foot is not something to take lightly, a good sign is that she’s showing no lameness and is acting and walking quite normal.

In the past we’ve quite successfuly treated bumble foot in one of our ducks. Though with chickens it’s a bit different, however, treating animals holistically takes time. We learned through experience, requires a lot of patience… and prayer for the best possible outcome.

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  1. Ginny says:

    Well, I hope she heals up just fine. 😀

    Why is Jordanne wearing gloves? Just curious.

    In Christ,


  2. Tracie says:

    Here’s a online organic chicken health care booklet, maybe it can be helpful…

    I’m getting a few chickens soon and your site has been inspirational, I have the same size lot as you here in Austin and am trying to make it my own mini farm here in the city. 🙂


  3. Anais says:

    Hello Ginny

    Since bumble foot is a staph infection (and can be contagious), Jordanne uses the gloves as a precaution when removing the small scar to drain the puss after soaking the foot in warm water with Epsom salts. After we dressed the open wound with tea tree oil. Tonight after another warm foot bath treatment with sea salt we applied a warm comfrey compress.

    Thanks for the healing wishes.

  4. Anais says:

    Hello Tracie

    Congrats on getting chickens. Thanks for sharing the online resource for organic poultry treatments.

    We, as the book states, have been treating the bumble foot as prescribed with Epsom salt, tea tree oil and herbal compresses.

    Also treating internally with colloidial silver, apple cider vinegar.

  5. lavonne says:

    Our local paper has a great article on urban chickens today. Wish I had a yard! Sigh.

  6. Sue says:

    Could you comment on using apple cider vinegar? Is it for the bumble foot or just for general good health? I’ve got my small flock of girls and I want to treat them right. They are more fun then I ever anticipated. I want to be good to them.

  7. Anais says:

    Hello Sue

    Thanks for your question

    Apple cider is great to have in any medicine cabinet. Not only is it good for animals even humans to treat all sorts of ailments.

    Apple Cider Recommended Dosage for Poultry

    Apple Cider Vinegar is an age old product beloved by many traditional chicken keepers to promote all round health and vitality in poultry (and many other animals). Many swear by it as a cure-all and to keep your hens free from worms, disease and as a natural organic, anti-bacterial, anti-coccidial tonic. Add a measure to drinking water (do not use in galvanised drinkers of course) all year round.As a guide we suggest 10ml of Apple Cider Vinegar per litre of fresh water – be careful not to add to much as it may stop the hens drinking which would be a problem.Can also be used to treat minor wounds and skin irritations (at a dose of no more than 1 part to 10), to clean feeding and drinking equipment and if often sprayed into and around housing as a very effective fly and insect deterrent.

  8. Devin Quince says:

    We are raising chickens here in Minneapolis and it is quite a change compared to “standard” pets, such as cats, dogs, etc. The nice thing is that these pets give back more than love 🙂

  9. plantainpatch says:

    I hope your girlie is feeling better soon!

    We use acv for our girls also. We also add a garlic clove to the water atleast quarterly and also feed them chopped garlic. They just love it. We add kelp to our girls feed also. This August two girls will be 7 and the other two 6 with no illness yet so I guess I would call it a cure all. We have treated any small wounds with our homemade salve and fresh herbs. Isn’t great using the same healing applications on our pets as ourselves?

    Plantain is an excellent drawing herb, also. It won’t encourage the wound to heal over as fast as comfrey. I am sure you already know that though.

    Juliette de Bairacli Levy’s books on treating animals (and all her others as well) really inspired me and taught me a lot. Have you read them?

  10. Laurie says:

    Thank you for sharing your treatment plan. Sometime I’d like to see a photo of the bumble foot itself – my chickens have never had this problem. Best wishes to you all!

  11. Susan says:

    When I saw the picture I laughed and thought, “That chicken is getting a pedicure!” =D.

    Hope she’ll be feeling better soon.


  12. DeDe says:

    I have just discovered that I have a hen with Bumblefoot. I was thinking about culling her (if that is the appropriate use of the word) since I didn’t know what else to do. In just the past few minutes I have gone to a few websites that have given me some hope on possibly curing the foot. I’m going to give it a try and see what happens.

    Wish me luck.


  13. Robbyn says:

    I know this is replying to an older post, but I was wondering if you could include on a new post where some of us aspiring urban (and even not-so-urban) homesteaders might find quality things such as apple cider vinegar and kelp in bulk quantities? ACV can be expensive if just the smaller quantities are bought…what is best…organic AND raw? Is there something that makes one sort of ACV better than the next? Can it be used for goats?…I’ve heard of it used for horses, chickens, cattle, and even people (we use it)…I wanted to come here and ask you guys since you’ve already had years of experience and you’re the equivalent of a “run-to” neighbor for such advice!

  14. Anais says:

    Hello Robbyn

    We buy 1 gallon quanties of raw ACV and 50 lbs of kelp from our food co operative.

    Check with local HFS (health food stores) or feed stores in your area. Perhaps they can special order bulk quantities for you.

    ACV is good for all creatures and critters.

  15. Abby says:

    having an animals as a pet is a big responsibility.We have to take good care of them like our own.Giving them the right food and shelter is one of the best care we can me, i get my dog pet a pet gate so he can move freely inside our house.:)

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