Chicken Swollen Leg Joint, (3 Reasons Why +What To Do)

Many animals don’t show signs of distress when they’ve been injured. Showing distress is a sign of weakness and showing signs of weakness can get you killed in the wild. Even the domesticated chicken will avoid showing any sort of weakness.

If you notice that your chicken has a swollen leg joint and you need answers, this article will be helpful 

Swollen leg joints in chickens can be caused by bacteria (bumblefoot), a vitamin deficiency, or an injury 

Chicken swollen leg joint:

Chickens can suffer from a variety of leg disorders, many of these leg disorders can be prevented with good nutrition, housing, and management.

Unfortunately, some cannot be avoided and some can develop as a result of an accident. Below are possible reasons why your chicken’s leg joint is swollen:

Bumblefoot (staphylococcus):

Bumblefoot isn’t an illness, it is a condition. This condition develops when a chicken’s foot pad gets cut or scraped, an infection will develop on the footpad and this will lead to bumblefoot.

Bumblefoot can also develop within birds raised on wire, gravel, concrete, or hard-packed ground. The pads of the chicken’s feet can easily become cracked and develop an infection because the ground that they walk on is so rough. 

If the leg joint is swollen and painful, then the bird is likely suffering from this infection

Other signs of birds suffering from bumblefoot include lameness and swollen footpads. Another infection that can cause swollen joints in chickens is mycoplasma synoviae. 

What to do:

You’d first need to check if your bird has any abscesses under its foot, if it does, then this is likely where the bacteria made its way into your bird’s foot. An abscess also serves as a confirmation that your bird has bumblefoot.

This is quite a serious infection and it can be fatal to your bird. It would be best to take your bird to the vet for treatment. 


Chickens love to jump off of perches. Unfortunately, this can be damaging to their joints and cause them to swell. This is especially true for larger meat-type birds as they are quite heavy.

If your bird is jumping off of its perch on occasion, this likely won’t cause problems but frequent jumping can cause leg joint damage. 

What to do:  

Check for bleeding, bruises, heat, swelling, and pain on the bird at the joint, handle the bird very delicately when you do this. If you find any bleeding or signs of broken bones you’d need to send your bird to a vet for treatment. 

To limit movement on the way to your vet, place the bird in a dark box. Apply pressure on the bird’s injury using a clean towel if the bird is bleeding severely. 

Also, make sure that you use perches for game birds and other perching fowl. If there are no perches in their coop, then these birds will try to fly to the ceiling to look for somewhere to roost. Jump landing when they come down can be dangerous and damaging 

Vitamin deficiencies: 

Vitamin deficiencies, like a lack of vitamin E, D, or riboflavin, can cause your chicken’s leg joint to become swollen. If your whole flock is suffering from swollen leg joints then this is likely the issue.

What to do:

If your birds are suffering from a lack of vitamin E, D, or riboflavin then you’d need to add more of these nutrients to the bird’s diet. 

Do this by feeding your birds vitamins made for chickens for several days. Chicken vitamins can be found at farm stores and come as powdered packs of vitamins and electrolytes.

What not to do:

Don’t bandage: Bandaging may be your first thought when it comes to helping your chicken but bandaging your chicken’s swollen joint can be restrictive on the bird and can actually create a problem.

Don’t offer aspirin: Aspirin may be recommended for humans but this medication can irritate the bird’s GI tract.

The aspirin will work to relieve the chicken’s pain but relieving the bird’s pain can cause it to damage the joint even more. If given aspirin, the bird won’t associate the swollen joint with pain anymore. This can make matters worse 


In conclusion, reasons why your chicken has a swollen leg joint may be that they are lacking in nutrients, had a cut or scratch which led to an infection like bumblefoot, or, the swollen joint may be an injury that the chicken developed from jumping off of perches.

If you enjoyed this article then you may also be interested in other chicken related articles. Here are some articles that you may be interested in: Chicken Feathers Ripped Out, Chicken Comb Turning Black In Summer, Chicken Comb Pale and Drooping, How To Tell If A Chick Has Died In The Egg

Chicken Swollen Leg Joint, (3 Reasons Why +What To Do)
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