chicken with hurt foot

jgreggholdOctober 16, 2006

Okay - Today as I let my chicks out in their run, I noticed one (who is usually very outgoing and friendly) hopping on one foot. She was holding the right foot up close to her with toes limp and curled downward. She only came out for their lettuce treats, then hopped back into her house and layed down at the doorway. She let me pick her up and hold her to examine her foot. She doesn't flinch when I touch it or manipulate it - it just seems to be limp - and I can't find any wounds or sores anywhere on it. Just was with them a little bit ago and she is still only using the one foot, but did come out again for their evening treat - so she seems to be eating. This is my first batch of chicks (they are 5 1/2 weeks old) so I am unsure what to do here. I am thinking that she somehow injured it in the house overnight and perhaps it will feel better in a couple of days? I will of course be keeping a close eye on her progress. Is this the way to proceed? Does anyone know what it might be? Any suggestions are welcome!

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Roberta_z5(Z4/5 IL)

We had the same thing with one of our hens when she was about 10 weeks old. I think it must have been a sprain or something. She just layed around most of the time, but was able to hop over to her water and feed. There were two hens that stayed very close to her at all times for moral support, I suppose. After the first week, she was using the leg, but limping. After the second week, we couldn't even tell anything was ever wrong.

I hope your situation is the same. If she is eating and drinking, it will probably heal. She is very young and they tend to heal quickly.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 1:30PM
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sheeplechase(7b)

It could be an injury, but the most common cause of foot/leg problems in fowl is splayleg. It is caused by improper footing in the pen or cage. Slippery footing doesn't allow proper development of the tendons as the chick grows, and the legs become crooked, usually showing up as the legs splaying apart, or the chick walking on the upper joint (tibiotarsus, or hock).

I'm not saying that is what your chick has, because it takes a physical exam and review of the housing to make a determination, but you should consider it as a possibility. If there is only one chick showing signs, it is likely something else such as an injury.

Sometimes splinting the bad leg by taping it to the good one with a "bridge" between them (like hobbles) will make it straighten up and heal properly. You can also try putting the chick in a smaller pen with only one other chick so it doesn't get trampled in the group, and use old towels or something with better traction on the floor, so it doesn't get splay leg from not using the hurt leg.

Also make sure they are getting the correct feed type, made for growing chicks, so the calcium and phosphorus ratios are correct.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 9:55PM
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jgregghold

Okay... a couple days later and my Gertrude seems to be doing better. She started putting some weight on it yesterday and is down to just a slight limp today. She still will go lay down sooner than usual, but definitely seems to be on the mend. I'm assuming she must have just run into something while trying to learn her way around and up onto the roost bars. Thanks for the input!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 9:39AM
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